Barber Programs & Barbering Career Information

Thinking about going to barber school?

If you are considering enrolling in barber school, you are probably curious about how much the program costs, how long it will take to complete, and what you will learn in barber school. Perfect—because we have answers.

Why should you trust Beauty Schools Directory more than other options for information about barber careers and education?

  • You can find tons of common FAQ’s about cost, duration, and curriculum for these programs right here.
  • Our resources can help you determine the right kind of program – and connect you with barber schools in your area.
  • You can contact us with any questions you have, and we’ll do our best to help you.
  • We even offer a scholarship that barbering students can use towards their education expenses!

If you think training to become a men's stylist and barber sounds like the right fit for you, just enter your zip code in the box to the right. Choose "Barbering" as your program to find schools near you that offer this program.

Jump to Your Question:

What is the difference between a barber school, and a barbering program at a cosmetology school?

Did you know that it is a common myth that barbering and cosmetology are the same thing? Yes, in many ways, they are quite similar. In fact program length, cost and curriculum may even overlap, but they are two separate licenses and there are some distinct differences between these two professions.

What makes barbering different?

  • Primarily teach the study of men's hair and short hair styles and techniques
  • Men’s shaving and grooming included – but not in most cosmetology programs
  • Advanced skills, such as coloring, permanent waves, and other techniques may be learned, but it’s not essential
  • Barbering clientele are overwhelmingly male, while cosmetology clientele skew female
  • It is a myth that only men are barbers--in fact, nearly half of licensed barbers are women who have mastered the tonsorial arts

Lastly, the next major difference between barbering and cosmetology is the services each type of licensee can legally perform.

Cosmetology curricula includes men’s cuts, but not shaving and grooming. Students in cosmetology programs also learn:

  • Women’s hair cutting and styling
  • Nails
  • Makeup

In fact, in some states it's up for debate whether a salon can have a barber pole outside their business if there is not a licensed barber on staff. If you know that you want to work with men, you will likely want to seek out barbering schools to start.

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What will I learn in barber school?

At barbering schools, instructors teach students the essentials required in providing complete hair and skin services for men. Although barbering courses are often taught at cosmetology and beauty schools, there are also independent barber colleges. These are designed specifically to teach the time-honored profession of barbering on its own.

Students at these schools learn such barbering services as:

  • Steam facials
  • Facial massages
  • Foam shaves
  • Modern razor styling
  • Hair cutting
  • Coloring
  • Permanent waving
  • Blow drying

Through these training programs, students train for their state barber license, which is given by a state barber board.

Additional Barbering Skills You Can Learn in School

Figuring out how to properly manage each hair type is one of the most rewarding parts of barbershop school and barbering in general. As part of the barbering curriculum - which may vary slightly from state to state - you will also learn about:

  • Hair and scalp conditions
  • Safety & sanitation
  • Blood Borne Pathogens
  • State-specific barbering regulations

Remember-- for barbering, the hair must be healthy for it to reach its full potential. Clients count on you to keep an eye out for potential problems and to help them maintain healthy, good-looking hair.

Paving Your Own Way As A Master Barber

Barbering is a profession that is quite entrepreneurial, proven by the large numbers of graduates who go on to open their own barbershops. These programs often also offer comprehensive classes, such as:

  • Barbershop ownership
  • Business management
  • Employee and customer relations
  • Marketing & sales

Hands-On Barber Training is the Key to Success

You will practice on mannequins early in your barbering courses while being trained by licensed barber instructors. From there, you move on to real clients from the community to develop your technique as the courses progress.  

This hands-on training, using the tools in your barber student kit, is essential for developing professional skills. That’s why most states also have minimum training hour requirements students must meet to sit for their exam.

How much does barber school cost to attend?

Many barbering courses are offered on either a full-time or part-time basis, and some states allow apprenticeship hours that count toward your education. So, the cost of barbering school can vary based on a number of different factors such as:

  • Is the school is a large chain or a local shop?
  • What area is the school in?
  • How many hours does your state require to become licensed?
  • What's included in the cost?

The best thing to do is to request information from the barbering schools you are considering.

This will help you discover how much each individual school costs.

Our survey of beauty schools has found that the cost of barber college typically averages between $10,000 on the low end and $20,000 on the high end. One thing to consider, though, is that some schools include the cost of the student kit, mannequins, frocks, supplies and textbooks. Other schools do not. So when comparing the cost of different schools to become a barber, be sure to ask the admissions representatives what's included in that cost of tuition. 

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What are the requirements to enroll in barber school?

Barber school enrollment requirements are typically the same in every state, with some variation between states. The bare minimum requirements to enroll in barbering school usually include:

  • High school diploma or a GED prior to enrollment
  • At least 16 years old
  • Pass background check & application process

Many have asked whether you are eligible to receive a barber license with a felony conviction. Once again, this depends on your state's requirements and laws, and it also depends on the crime you have been convicted for. Most states will allow you to get licensed if you have a felony or misdemeanor conviction on your record, depending on the conviction, but it's absolutely essential that you do not lie about it on your application.

What are job options for barbers after graduation?

When most people think of barbers, they probably imagine the classic character who works in the local shop and knows all their neighbors. While this portrait of barbers rings true, there are many types of careers barbers can pursue.

Want some ideas for how you can ‘mix it up’ in the barbering profession?

Senior citizen care facilities. Some barbers focus on specific members of the population in their profession. This can include working at residential care facilities. If you are a freelance worker, you might even approach these settings to ask if you can come by and give haircuts at a discount. These are the kinds out-of-the-box careers that barbers you can consider.

Film & television. Cosmetologists are a necessity when it comes to film and television work. After all, who else is going to make those actors shine? Barbers can also find work with male actors and models.

Military posts. The most simplistic place to offer men’s cuts might be on military posts. Get out your shears and get buzzin!  But seriously, the military can always use some good barbers to keep our troops looking fresh and ready.

Own your own shop. Hey, why not open the doors to your dream barber shop? Some barbering programs will help you learn basic management and business skills. With simple accounting, computer, and interpersonal skill development, you can make this dream a reality. And who knows… the next Luke Cage may need a spot to call home.

As you can see, there are a variety of unique options for your barber career after you graduate. If you want to know more about careers in barbering, check out this barber job description.

States with the highest employment of barbers

As of the most recent BLS survey (2017), the states with the highest concentration of jobs for barbers, along with their average salaries, are:

  1. Texas - $30,200
  2. New York - $27,160
  3. Pennsylvania - $28,720
  4. California - $26,550
  5. Colorado - $34,000

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What salary can I expect to earn after attending barber college?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017) most recent data, the mean annual salary for barbers is $29,140 or $14.01 per hour. One thing to keep in mind is that this typically does not include tips from clients, and that many barbers fail to report their full wages so this data is often lower than actual earnings. 

For complete information about barber careers and salary, click here.

The wages you have the potential to earn as a barber can depend on a number of factors, including whether you work in a:

  • Salon
  • Barber shop
  • Or open your own business

Owning your own barber shop vs. booth rental

Overhead and time costs of owning your own barbershop may be greater, but you also get to keep more of the profit for each client than you would if you worked for a salon or barbershop owned by someone else.


Booth rental environment

This is a good transitional midway point between working for someone else's shop and working for yourself.


Specialty barber careers.

These can include community care facilities for the elderly, as well as jobs in the news and broadcast business.

As of the last BLS survey, the top paying states for barber occupations are (2017):

  • Illinois - $55,960
  • Oklahoma - $48,020
  • Nebraska - $47,900
  • District of Columbia - $47,900
  • Minnesota - $41,610

Barber salaries can also vary from city to city. Some metropolitan areas tend to pay higher than others, and barbers who work in rural settings might have a smaller take-home pay. One factor that is often not included in barber salary data is the amount of money you may make from tips. 

How Do I Find The Best Barbering School Near Me?

The best way to choose a barber school is always to research the barbering colleges you're considering and ask a lot of questions when you talk to the admissions representatives.

Here are some quick tips for contacting barbering programs and comparing your options:

  • Compare at least three schools before making a final decision.
  • Cost is the most important factor, and so is financial planning. Make sure your school can help you map a strategy for paying for school.
  • Does the program meet your state license requirements?
  • Are the classes taught by experienced barbers?
  • Do they have career services to help you transition to the workplace?

Regardless of which school you choose, a good barbering school should teach you how to cultivate your strengths in cutting and styling men's hair and short hair, as well as the art of a good shave. The best barber programs will also prepare you with all the theory, practical and hands-on training hours you need to sit for your state's board exam.

Getting a solid education is a necessary first step to getting gainful employment in any barbershop.

For a checklist of questions to ask your admissions representatives and a list of things you should consider when choosing a school, check out this article about how to choose a barber school.

If you’re ready to make your move, contact barber schools today.

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