Barber Programs & Barbering Career Information

Thinking about 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, what you will learn in the program, and more. Beauty Schools Directory has answered many of the most common questions about the education, cost and timelines of barber education, so you can decide whether enrolling in a barber college is the right decision for you. 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?

Barber tools

It is a common myth that barbering and cosmetology are the same thing. Yes, they are quite similar in program length and curriculum, but they are two separate licenses and there are some distinct differences between these two professions. First, barber schools primarily teach the study of men's hair and short hair, and its many forms, structures and styles. On the other hand, cosmetology training tends to run the gamut of hair types, styles and skills.

Secondly, barber clientele tend to lean overwhelmingly male, whereas cosmetology clients tend to be predominantly female - though both men and women see both cosmetologists and barbers depending on their personal preferences. (Another myth is that only men work in barbering. In fact, nearly half of licensed barbers are women according to USA Today. Cosmetology licensees do tend to skew mostly women, though there are plenty of men in that profession, too.)

Lastly, the next major difference between barbering and cosmetology is the services each type of licensee can legally perform. In most states, barbers are trained to do facial shaving, including traditional straight razor shaves and safety razor shaves, whereas cosmetologists are usually not allowed to perform these services. Cosmetology curricula include nails and makeup, wheres barber curricula do not. 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.

What will I learn in barber school?

Barber Styling Child's HairAt 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 that are designed specifically to teach the time-honored profession on its own. Students at these schools learn such barbering services as steam facials, facial massages, and foam shaves, as well as modern razor styling, hair cutting, coloring, permanent waving, and blow drying. Through these training programs, students train for their state barber license, which is given by a state barber board.

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 state - you will also learn about the various hair and scalp conditions you may encounter with your clients. 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.

Because this profession is so entrepreneurial and many graduates go on to open their own barbershops, these programs often also offer comprehensive classes like barbershop ownership and business management, in addition to the base barbering curriculum. Students usually practice on mannequins earlier in your barbering courses while being trained by licensed barber instructors, and then 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 not only to getting the required hours to sit for your board exams, but also to hone your skills before you hit the pavement after you graduate.

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. So how much barbering school costs vary based on a number of different factors - whether the school is a large chain or a local shop, the area the school is in, and how many hours your state requires to become licensed, and what's included in the cost just to name a few.

You'll find that the cost of tuition depends on the types of courses, the barber requirements for hours in your state, and the physical location of the school. The best thing to do is to request information from the barbering schools you are considering to discover how much that individual school costs.

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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, be sure to ask the admissions representatives what's included in that cost of tuition. 

  

What are the requirements to enroll in barber school?

Barber Apprentice Learning ShavingBarber school requirements typically involve prospective students having a high school diploma or a GED prior to enrollment, but check with the state in which you plan to enroll and also check with the school itself to be sure. Take a look at our state license requirements page to find out your state's requirements to become a barber. Though we try to keep our license requirements up to date, we always recommend you contact the licensing department for the state you're interested in to verify if there have been any changes in programs or required hours.

Many have asked whether you are eligible to receive a barber license with a felony conviction. Once again, this depend's 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?

Many students who graduate from barber colleges go on to work for, or eventually open their own barber shops. Many also start careers as professional hairstylists in a salon setting, specializing in men's cuts and shorter hairstyles, and often offering professional shave services. This is a great added value service to salons, spas and barbershops alike. Some barbers elect to work in live-in facilities for the elderly, and others pursue a more public career in the spotlight helping cut men's hair for TV and broadcast. Still others choose to work near military posts where there is a high volume of clientele in need of frequent haircuts. 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.

As of the most recent BLS survey, the states with the highest concentration of jobs for this occupation are New Jersey, Kentucky, Indiana, Texas and Washington.  The states with the highest employment levels for this occupation are Texas, New York, California, New Jersey and Indiana.

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

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent data from May 2012, barber salaries typically varies from $17,110 per year on the low end to $43,420 per year for the 90th percentile of barbers. The average, or mean, salary falls in between. The mean hourly wage is $13.23 per hour, and the mean annual wage is $25,090, before tips. 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 skewed lower. Here is a snapshot of the data from BLS.gov as of May 2012:

BLS Barber Wage Data

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. One is the setting in which you work. Some barbers work in salons or barber shops, while others decide to go into business for themselves and open their own barber shops. The 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. Some barbers choose to work in a booth rental environment, which is a good transitional midway point between working for someone else's shop and working for yourself. Some barbers work on staff in community care facilities for the elderly, and some work in the news and broadcast business. Another factor that can affect what you get paid as a barber is where you live and work.

At the last BLS survey, the top paying states for barber occupations are the District of Columbia, Minnesota, Colorado, Alaska and Illinois.  Barber salary 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 know which barber school or barbering program is right for 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. Most people compare at least three schools before making a final decision. Everyone has different criteria that are important to them. The right barber college for some might not be the right one for others. To some people, cost is the most important factor, but to others it's the skills taught in the school, and still others think that the quality of the in-school barbershop to get hands-on experience is most important.

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, and it should prepare you with all the theory, practical and hands-on training hours you need to sit for your state's board exam. Compare several schools, take your time, and choose the school that feels like the best fit for you, because 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.

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