As of 2019, barbers earned an average annual salary of $35,190 ($16.92 per hour). The pay ranges from $20,300 to $56,630 per year. Nationwide, the field is expected to grow by 8% between 2019 and 2029.
While the majority of barbers work in personal care services like barber shops, making a mean salary of $35,090 ($16.86 per hour), there are two other major types of barber employment:
Some barbers are employed by the government or skilled nursing facilities, but typical salaries are unavailable for those types of work.
In technical and trade schools, barbers are likely employed as instructors. Only a small percentage of barbers work in mental health services. Still, it may be a great option if you're patient, comfortable handling unexpected situations, and want to make a difference in the lives of those who are struggling.
This article will tell you about the average pay and anticipated job growth (when available) for barbers throughout the United States, the highest paying metropolitan areas, how barbers are paid, and how to increase your pay.
Barber Average Pay by State: At a Glance
Barbers are paid differently based on location due to factors like cost of living and states' minimum wages.
How Much Do Barbers Make in Each State?
|State||2019 Hourly Pay||2019 Salary||2016 - 26 Growth|
|District of Columbia||$14.68||$30,530||Unavailable|
Barber Salary Near You
If you want to learn more about how barbers are trained and paid in your state, check out the table below for more information.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Best Cities for Barber Salaries
Below is a list of the highest-paying metropolitan areas for barbers. When viewing the list, it's important to remember your area's cost of living plays a role in pay.
Best States for Barber Salaries
|Metropolitan Area||2019 Hourly Pay||2019 Salary|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||$25.45||$52,940|
|Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN||$20.99||$43,660|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||$20.47||$42,580|
|Austin-Round Rock, TX||$19.85||$41,280|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||$18.18||$37,820|
Anticipated growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021)
How Are Barbers Paid?
Barbers are paid differently based on how they're employed. Some work for employers, while others are self-employed.
If you work at a barbershop or salon, you'll likely be paid by the hour, though some barbers are salaried. Tips are common in this type of work, particularly if you receive hourly pay.
When it comes to working in other facilities, like trade schools or mental health facilities, salaries may be more common—though hourly isn't unheard of.
In those types of environments, the employers generally bring clients to you and set your hours. This may be the path for you if you like stability in paychecks and, typically, a level of predictability in work hours.
Self-employed barbers may run their own shops, rent a space in someone else's shop, or perform house calls. When you're self-employed, you have more control over your hours and the types of clients you see, though your paychecks can be more unpredictable. You need to learn to market yourself to bring in more business and ensure you do your self-employment taxes correctly.
How to Improve Your Barber Salary
First and foremost, one of the best ways to raise your barber salary is through continuing education classes. Some states, like Ohio, require continuing education for you to maintain your barber license. While others may not, chances are you can find a workshop covering a skill you want to master. The more skills you have, the more you can offer clients—meaning you may open yourself to new patrons.
In addition to continuing education, consider earning a second license. People who serve as both barbers and cosmetologists are common. Being able to do both could raise your pay and number of clients.
Generally, if you already work as a barber and want to add a cosmetology license (or vice versa), you can participate in a crossover program. This type of training allows you to earn your new license in less time—and often at a lower cost—than a full program.
You could also pursue an additional license other than cosmetology, such as an esthetician license. However, crossover programs are less common between barbering and non-cosmetology beauty fields. This means you may need to undergo most or all of the coursework and training hours required for the new license.
If you're considering working as a barber in mental health services but aren't sure if you have the temperament, consider volunteering your services for organizations providing beauty services for homeless individuals. This type of volunteerism may boost your resume even if you don't opt to work in psychiatric or substance abuse facilities and help you prove your dedication if you choose to go that route.
In addition to keeping your resume updated with your continuing education and volunteerism experience, maintain a portfolio of your work. A thorough portfolio may help you land a new job if you're searching for higher-paying employment.
As with most industries, the longer you work, the higher your pay may be. Time working in the field often factors into opportunities for raises and is usually one thing potential employers look at.
You could also find unique ways to earn additional money during your off-hours, from doing tasks unrelated to your job like dog walking to creating paid online tutorials for people who want to learn how to best maintain their hair between appointments.