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Barber: Educational Requirements for Barbers

Sep 13, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a barber. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

If you like working with people, are good with hair and have a sense of style, then a career as a barber may be for you. Barbers cut, style and sometimes color hair. You'll need to complete a formal training program and get a license to become a barber.

Essential Information

Generally employed in hairstyling salons and barbershops, barbers are professionals who cut their clients' hair. They may also follow hair styling trends and give hair styling tips. Becoming a barber usually involves either completing a state-approved barbering program or completing an apprenticeship, both of which include hands-on training in a barber shop or a school's barbering facility. Prospective barbers also need to obtain state licensure.

Required Education Completion of a state-approved barbering program or an apprenticeship
Other Requirements State licensure
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 7%*
Annual Median Salary (2018) $27,960*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Barbers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most states require barbers and other appearance industry professionals to graduate from a state-approved school (www.bls.gov). Barbering school programs can typically be completed in under a year. Students in these programs are trained on the techniques of cutting hair, shaving and facial grooming. A significant portion of the curricula also consist of hands-on learning in shops and practice on live subjects.

Some schools may teach coloring and styling techniques. Courses may also delve into topics in sanitation, scalp treatment, skin infections and shop management. Teachers may provide instruction on facial treatments, chemical compounds and skin disorders.

Apprenticeship programs are also available for aspiring barbers to learn the trade. These programs typically last two years and require an employer or an experienced barber to sign off on an agreement. Apprentices also receive paid classroom and on-the-job training, which may cover skin care, consultations and hairstyling.

Licensing Requirements

All states require that barbers be licensed. In addition to graduating from a state-approved school or apprenticeship program, many states have minimum requirements for age and education-level. To complete the licensing process, individuals are generally required to pass a licensing exam that covers practical and theoretical barbering topics. Many states charge fees for both the application and the licensing exam.

Some states allow reciprocity, which enables an individual to transfer a license from another state. Experienced barbers may be able to apply for licensure as a master barber, which requires passing an additional exam. To new renew a license, individuals typically have to fill out an application form and pay a fee.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS indicates that employment for barbers was expected to increase faster than the average through 2028. Population increases will create a need for more of these professionals. The BLS reported that industries with high employment rates for this profession includes personal care services and state government. Those who are working in technical and trade schools earned the highest salary of $39,070 annually, as of May 2018.

Most states require barbers to be licensed, although the requirements vary by state. Usual requirements include completion of an accredited program or apprenticeship and passing an examination.

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