Become a Certified Barber: Certification and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a licensed barber. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements to find out how to start a career in barbering. View article »

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  • 0:02 Barber Career Info
  • 0:54 Complete Barber Training
  • 1:48 Acquire State Licensure
  • 2:41 Continue Education

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Video Transcript

Barber Career Info

Barbers style, cut, and fashion hair of all kinds of different people. They act as consultants regarding hairstyle, products, and care. A barber performs other duties as well, such as bleaching, dyeing, shaving, and shampooing hair. Many barbers are self-employed, which allows them to keep a flexible work schedule. The job requires barbers to spend entire shifts on their feet and work with harmful chemicals. A barber's busiest time is on the weekends and in the evening.

Barbers must have strong customer service skills, time management sills, listening skills, and creativity. In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that barbers earned a median annual pay of $24,850 per year.

Education Level State-approved barber training program
Training Apprenticeships available
Licensure Required in all states
Key Skills Creativity, listening, customer service, and time management
Salary (2015) $24,850 per year (Median salary)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Complete Barber Training

A barber typically must graduate from a state-licensed barber school. Many programs are administered through for-profit institutions, although nonprofit and public schools also offer barbering training. The length of these programs varies, but they usually take at least nine months to complete. These programs are offered as certificate, diploma, or associate's degree programs. In them, aspiring barbers learn how to style, cut, and shave hair. They're taught to properly sanitize and maintain all tools, such as scissors, combs, and razors. Additionally, they may receive training in nail and skin treatments.

Success Tip:

  • Participate in an apprenticeship. Some schools offer barber apprenticeships, which combine paid on-the-job experiences with classroom instruction. Apprenticeships are offered through technical colleges and last two years. They give students the necessary experience needed to apply for licensure.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Aesthetician and Skin Care
  • Barber and Hair Cutting Services
  • Beauty Salon Management
  • Cosmetology, Hair, and Nail Instructor
  • Electrolysis
  • Facial Treatment Specialist
  • Hair Design
  • Make-Up Artist
  • Nail Technician - Manicurist
  • Permanent Cosmetics and Tattooing

Acquire State Licensure

Every state requires that barbers be licensed, and eligibility qualifications vary in each state. Prerequisites include graduating from an approved barber school, meeting a set age requirement, and submitting proof of a high school diploma or GED. Some states may accept an apprenticeship working under a licensed barber in lieu of school training. Others require an apprenticeship in addition to completing a formal course of study. Barbers meeting state requirements must pass an examination for licensure.

The examination consists of multiple parts, including written, oral, and skill portions. In order to get a license, a fee must be paid. Barbers need to renew their licenses, and renewal times are different in each state. It's often possible to receive credit for cosmetology training that can be used for earning a license as a barber.

Continuing Education

Continuing education courses in barbering fulfill renewal requirements, and they help barbers stay current about new trends and policies. By understanding modern trends, a barber can meet the hairstyle demands of customers or make recommendations based on a customer's hair.

To quickly recap, aspiring barbers must complete the educational and training requirements necessary to receive licensure in their state. This usually requires finishing an approved barber program, gaining experience, and passing an exam.

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