Programs can run approximately 1,250-2,000 hours; program length is generally tied to the number of training hours required to qualify for a state's licensing exam. Some programs have a special track for students who are already licensed cosmetologists, which often requires fewer hours to complete.
Barber colleges provide students with classroom learning that includes lectures and demonstrations in hair care, hair treatments, principles of cutting and styling, hair removal, and permanent waving. A significant part of the curriculum requires hands-on training, first on mannequins and, as students' skills improve, on volunteers or paying customers through an on-site barber shop.
For barber college admission, a high school diploma or equivalent is required, and some programs require blood tests results to prove that the applicant does not have a communicable disease.
The curriculum covers business and practical skills with an emphasis on actual barbering practice. In additional to hair characteristics, care, grooming, and styling, students may learn facial massage, scalp treatments, standard infection control measures, identification of common skin or scalp diseases or disorders, interpersonal skills, ethics, and business management. Topics covered in a program may include:
- Hair cutting and styling tools
- Haircutting techniques
- Shaving, honing and stropping techniques
- Permanent waving and chemical relaxing
- Shampoo techniques
- Hair coloring and tinting
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual wage of barbers in 2015 was $29,140 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reports that the projected growth for barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists is 10% from 2014-2024.
Continuing Education Information
Licensed barbers who would like to become instructors can enroll in a program for barber teachers. Programs may take less than one year to complete and provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively teach others and manage a classroom. Practical skills gained include how to deliver lessons and demonstrate techniques, how to offer feedback on hands-on work and how to supervise in a student practicum setting. Upon completion of a barber teacher program, students may be qualified to sit for a state licensing exam for barber teachers, if required for employment.
Some schools may offer, in addition to certificate and diploma training for barbers, an associate's degree program. It may be possible for students to apply their core barbering coursework to this 2-year program, complete advanced theory and lab classes, meet general education requirements and graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree.
Barber college training is available through certificate and diploma programs that provide aspiring barbers with knowledge of hair cutting and styling, hair coloring and shaving techniques. Upon graduation and licensure, professional barbers can also enroll in programs to become barber teachers or apply their certificate or diploma coursework to an associate's degree.