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How to Become a Barber: Step-By-Step Guide

Ever wondered what it’s like to train and prepare to become a professional barber? We understand you, as many people are in this category.

Turn your thoughts and dreams into reality with this simple guide we’ve put together on becoming a barber. After reading, you should have enough information to kickstart your career.

An Overview of a Barber: A Primer

Barbers cater mostly to men when it comes to their clientele.

As a barber, your primary assignment includes trimming, cutting, styling, washing, and coloring hair. You may also need to provide facial hair massages and grooming based on your customer’s orders. This can extend to neck, face, and scalp treatments and massages.

Your duty goes beyond haircuts. With one look, you should be able to recommend specific styles, hair care tips, and other advice to clients. This means you must be updated on new and trending hairstyles. Plus, you might need to travel to offer hairstyling services to clients.

You must ensure that scissors, combs, razors, hair care products, and every other barbing equipment are cleaned and well-sanitized after every session. If you own a barbershop or become a top barber in the beauty industry, you can also train upcoming barbers and supervise apprentices.

How Much Do Barbers Make?

According to ZipRecruiter, barbers in the United States earn around $49,444 annually. This could be more or less, based on location. For instance, ZipRecruiter places the average hourly rate of a barber in New York at $27.73 and $19 in Texas.

What You’ll Need to Become a Barber & Associated Costs

  • High school diploma/GED: A barber’s training program or license qualifications might require you to present a high school diploma or GED. Online high school diploma courses cost $1,500-$5,000, while a GED test is $20-$36.
  • Training program: Barbers must sign up for a training program to become professionals. Consider enrolling in barber programs, cosmetology degrees, or online courses, which can cost you between $5,000 to $10,000.
  • State barber’s license: Every professional barber needs a permit; the cost of acquiring this depends on your location, but it should range between $100 to $400.
  • Barbing equipment: As a barber, you need high-quality barbing tools too. There’s no fixed price for these tools, but be ready to spend more money if you want high-quality tools.
  • Adequate knowledge of new and trendy hairstyles: Since you may have to offer suggestions, you should have sound knowledge of the latest styles and styling techniques.
  • Topnotch customer service skills: This will improve customer satisfaction and make them more willing to visit you another time. Some of the skills you should observe in this regard are communication and time management skills.
  • Dexterity: You should have proper control of your hands, as well as coordination and stability, to be able to trim and cut your client’s hair accurately.
  • Stamina: Barbers need stamina, as they’ll be on their feet almost throughout their working hours.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Barber?

Becoming a barber is quite expensive. According to ProfitableVenture, with $50,000, you can set up a small barber shop in the US.

Note that this amount covers business registration, license, permits, rent, insurance, purchase of equipment, etc.

Is it Hard to Become a Barber?

Becoming a barber is a straightforward process, although the requirements can take a toll on some people. You must get your diploma, go through years of training and apprenticeship, obtain your license, and find a job.

It’s even more challenging for barbers who want to own a shop because they have to consider things like cost, location, and competition, among others.

You should also be ready to market yourself. Leverage any platform, especially social media, to showcase your talents.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Barber?

Most high school diplomas can be completed in six months. On top of that, you’ll have to attend a barber school, which usually lasts about ten months.

Overall, you can become a barber in two years or less.

How to Become a Barber in 6 Simple Steps

You can become a successful barber in the following easy steps.

Step One: Get a Diploma or Equivalent

First, secure that high school diploma or any equivalent certification. If you can’t present this, you might be barred from signing up for barber or cosmetology training programs.

If you don’t have one yet, you can register online through accredited programs.

Step Two: Register for a Training Program

The next step is to get training, and three program options are available: a barber program, a cosmetology degree, and online courses.

A barber program will teach you how to cut, style, and treat hair, and it usually lasts for a year. You’ll get hands-on experience and the necessary information to pass your licensing exam.

In the case of a cosmetology degree, beyond learning how to cut and treat hair, you’ll also take courses on hair cutting and styling techniques, skin conditions and treatments, as well as laws and practices of the industry.

Online courses are more flexible and ideal for barbers wanting to renew their licenses. Here, you can learn more about business ethics, hair styling techniques, etc.

Note that this method won’t give you the hands-on experience you’d get at a barber school.

Step Three: Become an Apprentice

Apprenticeship is a great way to practice everything you’ve learned as an aspiring barber. Plus, it’s usually part of qualifying for licensure, as you need to complete the number of work hours before you can take the exam.

The amount of hours usually depends on the state, but it’s typically 1,500 hours. The time spent in the barber school as well as in apprenticeship will make up for those hours.

Step Four: Take the License Exam

Before you can practice as a professional barber, you must pass a barber license exam.

This test comprises a written test and a practical component. The written exam will contain questions on skin treatment, sanitation, client psychology, and business ethics.

For the practical aspect, you’ll have to demonstrate your hair styling skills like washing, cutting/trimming, shaving facial hair, etc.

Step Five: Apply for Jobs or Open a Shop

After getting your license, you can now work as a barber in any capacity. You can open a shop, rent a chair in an established salon, or apply for barber jobs in hotels, resorts, and spas. You can also be a freelance hairstylist.

Step Six: Renew Your License

Your state license isn’t a one-time thing. Renewal cycles, which run for years, depend on your state.

The process is simple, and you can renew online with a small fee. You might have to take a test again if you’ve left your license inactive for quite a while.

Reasons to Consider Becoming a Barber

There are many rewarding reasons to consider becoming a barber.

  • There are different career opportunities: You can own your barber shop, work in a company, or be a mobile barber.
  • You can earn a decent salary: Once recognized as a professional barber, it becomes easy to make some excellent income out of the profession.
  • It helps you create new connections: Every day, you come in contact with new people who want a haircut. Interacting with these people is an excellent way to develop relationships and build your client base.
  • You’ll always have a job: There’s always someone who needs a haircut around you. So, you’ll have the opportunity to offer your barbing services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Work as a Barber Without a License?

No. Most states will charge you around $500 to $1000 if they catch you working without a barber’s license.

Can I Get My License Online?

You can get your license online, although the process may differ based on location. Check out the rules and regulations of getting a license online in your state.

Similar Gigs to Check Out

If you’re interested in other gigs, consider reading these other articles:

Wrapping Up

Becoming a barber isn’t rocket science; you only need to meet the requirements and are good to go.

While it may be challenging to find your footing as a new barber, if you keep at it with all due diligence, success is inevitable.

What do you think about this article? Kindly inform us in the comments.

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