Just a Little Off the Top: How to Become a Barber

Just a Little Off the Top: How to Become a Barber

Barbering has been one of the most respected professions from generation to generation. Barber shops have long been places to not only get a great haircut, but also great conversation and friendship. From the youngest child getting his first haircut to seniors who are old pros at sitting in the chair, finding a barber you can trust is indeed special. For those who like helping others and enjoy dealing with a wide variety of people each day, barbering can be a great career choice.

Vocational Education

If you know early on you want to become a barber, you may be able to get some experience while still in high school. Many public schools have vocational programs in cosmetology or barbering, allowing students to gain practical experience before graduating high school. Not only can this training be had for free, but it also lets you test the waters and make sure cutting hair is indeed everything you hoped it would be and more.

Barber School

To become a barber and qualify for proper certification, you must attend an accredited barber school. Most barber schools require students to have a high school diploma or GED, and once accepted classes in various barbering techniques as well as how to own and operate one’s own shop are taught. All barber schools are accredited by individual states, so make sure you choose one that has the proper accreditation and has a good reputation. Many schools also offer job placement assistance for graduates, which can be helpful in gaining much-needed experience. Barber school programs generally last no more than one year, with tuition costs ranging from $2,000 to as much as $10,000.

Apprenticeships and Licensing

In some cases, you may be able to bypass barber school and not worry about degrees or diplomas by serving as a barber’s apprentice. For example, in Maryland a person age 16 or older can serve an apprenticeship with a licensed barber. For those who attend and complete barber school, applying for a license is the next step. Though requirements vary by state, most licenses are given through the Department of Consumer Affairs. Whether training is found through attending school or serving an apprenticeship, being licensed is required in order to work in a barber shop or establish your own shop. If you have questions about licensing requirements, teachers or established barbers can usually provide the answers you need.