Barbers are setting the bar high! Nearly 13,000 Americans work as barbers. Yet hundreds of thousands of Americans try to become barbers every year.
Many people fail to start their barber careers because they don’t meet barber training requirements. If you want to trim hair for a living, you need to know these requirements and get started on your training today.
How much training must you have before you can apply to be a barber? How can you gain real-world experience as a barber? What are the continuing education and training requirements like?
Answer these questions and you can have your barber’s license before you know it. Here is your quick training guide.
Most states require barbers to have a high school diploma before they can start barber training. If you don’t have one, you can get a GED through online programs.
Each state has its own requirements for how much barber training you need. In general, you need to take classes at a barber school on a number of subjects. Some states have lists of schools that they approve of, and you should go to one of them on the list.
Barber schools may allow you to specialize. You can go into cosmetology and learn about how to color people’s hair as well as cut it. You can study how to do men’s facials or treat scalp damage.
A program may last for up to a year. If you’re taking night classes or pursuing a cosmetology degree, you may need to take more to qualify for a license.
Apprenticeships are not always required. But they can give you important experience and help you determine what barber career you may want.
Ask around to see if any barbers are offering apprenticeships. A few barbershops post ads or listings on LinkedIn and other websites.
Some barbershops require their apprentices to have experience before the apprenticeship, which you can get through a part-time job. Others require you to provide a portfolio or perform in an interview.
You will work with a professional barber and learn from them. You will watch them as they work with clients, and you can practice your skills on mannequins after work.
Most apprenticeships are unpaid and part-time. You will have time to take formal classes or perform a job, but you should expect to not make as much money as a full-time job in another industry.
You may not be able to find a job as a full-time barber right away. However, you can still get paid while working in a barbershop through a few different entry-level jobs.
Many barbershops are looking for receptionists. You will greet customers, schedule appointments, and manage the shop’s inventory. This requires you to know about the products the shop uses.
You may also help with cleaning up the store. Some barbers may ask you to set up their equipment or organize tools like combs for them. This lets you learn about sanitation and safety protocols for managing equipment.
You can also work for a barber supply company. Some companies are looking for salespeople, marketing associates, and other part-time and full-time professionals. Send out your resume and look at various job boards to find barber jobs.
You must take an exam in order to receive your license. Performing work at a barbershop and taking classes can help you pass.
But if you’re worried about the test, you can buy study books or take classes specifically for the test. Some barber schools offer these classes. You can also take classes online or use online practice tests to prepare.
Most tests are multiple-choice exams. You need to be able to describe how to perform important procedures, especially ones related to safety. Use flashcards so you remember each step of these procedures, and try describing them in your own words.
If you fail the exam, you can retake it. You may want to give yourself a month so you can study again and get help from tutors.
You’re not done with your training once you become a barber. You need to get continuing education in order to keep your license.
Each state has its own continuing education requirements, but most states do not have time-consuming ones. You may need to take ten hours of courses every year or every two years.
Follow your state’s regulations as closely as possible. Small deviations can cause you to lose your license or lead to a reprimand from the state board.
Try to take at least one class on modern fashion trends. Even if this class is not required, you will be better informed on what your clients want and need.
If your license becomes inactive for a few years, you may need to retake the exam or start the licensure process all over again. If you decide to retire, you must make a commitment that you are leaving the industry permanently so you don’t waste time on training.
The Essentials of Barber Training
Barber training is more complicated than you think. You must have a high school diploma or GED before you start your formal training. You need to take classes at a barber school and get experience inside a barbershop.
A great way to develop experience is through an apprenticeship. But you can also get an entry-level job. After you get your license, you must get continuing education.
All told, you need hundreds if not thousands of hours of training to be a barber. You also need to study the industry well. Read more barbering guides by following our coverage.