If you are interested in becoming a barber, you must first attend barber school and become licensed in your state. Licensure is a prerequisite for all working barbers in the United States, all of whom must get professionally trained and pass a state licensing exam prior to applying for work. And while working as an unpaid apprentice is one path to licensure, barber schools are the most popular, and most highly- recommended method of preparing for a career in the industry.
About Barber Schools
Barber schools should provide a comprehensive education in men’s hair care and grooming. This includes, but isn’t limited to, hands-on coursework in hair cutting, shaving, straight razor techniques, honing and stropping, shampooing, scalp massage, permanent treatments, hair coloring and mustache and beard design.
In addition to the technical aspects of the job, barber schools provide students with an education in professional ethics, sterilization and sanitation, common skin disorders, business management and interpersonal skills.
Your success in becoming a barber is highly dependent on the school you choose, so it’s important to evaluate barber schools carefully. Make sure the school you choose is licensed by the state, has a staff of committed, experienced instructors and a reputation for excellence. A great way to find out about a school’s reputation is to talk to students or recent graduates about their experiences. Or, call a few local barber shops to see if they have any experience with the school or its graduates.
Becoming a Barber
Once you complete a barbering program, you’ll need to apply for professional licensure. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but generally require the successful completion of a written exam. Some states also include a practical component so students can prove their barbering skills on either a live model or mannequin. During the practical component, the applicant may be asked to showcase different techniques such as haircutting, hair coloring or using a razor. Upon successfully completing the licensing exam, the newly-licensed barber can begin applying for work in barber shops, salons, health resorts, spas and similar locations.