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How to Become A Barber

Barbers are responsible for providing barbering services such as shampooing, trimming, cutting, and styling hair. They also give shaves and trim beards. If you would like to pursue a career in this field, then you might want to take a look at this informative article. It will guide you how to become a barber in the U.S.

Should I Become a Barber?

If you have a creative streak, then you have a good chance at becoming a barber. This profession will help you explore your artistic side. Apart from decent salary prospects, this line of work will also help you build your social and communication skills, as you will get to interact with a variety of people every day. If all this sounds tempting, then you should definitely consider becoming a barber.

The table below provides a snapshot of the education and training requirements, salary estimates, and career prospects, of Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists. This information has been taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Education Required

A high school diploma or equivalent along with a state-approved barber program.

Major Requirement





Varies by state

Key Skills

Customer Service Skills, Creativity, Listening Skills, Physical Stamina, and Time-Management Skills.

Annual Mean Salary (2019) - Barbers


Job Outlook (2018-28)


Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook for Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists

It is predicted that the job opportunities for barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists will grow by 8% from 2018 to 2028. The demand for barbers and hair care services will be driven by a growth in the population. Moreover, the demand for hair treatments has also increased in the previous years, and this demand is likely to increase further in the coming years as well.

The overall job prospects in this field are expected to be good. A huge number of vacancies will be available because of the need to replace professionals who leave or retire. Individuals should also expect fierce competition for jobs at high-end salons, where professionals have to compete with a large pool of trained and experienced hairstylists and barbers.

States with the Highest Employment Level for Barbers

Texas had the highest employment level for Barbers in 2019, with 3,450 jobs, followed by New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

Top Paying State for Barbers

In 2019, the top paying state for Barbers in the U.S. was Maryland, paying an annual mean salary of, $57,500, followed by Washington  ($57,120), Massachusetts ($55,390), Nebraska ($53,890), and Tennessee ($50,790).

Steps to Become a Barber

Step 1: Complete High School Education

The first step is to obtain a high school diploma or an equivalent. After completing high school education, you will be eligible to apply for a specialized training program.

Step 2: Attend a Barber School

According to the information published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is compulsory for aspiring barbers to graduate from a state-licensed barber program. These programs are being offered in several postsecondary vocational schools.

The technical areas covered by these barbering programs include the following: Basic Skin Care, Men’s Shaving and Grooming, Haircutting, and Chemical Work (which includes perms and coloring). These training programs help students develop haircutting skills by letting them work with live models and mannequin heads. If you wish to open up your own salon after graduating, then taking courses in marketing and sales would also be beneficial.

Step 3: Participate in an Internship Program

During college, you can gain some meaningful, challenging, and practical work experience by interning with a professional barber. This will help you learn valuable skills such as styling and people management skills.

Step 4: Earn a License

In order to obtain a license, you will be expected to take a Barbering State Board Examination. This exam consists of a written section, as well as an oral or a practical section, which assesses the candidate’s styling skills. Upon passing the exam, you can submit a licensure application to the board.

Some U.S. states also have reciprocity agreements which permit licensed barbers to get a license in another state without completing additional testing and training requirements. However, these agreements are not quite common. Thus, it is recommended that you review the state laws beforehand.

Step 5: Apply for a Job

After obtaining the license, you can find work at barbershops, resorts, hotels, and spas. You can also work on freelance projects and even open up your own barbering business.

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