If you would like a career that allows you to be social, as well as help people maintain a clean and stylish appearance, a job as a barber may be a good fit for you. Read on to learn about career options, job growth and earnings for barbers, as well as how to qualify for a position in the field.
As a barber, you might offer haircutting, shampooing and styling services primarily to men. Your job duties could also include providing special services, like fitting hairpieces, shaving or selling hair care products. In this profession, you'll need to keep up with hairstyle trends and be comfortable interacting with strangers. In addition to hair cutting, you might also provide skin care, manicures or hair coloring services.
As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2013, the mean annual salary for barbers was $27,710. During the prior year, approximately 50% of barbers were self-employed. According to the BLS, employment opportunities for barbers were expected to increase by an average rate of 11% nationwide from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov)
Educational requirements for professional barbers can vary, but completion of a state-approved training program is usually required before you can obtain your certification. Barber programs are at least nine months in length and include courses in sales and customer service. You'll also learn about haircutting and shaving techniques, management concepts and state barber laws. Some barber courses are structured to prepare you for state examinations and often start with basic classroom instruction before advancing to practical applications and hands-on learning.
In most states, completion of a formal training program is the usual requirement for becoming a licensed barber. State licensing exams might include both a written and a practical test. As an aspiring professional, it's important to verify that the barber training program you choose meets your state requirements.