Barber: Job Duties, Employment Outlook, and Training Requirements

Explore the career requirements for barbers. Get the facts about job duties, projected employment outlook and salary information to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Nail Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Barber?

Barbers perform hair cutting and shaving services. As a barber, you'll need creativity, good customer service and communication skills so you can determine what services your clients need. You'll use tools to give your clients the look they want, and may perform other services for nails and skin. The table below provides some information for this career:

Education Required High school diploma is minimum
Training Required State-licensed barber training program
Key Responsibilities Shampoo & cut hair, trim beards & mustaches, shave customers
Licensure State license required in all states
Job Growth (2014-2024) 10%*
Median Salary (2015) $24,850*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Duties of a Barber?

If you work as a barber, you'll provide hair care and grooming services, mostly for men, to improve their looks. You'll cut hair, trim beards and mustaches and shave customers. You may also shampoo hair, perform scalp massages and blow dry hair, if necessary. Nail and skin treatments are other services that you may offer.

Some tools that you will use are scissors, blow dryers, clippers and shavers. Sterilizing your grooming instruments and maintaining a clean work station are other aspects of your job.

You'll consult with your customers to determine the services desired. You might make recommendations based on the customer's preference and your professional judgment. If necessary, you may offer ways to help reduce scalp and hair problems.

What Is the Employment Outlook?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that barbers are expected to experience faster than average growth from 2014 through 2024, with a 10% increase in jobs ( The BLS projected that job opportunities may be good for entry-level workers, while individuals who are licensed in a variety of cosmetology services and who have work experience will have the best opportunities.

The BLS projects that there will be 6,000 new barber jobs opening during the 2014-2024 decade. This growth is attributed to a growing population that will need the services of barbers and personal appearance workers. As of May 2015, the median annual salary for barbers was $24,850, according to the BLS.

What Training Do I Need?

According to the BLS, you'll need a state license before you may work as a barber. General requirements include a high school diploma, a minimum age of 16 and graduation from an accredited barber training program. These programs are available at private cosmetology and barbering schools as well as at community colleges and vocational schools. Some diploma and certificate programs can take up to a year to complete and may be transferable to associate's degree programs.

Barbering programs may include courses such as hair drying, sanitation, draping, finger waving, hair styling, shaves and tapering. If you're interested in starting your own business, you'll need knowledge about business operations. Once you've fulfilled your educational requirements, you must pass a written examination and demonstrate your barbering skills to obtain your state license. If you've completed a general cosmetology training program, some states will apply that training toward requirements for a barber's license.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A hairstylist is a similar career that also requires completing a postsecondary cosmetology training program and earning a license. Hairstylists perform many hair services for clients - such as cutting, dying and styling - in settings that include salons. Cosmetologists require a postsecondary cosmetology training program or degree as well as a cosmetology license. These professionals analyze client's hair and makeup and perform scalp and facial treatments.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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Popular Schools

  • Cortiva Institute

    Cortiva Institute responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Cortiva Institute:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Maitland, Pinellas Park
  • Fortis College

    Fortis College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Fortis College:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Pensacola
  • Penn Foster High School

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    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • World A Cuts Barber Institute

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: York
  • Winston Salem Barber School

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Winston Salem
  • Westside Tech

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Winter Garden
  • West Michigan College of Barbering and Beauty

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: Kalamazoo
  • West Georgia Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Georgia: Waco
  • Pearl River Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Mississippi: Poplarville
  • Washington Barber College Inc

    Campus Locations:

    • Arkansas: Little Rock