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How to Become a Barber

Have you ever thought about becoming a barber? If you have, or you’re just loosely interested in the profession, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got all the information you need to learn how to become a barber. We’ll answer your questions and explain the benefits of working as a barber and give you an idea of what you can expect to make in salary and what the job outlook is.

A barber is a professional who provides hair cutting and styling services to men, women, and children. They are responsible for giving haircuts, trims, and styles, as well as shaving and beard trimming. In most cases, a barber will also offer other services such as coloring, texturizing, and scalp massages.

Barbering is an ancient profession that has been around for centuries. Today, there are many different types of barbers who specialize in different areas, such as traditional barbering, hair cutting for women, or men’s grooming. To become a barber, one must complete a barbering program at a cosmetology school or vocational school.

How long is barber school?

In order to become a barber, you have to go to school. Barbering school is usually about 1,500 hours long. You can finish it in about 9 months.

How long does it take to get a barber license?

In order to be a licensed barber, most states will require you to complete an accredited course or an apprenticeship program as well as pass a licensing exam. Most barber schools have 1,000 to 1,500-course hours while apprenticeship programs are usually 2,000 or more, and the licensing exam usually consists of both a written and practical component.

Once you have completed both barber school or the apprenticeship and the exam, you will only have to fill out your paperwork and pay your licensing fee to be a licensed barber.

Depending on your state, you might have a lot of options for scheduling flexibility in going to barber school. Some barber schools offer both full and part-time programs. Full-time programs usually last around nine months, while part-time programs can last anywhere from one to three years.

Why does it take so long to become a barber?

It takes a long time to become a barber because you have to go to school for somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 hours, or you’ll need a lengthy apprenticeship. In many cases, you can finish a program or an apprenticeship in nine to twelve months. The final hurdle after finishing your apprenticeship or barber school program is passing your state’s licensing exam(s).

Learn more about earning your barber license.

What makes someone a good barber?

Many people coming here focus on the steps of how to become a barber without thinking about what makes a good fit for someone looking to get into the profession. The truth is, to be a successful barber no amount of training hours will be as important as your personality and your ability to provide exceptional customer service. 

Getting a haircut is a very personal experience, so you’ll be trusted to provide top-notch haircutting skills, but you’ll also need to relate to your customers and build relationships with them. When they trust your skills and grow to enjoy the entire experience of going to the barber, that’s how you help build and grow a barbershop. 

On top of technical skills and interpersonal skills, professional barbers also need to have stamina and a degree of physical fitness. The job can be demanding requiring a lot of dexterity and long hours on your feet. If these things are not in your wheelhouse, a barber career might

Jobs outlook for barbers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 50,200 barbers employed in the United States in 2021. Through 2031 they expect job growth of 8%, which is much higher than the national average.

The top metro areas employing barbers are:

  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  • Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

How much do barbers make?

The average annual wage for barbers in 2021 was $35,700 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That works out to an average hourly wage of $17.16.

The truth is, though, that barber wages can vary drastically. A few determining factors include location, employer, and additional compensation (i.e. tips). Below you can see the breakdown of barber wages by percentile with earners in the top 10% making more than $30,000 more per year than the bottom 10%.

Percentile 10% 25% 50% 75% 90%
Hourly Wage $ 10.79 $ 12.65 $ 14.41 $ 21.51 $ 25.60
Annual Wage $ 22,430 $ 26,300 $ 29,970 $ 44,730 $ 53,260


Learn more about barber salaries.

More questions?

Barbering is one of the oldest professions on the planet, so there’s a lot of information to cover. To learn more, check out our FAQ page.