A barbershop is where men come to get their hair cut, their beards shaved and to hang out with the guys. This scene of familiar camaraderie is as American as the red, white and blue barber pole.

If you’ve thought about joining the age-old tradition of becoming a barber, you can attend a barber school and be licensed in just 9 months. Learn what you’ll need to complete your training and why you must be licensed to practice.


In most states, barbers are required to be at least 16 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED equivalent and complete training at one of many state-licensed barber schools.

Newly trained barbers must also be able to pass a state licensing examination with both written and practical components.

Training at barber schools can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 dollars. If you need financial assistance, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as the FAFSA. Also, be sure to compare barber schools to see if your particular choice will accept financial aid grants. If not, move on until you find one that does.

You can also find financial assistance from the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS).

How Long Does it Take?

Training at barber schools takes approximately 9 months to complete and can lead to a certificate or associates degree. Most barbers will also continue their study with on-the-job training and by attending seminars and conferences to keep up with the latest hair trends and styles.

What Will I Learn?

Though you’ll learn a little about women’s styles, the large majority of your training at barber schools will focus on grooming techniques for men. You’ll learn to cut, style, dye and treat men’s hair. You’ll also be taught shaving and trimming techniques for men’s facial hair.

What Other Skills Do I Need?

You should enjoy working with and interacting with a variety of different people. It’s also important you have a steady hand for cutting hair and beard maintenance. Some clients may prefer a straight-razor shave and you won’t keep customers long if you cut them.

It’s also important to have good oral comprehension, a good memory and be comfortable standing most of the day.

What Can I Expect to Make?

The average annual salary for a barber in 2009 ranged from $21,877 to $37,782.

Why Do I Need to Be Licensed?

In most states, it is illegal to cut hair or do any grooming on anybody other than your immediate family without a license to do so. If you practice as a barber without a license, you can be fined anywhere from $500 to $4,000 per day the issue is not corrected. You may also be put on probation or suspension for a period of up to one year.

Where Will I Work?

As a licensed barber, you’ll commonly work alongside others in a salon, barbershop or hotel. As your experience grows and you’ve been practicing for many years, you may find work on a cruise ship or choose to open your own barbershop.

Working as a barber can be a fun and rewarding career. Look into barber schools in your area and start going for your license. You’ll be able to start practicing in under a year.



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