Many barbers in your locality probably rose to their ranks by experience. Although it’s not much of a necessity that a barber acquires training and certification, the game changes when one aspires to become a professional. Many people ask the same question: what are the requirements to become a professional barber? The answers are varying.
The quick start here is learning what training should be taken, salary expected, and skills that you have to master. You can actually become a barber even if you’re over 40 years old. As long as your hands can swiftly hold the blades with ease, you have a future in this industry.
So how can you get started? Here are some requirements that you should accomplish for a secured spot behind the styling chair.
Starting as a professional barber
1. At least a high school or GED diploma
You have to keep in mind that becoming a barber may have varying requirements per state. But the common ground here is that you should be at least 16 years old (which isn’t a problem if you’re over 40 and planning to be a barber). You should at least have a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) to enroll in training schools.
Before scouting for a training school, you should know that there are states who don’t allow those with a previous conviction or felony charges to secure a license. It’s best to contact the concerned authorities on your locality to confirm this. You simply can’t afford to put your barber’s certification to waste. What are the requirements to become a professional barber? Refer on your state for the right information.
2. Experience as a barber apprentice
So you’re all cleared from the primary requirement issues, it’s in your best interest to be a barber’s apprentice before setting foot in a barber school. Training with a professional will give you first-hand experience as to how the job is done. It can also help if you’re still unsure about being a barber. Learning at the least the basics will give you an edge once you’re enrolled in a formal training.
You can simply observe, and if the barber permits, assist him during one of his services. The barber may not give you the chance to cut someone’s hair but you’ll surely learn how to deal with customers. You’ll also have the experience on how to maintain and organize equipment and how each blade work.
3. A certification or degree from a barber school
You can either enroll in a barber or cosmetology degree depending on the specialization you want to achieve. This is the point where you’re given proper training on how to cut someone else’s hair properly and the techniques involved in it. Aside from making sure the crown is well styled, it’s also a barber’s job to shave their customer’s beard and facial hair. This part is both a skill and an art that requires precision. There are a lot of blades involved here and you have to know how each one works.
Aside from haircutting services, you’ll also learn how to dye a customer’s hair, style the haircut, and different hair types. So what are the requirements to become a professional barber? There are tons of it.
Take note that there are two barber classes you’ll have to choose from:
The Barber – This is where you learn how to cut, style, and maintain the hair and beard. It also involves the knowledge of curling, coloring, shampooing, shaving, waving, arranging, and dressing.
The Restricted Barber – This class is for those who want to be a traditional barber. It includes knowledge about limited skills like shaving, cutting, shampooing, styling using tonics and gels, and blow drying. If you want to have a wide expertise and higher chance of landing a barber job, it pays to invest in the full barber class.
Take note that before you can proceed to the next step, you have to secure 1500 hours of training in a barber school.
4. Pass the state licensure exam
Once you have enough hours of training, you can now apply and sit for the licensure exam. This will be conducted per state and the additional requirements may also vary. Aside from the written exam you have to pass, you’ll also undergo a practical exam regardless if you took cosmetology or a barber certification. Your state may use the conventional NIC exam or their customized version. What are the requirements to become a professional barber? Passing the exam is one of it.
Usually, the exams would be in English but there are states who offer it in other languages like Spanish, Korean, French, Arabic, Chinese, and more. Of course, you can find review resources to pass the exams which can also be provided by the school you attended.
5. Secure a license (requirements may vary)
The requirements for securing a license also vary the same way as the examination. Each state would have its own list of requisites which can be confusing at some point. But to cut the hassle, you can refer on Beauty Schools Directory for the state-based requirements.
For example, in Alabama, they require 1000 hours of training before you can secure a license as a barber. Meanwhile, in Florida, they impose a 1200-hour requirement. It’s important to know these differences so you can prepare ahead and skip the hassle of taking additional hours just to suffice the requirements.
Some states may offer licenses for barbers, cosmetologists, esthetician, and more if you have a different expertise. So what are the requirements to become a professional barber? You have to check it out.
6. Scout for a barber job opening
Once you have all these requirements settled, you’ve now gone to more than halfway to becoming a professional barber. The next challenge would be to find a job. Your edge here is that, unlike the conventional barbers in the past, you have a license and formal training to decorate your resume.
Still, there are thousands of other new barbers you have to compete with so it’s important that you have the following traits:
Organization – When you apply for a barber position, your skills will first be tested on the styling chair. It’s important that you render a service with cleanliness on your tools and organization in the process. Having a cluttered kit isn’t an admirable ending to your application.
Stamina – You should expect that when you apply for a job, you’ll be lined up with more than one person to show your skills. It means you’ll be standing for long hours and snipping relentlessly. Your back and legs will hurt but it’s important that you maintain your composure whatever happens. What are the requirements to become a professional barber? You need to have strong legs!
Time Management – You can’t spend a full hour just finishing a simple crew cut. A barber that’s likely to land the job is the one who maintains precision even in a very little time. Take note that when you’re in the actual job, you’ll be tasked to handle dozens of customers a day. Your clients don’t have the luxury of time either do you.
Customer relations – Aside from your dexterity in producing elegant men haircuts, your potential boss would likely observe how you deal with the customers. Being pleasant pays here and keeping a nice conversation would seal the deal.
Becoming a master barber
1. Open your own barbershop business
Once you have enough savings from being a professional barber, you can go further and be a master barber yourself. You can open your own barbershop business. It’s important that you have enough entrepreneurial skills to manage your new business. Aside from yourself, you’ll now be thinking about additional barbers, rent, and equipment. It may cost a lot but your ROI would be fruitful in the years to come.
2. Learn how to market your business
Here comes the hardest part. It’s easy to open your own barbershop especially if you have the money. But you should know how to market it well to break even and earn beyond your capital. You have to send a word about your barbershop to attract customers. Once they are in your styling chair, it’s your task to convert them to patrons through discounts and limited offers. It’s an additional answer to what are the requirements to become a professional barber.
It’s important that you have a certain standard that your customers will find unique. However, don’t overdo this to the point that you’re risking your business’ stability.
3. Building a clientele
If you’ve worked on a separate barbershop before, it’s quite easy to establish your own clientele. You have the experience, and most of all, you already built a network of patrons. Although it sounds a bit off for your previous employer, these customers would follow you in your new shop. It’s important that you keep them as satisfied as they were in their previous barbershop of choice.
Remember the saying, “bad publicity is still publicity”? It’s not actually a good thing for a service-based barbershop like yours. You wouldn’t want to be known because of a failed haircut, right?
Before you jump on the bandwagon, you should be sure that you really want to be a barber. There are some considerations that you have to take into account. Here are some of it:
The cost of training
Some barber school training can cost $5,000 and as much as $20,000. What’s important here is you get the training that you need to land a job and become a master barber. It pays to invest but always check what the barber school is offering before you enroll. The more expensive program might be longer and contain in-depth training. You should know this as part of what are the requirements to become a professional barber.
Renewing your license
It’s important that you renew your license regularly; otherwise, you’ll be illegally practicing your profession. Renewal requirements will, again, vary per state and it’s your responsibility to suffice them. I suggest that you don’t allow your license to expire since you might be asked to retake an exam. In case you have an expired license for years, your state may also require continuing studies to compensate the gap in practice they assume you had.
The cost of starting a business
Having a barbershop is every professional barber’s dream. But as much as it can be a lucrative business, it’s also a very expensive investment. You have to save enough money so you can have a decent place to house the shop, enough equipment, and additional manpower to handle your clients.
You have to check out the competition
Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 52,000+ barbers in the U.S. in 2012. By 2022, it’ seen to increase by 11%. The competition lies in the competency and professional training the barber accomplished. This is the reason why I suggest that you enroll in a full-barber class instead of the restricted one that will make you a traditional barber. It’s the answer to what are the requirements to become a professional barber.
You have to get used to being on your feet
Barbers will be standing on their feet almost 99% of the day that they are at work. It’s important that, by now, you have trained yourself for this challenge being a barber entails. Your back will hurt and it’s important that you develop a strategy on how to deal with it. Some barbershops will allow you to take a few minutes of rest before taking on the next customer.
It’s not a bed of roses
So you think being a barber is a suave job? Of course, it is. But you should keep in mind that it’s not the most comfortable job in the world. You have to stand for long hours, deal with unhappy and irate customers, make sure that you make ends meet with the operational expenses, and more. You also have to secure training and pass a licensure exam just to formally take your place behind the styling chair.
Are you asking this same question: what are the requirements to become a professional barber? If so, this post will help you out. Basically, you need to have a high school diploma, complete hours of training, pass an exam, and secure a license. There are more in between and after that.