Like other professions in the health and grooming space, barbers are required to be licensed in all 50 states because they are working directly with public health.
Below we’ve put together a quick guide on how to obtain your license and life after barber school. Happy reading!
Enrolling in barber school
Traditional barber schools take a year or two to complete, requiring 1,500 hours. Students will learn theory and gain hands-on experience in haircutting techniques. Some courses include: hygiene, shaving, haircutting, styling, bacteriology, and business management.
Enrollment varies from state to state but generally speaking, you can enroll if you are 16 years or older, or hold a high school diploma. All barbers must complete the state requirements given by the state’s department of barbering and cosmetology.
Tuition can range anywhere from $10,000 – $25,000 typically.
If you’re looking for a place to attend, here are the National Association of Barbers’ top 5 schools. There are also certain colleges/universities that offer barber programs.
What happens after graduation?
Upon graduation, you’ll then be required to take your state’s licensed exam. The exam will have a theory section and a practical section.
In some states, they might require you to do an apprenticeship or work a couple of months as a licensed barber to then take an additional exam. For example, the New York State Department of State, Division of Licensing Services grants students with an apprenticeship as long as it’s two years and served under a New York State licensed barber.
Once you have your license you can practice. Licenses must however be renewed quite frequently, some states requiring an annual renewal, others biannual.
What services can you provide as a licensed barber?
- Shaving/trimming the beard or mustache
- Cutting/trimming/shaving hair
- Giving facial and scalp massages with lotions, creams, and oils
- Applying hair tonics
- Chemically straightening or waving hair
- Coloring or bleaching the hair
- Cutting, measuring, and fitting wigs, hairpieces, or head caps
Interested in becoming a barber? Make sure you have the right barber tools, a big one being clippers!
Photo via Jesse Costa/WBUR