So You Want to Go to Barber School? Here’s What You Need to Know

So you’re thinking about becoming a barber, huh? It’s an age-old profession that’s seen a huge resurgence lately with the rise of classic barbershops and vintage style. But before you can start mastering the perfect fade or razor shave, you’ve got to go to barber school.

Barber school is where you’ll learn the skills of the trade, but it does require an investment of both time and money. If you’re serious about pursuing a career as a barber, here’s what you need to know before enrolling in barber school.

What Is Barber School?

Barber School
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Barber school, also known as barber college, is a training program where you can learn the skills to become a licensed barber. At barber school, you’ll learn techniques like cutting, coloring, and styling hair. You’ll also study proper shaving, facial massage, and safety procedures.

Once you’ve completed the required hours of training, you’ll take an exam to become licensed in your state. Licensure requirements vary in each state, but usually involve passing a written exam on barbering theory and a practical demonstration of your skills.

  • Coursework covers cutting, styling and coloring techniques for all hair types. You’ll learn skills like tapering, fading, and texturizing.
  • You’ll study hair and scalp disorders, as well as proper sanitation and safety procedures to prevent the spread of infections.
  • The program also teaches you the business side of barbering, like managing a shop and building a client base.
  • Hands-on practice cutting real clients’ hair under instructor supervision is a key part of most barber school programs.

Barber school usually takes between 9 months to 2 years to complete, depending on if you attend part-time or full-time. The total program length must meet your state’s hourly requirements for licensure, which is typically between 900 to 1,500 hours.

The cost of barber school varies but averages between $10,000 to $20,000 for a full program. Many schools offer financing options to help make the education affordable. Scholarships and grants may also be available.

Once licensed, barbers can work in barbershops, hair salons or open their own barbershop. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, barbers earn a median pay of around $25,000 per year. Pay will vary depending on factors like location, experience, and the number of hours worked.

If you’re looking for a hands-on career where you can express your creativity, barber school could be a great path. With the proper training and licensure, you’ll be ready to start your career making people look and feel their best.

Why Choose Barber School Over Cosmetology School?

Why Choose Barber School Over Cosmetology School?

Have you always dreamed of becoming a barber but weren’t sure if barber school or cosmetology school was the right path for you? There are a few key differences between the two that can help determine which is the best fit.

A barbering program focuses specifically on men’s haircutting and styling. You’ll learn classic cuts like fades, tapers, and crew cuts. A cosmetology education covers a wider range of skills like color, highlights, nails, makeup and women’s hairstyling in addition to men’s cuts. If you want to specialize in men’s grooming, barber school will provide more concentrated training.

Barber school usually takes less time to complete than a cosmetology program. Most barbering certificates or associate’s degrees can be earned in 9 months to 2 years. A cosmetology education typically lasts at least a year and up to 2-3 years for an associate’s degree. The shorter barber school timeline means you can start your career sooner.

Licensing requirements also differ between the two paths. All states require barbers and cosmetologists to be licensed, but barber licensing exams focus on areas like shaving, trimming beards and basic haircutting. Cosmetology tests cover a wider range of beauty services. Barber school may require fewer hours of technical training and practice to prepare for licensing.

Job opportunities and earning potential can vary for barbers versus cosmetologists. Barbers typically work in barbershops and men’s salons. Cosmetologists have a wider range of work environments like salons, spas and resorts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, barbers earn a median pay of $25,200 per year while hairdressers and cosmetologists earn $24,830. Actual wages depend on factors like location, experience, and employer.

If a fast-paced career focused on men’s grooming and styling sounds appealing, barber school could be an excellent choice for you. You’ll receive targeted training and be able to start your career quickly as a barber. But if you’re interested in a wider range of beauty skills and services, cosmetology school may open up more opportunities. The decision ultimately comes down to where your interests lie and the type of work you want to pursue.

What Will You Learn at Barber School?

Barber School
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At barber school, you’ll learn the fundamentals of men’s cutting and styling techniques. The curriculum covers both the theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills you’ll need to start your career as a barber.

Cutting Techniques

You’ll study different clipper cutting techniques like tapering, fading, and scissor cutting. Practice makes perfect, so you’ll spend many hours cutting hair under the guidance of your instructors. You’ll learn how to create popular styles like the side part, slick back, pompadour, and buzz cut.

Shaving and Trimming

Mastering the art of the straight razor shave and trim is an important part of barber school. You’ll learn proper shaving techniques, how to prep the skin, and safety precautions. You’ll also learn beard and mustache trimming using clippers, trimmers, and scissors.

Hygiene and Safety

Proper sanitation and sterilization procedures are critical to running a successful barbershop. You’ll study disinfection methods, learn how to properly sanitize tools, and understand health regulations. You’ll also learn scalp and hair care, as well as how to identify common skin conditions.

Business Skills

Many barbers go on to open their own shops, so barber school teaches essential business skills. You’ll learn fundamentals of managing a barbershop like scheduling appointments, maintaining inventory, payroll, and accounting. Customer service and client consultation are also covered to help you build a loyal client base.

Licensing Exam Preparation

Most states require barbers to be licensed. Your barber school curriculum will prepare you to take your state’s licensing exam. You’ll review key topics in cutting, shaving, sanitation, and barbershop management to ensure you have a strong understanding of the concepts needed to pass the exam.

Barber school provides the theoretical foundation and practical experience needed for a successful career as a barber. With dedication, you’ll graduate ready to start working in a barbershop or open your own shop. The skills you learn will allow you to provide quality services to your clients for years to come.

How Long Does Barber School Take?

So you’re thinking of becoming a barber—that’s great! Barber school is the first step. Before you enroll, here are some things you should know about the training required:

How Long Does Barber School Take?

Barber School
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Barber school programs typically take between 9 to 15 months to complete, depending on your state’s licensing requirements. Most programs are around 1500 hours. The good news is many barber schools offer part-time programs if you need to work while you learn.

The training covers all the basics of cutting, coloring and styling hair for men. You’ll learn safety and sanitation procedures, haircutting techniques like fades, tapers and flat tops, shaving with a straight razor, and coloring techniques. Many schools also cover business management topics like maintaining client records, managing inventory, and marketing your services.

Hands-on experience makes up a large part of barber school training. You’ll spend many hours practicing on mannequins before moving on to live models. Some schools even allow or require students to work in an on-site barbershop, so you can get experience with real clients.

To become licensed, you’ll need to pass your state’s barber licensing exam. The exam tests your knowledge and skills in areas like cutting, shaving, safety and sanitation. Once licensed, you’ll be ready to start your career as a barber!

While barber school does require a serious time commitment, the good news is financial aid and scholarships may be available for those who qualify. And with the growing demand for barbers, the career outlook is bright. If you have a passion for cutting hair and want to work in a job that’s hands-on and creative, barber school could be well worth the investment.

How Much Does Barber School Cost?

So you want to become a barber, huh? That’s great news. The first thing you’ll want to consider is how much barber school will cost. Barber school, also known as barber college or cosmetology school, can vary in price depending on the program and school you choose.

On average, barber school in the U.S. will cost between $10,000 to $20,000 total for a program leading to licensure. The price will depend on factors like:

  • The length of the program. Most barber schools offer programs that take 9 months to 2 years to complete. Longer programs, especially those awarding an associate’s degree, will typically cost more.
  • Public vs. private school. Public barber schools are often less expensive than private schools. Public schools receive government funding, so they are able to charge lower tuition.
  • Supplies and fees. In addition to tuition, expect to pay for supplies like scissors, razors, combs and smocks. There are also usually additional fees for registration, textbooks, exams and licensing.
  • Available scholarships and financial aid. Many barber schools offer scholarships, grants and student loan options to help make the cost more affordable. Fill out a FAFSA form to determine your eligibility for need-based aid.

The good news is that barbers have solid earning potential, with the average salary for a barber in the U.S. around $25,000 per year. Many experienced barbers earn $30,000 or more. With time and skill, you can build up a loyal clientele and charge higher rates.

While the cost of barber school is an investment, the opportunities for a career as a skilled tradesperson are rewarding. With the right education, dedication and determination, you can build a successful career as a barber. The training you receive will provide you with skills that can last a lifetime.


So you’re interested in attending barber school? That’s great! Becoming a barber can be a rewarding career. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you learn more about barber school.

How long does barber school take?

Barber school programs typically take about a year to complete and lead to a certificate or associate’s degree. The exact time will depend on your state’s licensing requirements. Most states require 1,000 to 1,500 hours of training. Some programs may allow you to complete the requirements faster with additional courses.

What will I learn?

Barber school will teach you all the skills needed to become a licensed barber. You’ll learn proper cutting, coloring and styling techniques for men’s hair. You’ll also study hair and scalp conditions, facial hair trimming and shaving methods. Important safety practices like proper sanitation and sterilization procedures are covered as well. Some schools may also offer optional training in massage techniques, hair replacement services or business management.

How much does barber school cost?

Barber school tuition varies but typically ranges from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the program. Additional costs include fees for textbooks, kits and licensing exams. Many schools offer financial aid and scholarships to help make barber school affordable. You may also be eligible for additional aid like grants, student loans and VA benefits if you qualify.

What are the requirements to become a barber?

To become a licensed barber, you must meet your state’s training and testing requirements. This usually involves:

  • Completing an accredited barber school program
  • Passing a written exam on haircutting, styling and safety
  • Passing a practical demonstration of your skills
  • Some states require an apprenticeship after barber school
  • Being at least 16 or 18 years old, depending on your state
  • Having a high school diploma or equivalent

Becoming a barber can be very rewarding. Barber school will provide you with the skills and knowledge to get started in this fast-growing field. With the right dedication, you’ll be well on your way to an exciting new career as a barber.


So now you have a sense of what it takes to become a barber and enroll in barber school. It may seem like a big commitment, but for the right person with a passion for the craft, it can be an incredibly rewarding career path. You get to spend your days doing work you love, using your skills to help clients look and feel their best, and building real connections within your community.

While the training and licensing requirements demand time and dedication, don’t let that discourage you if this is your dream. Many successful barbers today started exactly where you are now, filled with equal parts excitement and uncertainty about the road ahead.

Stay focused on your goals, put in the necessary work to become a great barber, and before you know it you’ll be standing behind that barber chair, doing what you were meant to do. The investment you make now in your education and training will pay off many times over through a career you can feel genuinely passionate about.

So take that first step – visit some schools, explore your options, and don’t look back. Your future clients are out there waiting for a skilled barber like you to come into their lives. You’ve got this! Now go make your barber dreams a reality.

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