How to Become a Barber

Mar 14 2022

Barbering is an exciting career path that can cater to both your creative side and your entrepreneurial spirit. Unlike cosmetologists who build a comprehensive background in hair, nail and skin care, barbers focus exclusively on hair care and styling, often with a specific mastery in short hairstyles. If you are passionate about helping others feel good about themselves, staying up to date on the latest fashion trends and having a career with opportunities to be your own boss, barbering may be right for you. Of course, you’ll need to take the right steps to get on the path to your new career. Read on for a look at how to become a barber.


Decide If Barbering Is the Right Career Path for You

Successful barbers may come from all walks of life, but one thing that all great barbers have in common is an interest in meeting new people. Barbers spend most of their time at work interacting with clients and other industry professionals, so an outgoing and positive personality will serve you well in this career field. You should also have an interest in beauty and grooming and a constant drive to learn new things—trends and technologies are always changing, so you will likely become a lifelong learner in the barbering industry.

Acquire the Skills and Training You Need for the Trade at an Accredited Barber School

One of the perks of becoming a barber is that you don’t need to attend a 4-year university to enter this career field. If you attend barber school full-time, you can complete your education in just over 12 months. Choosing the right barbering program is important for setting yourself up for success.

The first step is searching for accredited barber schools in your area. Once you have a list of schools, you will want to schedule campus tours at your top choices. During your tour, you’ll have a chance to get to know the curriculum, school culture and admissions requirements. After you’ve applied to a barbering program, you can apply for financial aid* to help you pay for your education. Filling out your FAFSA form will let you see if you qualify for federal grants and student loans. You might also research private barbering school scholarships and ask your chosen school if they offer any scholarships in-house.

As you research different barbering programs in your area, you’ll want to assess what types of skills each program offers. A good barbering program should consist of both classroom education and practical skills development with hands-on practice working with real clients.*

Classroom Education

While barbering is all about cutting, treating and styling hair, it requires a broad foundation of knowledge, including bacteriology, hygiene, chemistry, physiology and state laws and regulations. It’s also beneficial for barbering students to understand the history of the industry along with current trends and projections for the future of the industry. Your classroom education should be rounded out with business skills, including the basics of running a salon, marketing your skills and interviewing for jobs.

Hands-On Training

It’s said that practice makes perfect and that’s absolutely true in the barbering industry. Your barbering program should offer plenty of opportunities for you to practice different techniques both on mannequins and real clients in the student salon. At Douglas J Aveda Institute and the Douglas J School of Barbering, students will begin to provide client-facing services after 13 weeks in the classroom. You’ll practice:

  • Hair cutting and shaving
  • Straight razor shaves
  • Beard trimming and styling
  • Comb-overs
  • Scalp treatments
  • Chemical treatments like hair straightening and permanent waving
  • Hair coloring

As you practice each of these skills along with client consultations and product recommendations, you will have the support, supervision and guidance of a licensed instructor. So, you can gain the confidence you need to eventually offer the same services on your own. Our schools follow Aveda’s holistic approach to beauty and wellness services and we use Reuzel products in our student salon to provide you an opportunity to work with high-end products on real clients.

Sit for Your State Licensing Exam

After you graduate from your barbering program, the next step is passing your state licensing exam. Both Tennessee and Michigan require barbers to sit for a state board exam to become licensed prior to seeking employment. Your education should provide you with all the knowledge and skills you need to approach your exam with confidence.

Apply for Job Opportunities

Now that you’re educated and licensed in your field, you can start working as a barber. You might have a goal to open your own barbershop or salon, or you might apply as a barber at an existing salon. In either situation, you will likely have control over your schedule, marketing and client relationships. If you are interested in a career that caters to your independent spirit and entrepreneurial drive, barbering may be the perfect fit.

With an education from Douglas J Aveda Institute or Douglas J School of Barbering, you may find career opportunities through our career fairs, which are held twice per year at each of our campuses. We also have an alumni portal where open positions are regularly posted by salon owners throughout the year.

Take the First Step with a Campus Tour

If you are looking for a barbering program in East Lansing, MI, or Knoxville, TN, schedule a tour at Douglas J School of Barbering or Douglas J Aveda Institute. Classes begin throughout the year, so you don’t have to put your education on hold. Contact us today at 877-311-8957!

Financial aid available to those who qualify.