Hello and welcome to another page from the 5 series here at Sophisticated Grooming. Are you looking to begin a career as a barber? To get you started there are 5 things you should know before starting barber school. The barber profession dates back to the middle ages with responsibilities of a dentist, and surgeon. What began as a prestigious position quickly evolved into becoming a therapist, fashion expert, and a community mentor. As you journey into your studies I want to share with you the cost, education, expectations, ups and downs, and the completion of courses. With this information you will be prepared to enter school ready to become a barber.
To become a barber was something I never expected to e doing, however I will say that I am glad the love found me. My decision to be a barber was simple I had fun cutting hair, and I heard somewhere that if your job is fun you will never work a day in your life.
I found myself building a client base with just one pair of clippers, a trimmer, and my weight bench as my chair. I was satisfied to be able to have great conversations while making others feel good about their appearance.
The decision was an easy one to make for me at this time because I hated waking up to go to college and studying for a job that wasn’t guaranteed after course completion. I also enjoyed the fact that I would make my own schedule and set the possibilities of how much I can earn with no cap on my potential.
After talking to my sister who was already in the beauty field I was given advice to do both women, and men hair styling. So that’s what I did I signed up for beauty school the very next day. This was the best decision I had ever made, and after completing beauty school my next step was to cross over to a barbering program.
This decision gave me a well-rounded approach to being able to style hair. And all it cost me wast 18 months of my time and a price tag of about $20,000.
If you, do decide to go forward the price of this education runs roughly between $10-$15 per hour. In the state of Massachusetts at 1000 hours you are looking at roughly 12-15k including your workbooks and a kit of styling tools. Once you find the right school the price of the education will be well worth it.
What you will learn
A barbers’ education is pretty universal so I am confident in telling you that what you will learn can be applied in any state that you reside. The obvious education would be removing hair and styling hair, but there will be a heavy concentration in sanitation and infection control. The most important part of your lessons will be how not to pass along disease and how to prevent the spread of infection.
Along with that you will be learning chemical services such as Perms, relaxers, and color. These services may not be of interest to you but it is a part of the curriculum for a reason you will need to be prepared for any service that walks through the door. By law, it is illegal to refuse service based on sex, so if a lady prefers a barber to do her roller set it would be best if you knew how.
There is a theory to each subject that will give you the science behind each service, and the practical part is where you practice the application of the lesson. Customer service do’s and don’t are also a big part of the curriculum. What sets a barber apart from someone who just cuts hair is his/her professional approach to the job.
Understanding what kind of conversations can/cannot be he’d in the shop will ensure you keep customers satisfied at all times. Even if a customer is the one to strike a forbidden conversation about politics, religion, and money you will e taught how to take control and redirect the topic. With practice day in and day out anyone can become good at cutting hair, but it takes education to be able to properly service the public.
What to expect
Whenever you are introduced to something new it is natural to feel nervous and afraid. Afraid of making a mistake or doing something wrong. I Know these feelings were present when I began so its not far off to expect you to feel the same.
For instance, I recall my first haircut on an individual with fine straight hair up until then my work has all been done on coarse thick hair. Well needless to say my approach left the gentleman with a plug on the side of his head and me standing there for 45 minutes trying to figure how to hide it.
There was no hiding it nor was there an escape from the embarrassment I felt. Luckily my teacher kindly explained “Unless you have experience in cutting all types of hair(which is not uncommon) expect to make some major mistakes!” In fact, I suggest you make as many mistakes as you can while in barber school this is the only way to learn the difference between the correct way and the incorrect way.
You will have enough time to gain experience so don’t rush the process. Depending on your location you can look forward to at least 1000 hours of training. For the full time students that will register at about 9 months, and 16 months for part-time student. Other states require more hours ranging from 1200-2000 check with your local requirements to gain a clear understanding of how many hours are needed.
The roller coaster
Some days you will excel and feel like you are on top of the world while other days you will find the subject matter tough to understand giving you thoughts of quitting. This is totally normal and I urge you to remember that this field is a never ending lesson.
What you don’t understand today will become clear tomorrow as long as you work through your frustrations. There is no such thing as the Perfect barber or BEST barber just an individual who vows to be better each day they turn on a pair of clippers.
Don’t get too high when you excel and don’t get too low when you fail. The ups and downs of your school career only reminds you that you are evolving into a professional. We all need encouragement from time to time so don’t be afraid to lean on your educator for insurance.
The next step
If you have stuck with the course, and completed the program you are now eligible for your state exams. This is where you go before the state board of barbers’ and perform a haircut & shave to demonstrate you can practice proper technique and keep the public safe from disease and infection.
Once you pass this portion there will be a written exam administered to test your knowledge on the rules and regulations of the state in which you will be practicing. After you successfully pass both parts (Congratulations!) an apprentice barber license will be issued and you are officially a professional barber ready to be employed, and perform services for the public. As an apprentice you are required to work under a Master barber for a duration of 18 months before you can be considered for your master barber license.
What this means is that you aren’t allowed to work without the supervision of a master barber on site. This is to ensure your school training was thorough and you become comfortable with the public ensuring proper protocol. It’s almost like graduate school in a sense. Don’t worry its better this way as you will find out the shop and school has its differences.
The cost can range from 12k – 15k and about 9-16 months of time so to start your career as a barber you will find the value to outweigh the cost.
This field is one of growth and steady evolution what is today can quickly change tomorrow. Although you are licensed and ready to work It’s important to learn from everything you do and everyone you encounter. For a successful career you will have to keep up with the times.
To give you a little advice I suggest you keep track of your progress with pictures. When you get deeper in your career you will find out how horrible your cuts were and how far you have come with your skills.
The ups and downs will continue, but become far and few in between each episode. You will hit cruise control and hit an altitude of Highs with a couple of bumps in the road. It is impossible to please everyone, however your goal should be to satisfy each and every guest that enter the shop. Now that you know what to look for before starting barber school my only question is….. Are you ready?