Maybe you grew up with nine brothers and have been cutting everyone’s hair for as long as you can remember. Maybe you stopped sending your husband to the local salon because you learned you could do a better job (and save some money) with your own set of clippers and a little patience. Or perhaps you have a borderline-unhealthy obsession with shaping and shaving a man’s beard into a furry work of art.
No matter how you became aware of your abilities, you could go the extra step and convert that hobby into a bona fide career as a barber. Can you make the cut?
Before you answer that, you may need to brush up on the details of the barbering profession: What does a barber do, exactly? How can I become a barber? How long is barber school? Is barber training school the right answer for me? Getting all the information upfront will help you avoid any hairy situations later, so settle into your chair to read our full guide.
What Does a Barber Do?
Barbers and barbershops have been community staples for hundreds of years. Thousands, even. The word “barber” comes from the Latin “barba,” which means “beard,” and the first barbering services are believed to have been performed by the ancient Egyptians, circa 3500 B.C. Archaeologists have found that the instruments they used back then were fashioned from oyster shells or sharpened flint. Those Egyptians believed that evil spirits entered the human body through the hair on one’s head and face, so barbers were highly regarded and respected members of society; you could make someone look good and save their soul in the process.
Precious few probably still believe in the notion of wicked whiskers or malevolent mustaches, but everyone who likes sitting in a chair and having a professional spruce you up can appreciate a well-versed barber (we’ll pass on the opportunity to make a barbershop quartet joke here). When you look good, you feel good — and that’s exactly the line of business barbers are in: Making people feel better about themselves and their appearance.
To ascend to this status, you’ll need more than a pair of scissors and a bright bottle of barbicide. Professional barbers undergo specialized education and become state-licensed before they’re legally allowed to snip and clip your sideburns and curls. With a certificate from an accredited school in hand — plus a steady hand and a sharp eye for style — you can successfully enter a profession that is steeped in tradition and will forever be part of the fabric of life.
How Long is Barber School?
Our barber licensing program can be completed in 900 hours, or as little as seven months. Think about what you were doing seven short months ago; in that span of time, you could have your own chair at the local barbershop.
By 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nearly 58,000 professional barbers will be employed, an 11% increase over the previous decade. These barbers are required to be licensed in the state in which they work to ensure adherence to proper sanitary practices (especially in the wake of COVID-19, general safety precautions, and overall quality of service.
It’s a good time to enter the field, so finding a top-quality (barber school) should be one of your first action items. Barber training schools like Hollywood Institute of Beauty Careers offer a comprehensive curriculum that covers everything you’ll need in your quest for certification — from scalp treatments and beard design to hair coloring and chemical texture. You’ll take a wide variety of interesting classes, with topics focusing on the business of barbering, infection control, hair and scalp physiology, how to work behind the chair, and much more.
Why Barber Training School Is the Right Answer
Once you begin the certification process, you’ll quickly learn that barbering is a lot more involved than a shave and a haircut. Today’s customers have ever-higher expectations, which means you need to be competent along a wide spectrum of service offerings. Those can include:
Applying hair tonics
Applying lotions, powders, or other cosmetics to the skin before and after service
Coloring, bleaching, or straightening the hair
Cutting, fitting, measuring, and forming head caps for wigs or hairpieces
General office duties like stocking, ordering supplies and checking out customers
Performing client consultations
Scalp, neck, and facial massages
Shampooing, conditioning and hot towel treatments
Think you have what it takes to improve the way people look and feel about themselves? It’s a fast-paced, rewarding career field that needs energetic, committed barbers to keep up with increased demand. When you’re ready to grow your skills and establish yourself as a cut above the rest, contact Hollywood Institute of Beauty Careers for more information about enrolling in our upcoming coursework.