How to Become a Barber

What Do I Really Need

Have you decided to get a career as a barber? Knowing how to do basic haircuts and dealing with a scraggly beard is not enough. You also need the following:


Typically, you will first need to gain your high school diploma. This is the minimum requirement for enrolling in most barber training schools/programs.

One advantage of attending a state-approved training program for barbers is that it helps you attain a license for operating your barbershop. You will learn the basics, such as how to soften a beard, cheap beard oil substitutes, basic beard trimming, and more.


As mentioned above, you can enter a barbers’ training program for theory and some practical lessons. However, you can gain even more knowledge if you go into an apprenticeship before heading off on your own.

Many professional barber shops offer apprenticeship programs for fledgling barbers. Some even suggest it without prior training. Another nice thing about being an apprentice first is getting hands-on training in dealing with customers.

In addition, you will have familiarization with essential barber shop tools like a beard trimmer and experience professional working conditions.


Even after you complete your training program and/or apprenticeship, you still have to apply for a state working license to ply your trade. It is also necessary to pass a state-held licensure exam involving a written and practical test.

3 Different Ways

Barber Diploma/Certification

This is the usual path to becoming a professional barber. After finishing high school or earning your GED, you can enroll in a barber’s training course and get your certificate of completion.

Cosmetology Degree

If you already have a cosmetology degree but want to branch out into becoming a barber, you usually do not require further training. Some states allow cosmetology degree holders to take the barber’s licensure exam without additional training.

Online Course

Because barber training requires quite a lot of practical experience for completion, there are not that many online courses that you can choose from. Despite that, you can still enroll in one and learn something about how to become a good barber.

However, most states require that you complete a certain number of practical working hours to earn a license. This means you cannot just rely on an online course. It would be better to look at an online course as a supplementary source of knowledge.

Straight Razor and Scissors Around Bearded Man's Face

Required Skills

Just knowing how to cut hair does not make you a barber. It is also crucial to learn other essential skills that are pertinent to the trade. Among them are the following:


No two customers will want the same thing, and their hair will also be unique to themselves. That said, you have to be detail-oriented. In other words, you should observe and pick up important information that will lead to customer satisfaction.

Customer Service

Barber shops are service-oriented businesses, and you are expected to provide excellent customer service. Learn how to schedule appointments and cater to walk-in customers. Make sure that all of them are treated well.


You will need excellent communication skills when you are in a service-oriented industry. Knowing how to communicate properly means you can convey your thoughts well and learn how to listen to your customers.

For instance, let’s say your client wants suggestions for beard styles without mustaches. In that case, you can suggest a corporate beard or go bald with a beard, depending on what you observe about him.

Time Management

A successful barber shop will have a constant influx of people, so time management is an essential skill for a professional barber. As mentioned earlier, you should know how to schedule appointments and manage walk-in customers.

You will be quickly overwhelmed if you do not know how to manage your time wisely.

How to Become a Barber

Step 1 – Get an education

The minimum requirement for becoming a professional barber is to get a high school diploma or a GED.

Step 2 – Get trained

You can receive professional training by enrolling in a state-accredited training program. Alternatively, you can get an apprenticeship at your local barber shop if they offer it.

Step 3 – Get your license

To become a professional barber, most states require you to get a license before you can practice. Once you have a license, you are now a full-fledged barber.

Tattooed and Bearded Barber With a Hat Holding Scissors


Is becoming a barber worth it?

It is. The average salary for a barber is around $43k annually, but if you are working in a popular and busy shop, your potential income could triple.

How long does it take to become a barber?

To receive your barber’s training certificate/diploma, you should finish around 1,500 hours, roughly 10 months. After that, you can take your licensure exam right away if you want.

How much does it cost to become a barber?

A reputable barber school typically charges between $10,000 to $20,000 for the entire course. On the other hand, if you are lucky enough to land an apprenticeship, there is no need to pay anything.

You will also be earning a wage all the while. With barber tipping, you might make a decent amount if you are good.

How to get your barber license?

Finish a barber’s training course or a barber’s apprenticeship first. Once you have a certificate of completion, you can head to the licensing office.


If you have a passion for cutting and styling hair and want to earn a decent living, you should shift over to becoming a professional barber. The requirements for being a barber are not that strict. However, you should be willing to undergo proper training.

Getting a bit of practical experience is also crucial, so you can further master this craft.

Vinnie - Barber

About the author: Vinnie – Barber

Vinnie is one of the members of the Beardoholic writers team. He’s also a barber and hairstylist for 15 years now and he has a kick-ass beard of his own, so he surely knows what makes a magnificent beard and hair and how to achieve them. He’s our go-to guy for all the latest beard and hairstyle trends and he always has a tip or two on how to grow and style a thick beard fast.

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