How to Become a Barber

By Mary Richardson , last updated July 7, 2011

Becoming a barber requires getting a Barber diploma and passing a state exam. As a career choice, it's ideal for people who enjoy working with others and want flexibility in their work schedules. You must be at least 17 years old and have a high school diploma. Here are the steps to becoming a barber.

Find Barber School

When choosing a school, make sure it is accredited and that it offers different classes in male grooming skills. It should teach courses in shaving, trimming, cutting, shampooing, waving, bleaching, and coloring the hair and beard. The more variety, the better prepared you are to face real life barber situations. Most programs offer 1,500 hours of instruction and hands on training.

Research costs at different schools, but expect to pay a few thousand dollars. Inquire whether the school offers financial aid or payment plans.

If possible, talk to students to get their honest feedback before making a decision.

Prepare for Exam

US states require you pass a written licensing exam before you can legally work as a barber. Often the exam also includes a practical exam. Your barber school should prepare you, but ask instructors for study guides and tips.

Register for Exam

Find out when your state's licensing exam is given and register for it. Be prepared to wait several months after finishing your degree, because many states only offer the exam a few times a year. Also make sure you have official documents in order, such as proof of training and diploma. You'll need these to fill out application forms and permit requests. Expect to pay $25 to $50 in paperwork fees.

Prepare yourself and do well on exam day. After passing the exam, you'll get your Barber license in a few weeks.

Find a Job

Inquire at your Barber school for job leads and look for listings in the newspaper or online. If you're planning to work in your home, submit necessary work permit and business license forms.

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