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Barber Careers

Barbers are hairdressers for a primarily male clientele. They cut, style, and color hair, trim, groom, and shave facial hair, and give massages. They welcome customers, wash and condition their hair, assess the situation, and get to work.

Choosing a barber is a question of trust, and it is not a decision taken lightly. Barbers with a solid customer base not only keep up to date with the latest hair styling trends, but they also know what suits their clients best. They know when to share their opinion and when to hold back, what to discuss, and when to keep quiet.

You will need a license in your state to become a barber, the best way to obtain one is to go through technical or vocational school training. You will find plenty of hairstylist apprenticeship opportunities as well, as not everybody has numerous and patient family members to practice on without grave consequences.

What Does a Barber Do

Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists provide haircutting, hairstyling, and a range of other beauty services.

Duties

Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists typically do the following:

  • Inspect and analyze hair, skin, and scalp to recommend treatment
  • Discuss hairstyle options
  • Wash, color, lighten, and condition hair
  • Chemically change hair textures
  • Cut, dry, and style hair
  • Receive payments from clients
  • Clean and disinfect all tools and work areas

Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists provide hair and beauty services to enhance clients’ appearance. Those who operate their own barbershop or salon have managerial duties that may include hiring, supervising, and firing workers, as well as keeping business and inventory records, ordering supplies, and arranging for advertising.

Barbers cut, trim, shampoo, and style hair, mostly for male clients. They also may fit hairpieces, perform facials, and offer facial shaving. Depending on the state in which they work, some barbers are licensed to color, bleach, and highlight hair and to offer permanent-wave services. Common tools include combs, scissors, straight razors, and clippers.

Hairdressers, or hairstylists, offer a wide range of hair services, such as shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling. They often advise clients, both male and female, on how to care for their hair at home. They also keep records of products and services provided to clients, such as hair color, shampoo, conditioner, and hair treatment used. Tools include hairbrushes, scissors, blow dryers, and curling irons.

Cosmetologists provide scalp and facial treatments and makeup analysis. Some also clean and style wigs and hairpieces. In addition, most cosmetologists actively recommend professional hair care products or salon hair care products.

How To Become a Barber

All states require barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists to be licensed. To qualify for a license, candidates are required to graduate from a state-approved cosmetology program.

Education

A high school diploma or equivalent is required for some positions. In addition, every state requires that barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists complete a program in a state-licensed barber or cosmetology school. Programs in hairstyling, skin care, and other personal appearance services are available in postsecondary vocational schools.

Full-time programs in barbering and cosmetology usually last at least 9 months and may lead to an associate’s degree. Most of these workers take advanced courses in hairstyling or in other personal appearance services to keep up with the latest trends. Those who want to open their own business also may take courses in sales and marketing.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists must obtain a license in order to work. Qualifications for a license vary by state, but generally, a person must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Reached a minimum age of 16
  • Received a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Graduated from a state-licensed barber or cosmetology school

After graduating from a state-approved training program, students take a state licensing exam that includes a written test and, in some cases, a practical test of styling skills or an oral exam.

In many states, cosmetology training may be credited toward a barbering license and vice versa, and a few states combine the two licenses. A fee usually is required to apply for a license, and periodic renewals may be necessary.

Some states have reciprocity agreements that allow licensed barbers and cosmetologists to get a license in another state without needing additional formal training or state board testing, but such agreements are not common. Consequently, people who want to work in a particular state should review the laws of that state before entering a training program.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists must keep up with the latest trends and be ready to try new hairstyles for their clients.

Customer-service skills. Workers must be pleasant, friendly, and able to interact with customers in order to retain clients.

Listening skills. Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists should be good listeners. They must listen carefully to what the client wants in order to make sure that the client is happy with the result.

Physical stamina. Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists must be able to stand on their feet for long periods.

Tidiness. Workers must keep a neat personal appearance and keep their work area clean and sanitary. This requirement is necessary for the health and safety of their clients and for making clients comfortable enough so that they will want to return. 

Time-management skills. Time-management skills are important in scheduling appointments and providing services. For example, routine haircuts do not require the precise timing of some other services, such as applying neutralizer after a permanent wave. Clients who receive timely hair care are more likely to return.

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Average Salary
$33,535
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
187
Job Openings

Barber Career Paths

Top Careers Before Barber

Cashier
10.4 %
Stylist
8.3 %

Top Careers After Barber

Driver
11.7 %
Cashier
7.2 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Barber

Barbers in America make an average salary of $33,535 per year or $16 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $50,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $22,000 per year.
Average Salary
$33,535

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
West Springfield Town, MA
Salary Range40k - 71k$54k$53,598
Westerville, OH
Salary Range37k - 63k$49k$48,937
New York, NY
Salary Range28k - 51k$38k$38,205
Livingston, NJ
Salary Range28k - 50k$38k$37,950
San Leandro, CA
Salary Range28k - 49k$37k$37,075
Round Rock, TX
Salary Range27k - 46k$36k$35,937
$18k
$71k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Stylist/Barber
Stylist/Barber
Roosters Men's Grooming Center
Roosters Men's Grooming Center
03/29/2021
03/29/2021
$62,61003/29/2021
$62,610
Barber/Stylist
Barber/Stylist
Roosters Men's Grooming Center
Roosters Men's Grooming Center
03/11/2021
03/11/2021
$50,00003/11/2021
$50,000
Barber/Stylist
Barber/Stylist
Roosters Men's Grooming Center
Roosters Men's Grooming Center
03/11/2021
03/11/2021
$50,00003/11/2021
$50,000
Barber/Stylist
Barber/Stylist
Roosters Men's Grooming Center
Roosters Men's Grooming Center
03/11/2021
03/11/2021
$50,00003/11/2021
$50,000
Barber
Barber
Gulf Coast Trades Center
Gulf Coast Trades Center
03/10/2021
03/10/2021
$20,87003/10/2021
$20,870
See More Recent Salaries

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Barber Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Barber. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Barber Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Barber resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Barber Demographics

Gender

male

69.7 %

female

25.8 %

unknown

4.5 %

Ethnicity

White

65.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

21.0 %

Black or African American

8.5 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

85.5 %

French

2.3 %

Italian

2.3 %
See More Demographics

Barber Education

Majors

Business
15.3 %

Degrees

Certificate

38.2 %

High School Diploma

19.6 %

License

12.6 %
See More Education Info
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Barber

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 26.3% of barbers listed customer service on their resume, but soft skills such as creativity and customer-service skills are important as well.

  • Customer Service, 26.3%
  • Customer Base, 14.2%
  • Retail Sales, 11.1%
  • Skin Care, 10.7%
  • Scheduling Appointments, 7.5%
  • Other Skills, 30.2%
  • See All Barber Skills

Best States For a Barber

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a barber. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Barbers make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $70,431. Whereas in Rhode Island and Connecticut, they would average $54,602 and $54,189, respectively. While barbers would only make an average of $53,655 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Rhode Island

Total Barber Jobs:
1
Highest 10% Earn:
$92,000
Location Quotient:
1.27
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Connecticut

Total Barber Jobs:
4
Highest 10% Earn:
$93,000
Location Quotient:
1.86
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Ohio

Total Barber Jobs:
16
Highest 10% Earn:
$81,000
Location Quotient:
2.42
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Barber Employers

1. Great Clips
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$37,078
Barbers Hired: 
98+
2. Floyd's 99 Barbershop
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$41,206
Barbers Hired: 
38+
3. Gino Morena Enterprises
3.7
Avg. Salary: 
$31,238
Barbers Hired: 
28+
4. Navy Exchange
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$29,392
Barbers Hired: 
27+
5. Regis
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$36,451
Barbers Hired: 
16+
6. The Headliner Night Club
3.7
Avg. Salary: 
$37,254
Barbers Hired: 
11+