There are hundreds, if not thousands of careers out there, and when you’re looking for a career that allows you to be creative, technical, precise and work with people, barbering could be exactly what you’re looking for. Barbers cut and style the hair on the head and on the face of men. You’ll work with people from all walks of life, and you get the choice whether you want to work for yourself or be employed directly by a barber shop.
In recent years, the barbering profession has been ramping up in popularity again thanks to the constant rise in demand. This has brought about a steady stream of employment opportunities, with salons and existing barbershops offering internships and other training programmes to those interested in becoming a barber. It’s not easy to find a creative job with a solid income, especially in male haircare. However, as a barber, you get the chance to have just that.
Why should I choose barbering?
Considering that there has been some growth in seeing barber shops opening on the high street, you’re choosing a career path that has many opportunities to grow. It’s a career that gives you some creative licence for what you’re doing and as the industry is moving at such a rapid pace, you need to be enthusiastic about what you’re doing. A willingness to learn new things wouldn’t hurt, either, and you need to be presentable in both your appearance and the way that you deal with people.
Where should I start?
Research. The best place to start with this profession is doing your research. Go and visit various barber shops in your area and get a first-hand look of what the environment is like to work in. Make sure that you bring with you a pen and paper so that you can take notes on what you’ve seen, and you can also make a list of the duties that a barber performs. You shouldn’t commit to a career choice until you’ve seen it for yourself; rose-tinted glasses have no place in your future when it’s this important.
What qualifications do I need?
It doesn’t matter what state you are in, you are required to be licensed. Employers will want to know that you have a certificate and you are a great communicator in both listening and speaking. Some establishments will require you to have a high school diploma and every place you ask will need you to have completed a programme at either a barber shop that is state-licensed, or in cosmetology school. You can go deeper and study skincare, hairstyling and personal appearance services, too, which can only increase your employability. Some of these programmes aren’t a huge expense whereas others can run into a few thousand. It’s really going to depend on how far you want to go with your career choice; going the distance gives you more of a shot at being the best barber possible.
Have a conversation.
While you’re in the different barber shops, have a chat with some of the barbers at various levels. Those who are currently training can give you some ideas on where you can get started and whether the barber shop they work in are looking for new applicants. Those who have been in the profession longer can talk to you about what life looks like each day for a barber. You can talk to them about the qualifications that you would need, any difficulties that he came across in the time he was training and beyond and are there any tricks of the trade you should know before starting out.
Know your limits.
Barbering is not just about cutting hair or providing a shave. You need to have a level of artistry to what you can do; you’re more than a pair of hair clippers in this job. It’s important to work out your physical limits because there is a lot of being on your feet all day. You’ll need to maintain precision and skill while you’re on the job, and it can be tiring.
How long will it take to be a barber?
A barber usually needs a year or two of training and experience, both on the job and working as a trainee. You need to be at last 16 years old and you need to be dependable it’s a role that is high demand with many people visiting you each day. The ability to be able to keep up with that is important and you will be expected to wear a smile from morning until night. You may be trained on certain software for scheduling appointments, so you need to be open to learning new things!
So, what now?
Once you’ve completed your training and you have scouted out a few barber shops to get an idea of what to expect in the workplace, you need to think about your next steps. There are a few routes that you can take as a new barber, and these could be:
Renting a chair in a barber shop and generating your own client list.
Working within a barber shop for a commission and salary.
Contracting yourself with a spa or beauty salon that deals with skin and haircare for men and women.
Open your own barber shop business.
Once you’ve qualified as a barber, your education doesn’t end there. Design and beauty trends are constantly changing, which means you will be constantly learning and attending courses to sharpen your skills and add more qualification strings to your barber shop bow. You’ll need to learn about insuring yourself as a self-employed barber, what it would take to own and run your own business and you could even take some skills courses on how to deal with people. The world really opens up for you the more that you choose to learn, and when you want to know how to be a barber, you need to go as deeply into the research as you can.