Aspiring barbers can choose between a cosmetology school and a barber apprenticeship, though barbers in some states can avoid training altogether. Unlike the cosmetology school, a barber apprenticeship gives you real-world experience working with actual customers. The aspiring barber learns the basics of the barber practice by receiving the direction and supervision of a licensed master barber.
Things You'll Need
- High school diploma
Reach the minimum age requirement for the state where you wish to become a barber. For example, in Maryland, the minimum age for becoming a barber is 16.
Ask a barber if she will take you on as an apprentice. In some states, the barber must send an application to a certain bureau after hiring you. Find out how long an apprenticeship takes. Some apprenticeship programs can take as long as two years.
Obtain employment at a licensed barbershop with the intention of being taught barbering. Assist the master barber, but you cannot completely perform a barber operation without the constant supervision of the master barber.
Follow all state regulations. Sometimes, a board must approve of the apprenticeship application and also verify that the master barber was approved by the board, before the apprenticeship can begin. The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology requires the master barber submit a detailed outline of the proposed training program.
Tips & Warnings
- In some instances, you can earn a full-time income while working as an apprentice, unlike at a cosmetology school where you have to pay tuition.
- When the shop owner receives tuition fees for receiving training, the shop is classified as a school and often must follow regulations enforced by higher education agencies in the state
- Some states only allow one apprentice per barbershop.
- In an apprenticeship, the master barber does not always directly teach you and you often have to ask questions when you do not know how to do something. Study the principles of barbering on your own for the state test required to obtain the license.
- A barber apprenticeship is not required to be a barber and some barbers acquire enough customers that they never feel they should get a barber’s license.
- States often have sterilization requirements. Make sure the master barber teaches you the standard procedures for sterilization.
- Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation: Apprentice License Application
- Alex Campbell: Should You Go to Barber School and Earn Your License to Become a Barber or Should You Work in a Barber Shop as an Apprentice and Earn Your License?
- Fox Valley Technical School: Barber/Cosmetologist Apprentice
- California Department of Consumer Affairs: Apprenticeship
- Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation: Barber Frequently Asked Questions
- Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
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