Become a Master Barber: Education and Career Roadmap
Learn how to become a master barber. Research the education and career requirements, licensure and experience required for starting a career as a master barber.
Master Barber Requirements
Barbers cut and trim hair and beards, often for male clients. However, some may perform additional duties, such as coloring and shampooing hair and giving scalp massages. Barbers can receive a master designation from the state; this requires individuals to meet certain education and licensing requirements. Master barbers are the highest level of barbers, and while specific qualifications may vary by state, prospective master barbers will need to complete a barbering school, obtain the requisite experience and pass examinations. The table below includes the requirements to become a master barber.
|Degree Level||Training program, certificate or diploma|
|Licensure||State licensure is required for barbers in all states; licensure for master barbers varies by state|
|Experience||Individual states typically require you to complete a minimum amount of work experience before you can become eligible to sit for a master barber examination, could be up to 1,500 hours**|
|Key Skills||Stamina, customer-service and creativity*|
|Additional Requirements||Some employers may require individuals to pass a background check; prospective barbers must be able to bend and stoop, lift 40 pounds and have strong interpersonal skills***|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance; ***Job Postings from Monster.com (July 2012).
Step 1: Complete a Barbering Program
Prospective barbers must first complete a barbering program, where they will learn about cutting hair and shaving beards. They may also include instruction in elements of cosmetology. Barbering programs will combine both classroom study with hair cutting experience. Courses may be offered in the day or evening to accommodate individuals who need a flexible schedule. Courses will cover areas involving clipper cutting, facial massage, hygiene, sterilization and sanitation, scissors-over-comb techniques and shaving. The program will also prepare students for job interviews and state licensure as a barber.
- Check licensure requirements. Before applying to any barbering school, check with the state board to ensure that any licensing requirements will be met upon graduation.
Step 2: Participate in an Apprenticeship
Some states will require that individuals complete a barbering apprenticeship before becoming a master barber. An apprenticeship offers aspiring master barbers a chance to work and learn under a master barber and begin cutting hair and working with clients. Some states may require you to satisfy a minimum number of hours, while other states may require you to work for a minimum number of years.
Step 3: Pass Licensing Exams
In order to become licensed and earn the master barber designation, individuals may have to complete several examinations. For example, Minnesota requires that barbers pass a written, oral and practical examination. Individuals must achieve at least 75% on each exam, and in addition to cutting hair, must have knowledge of state barber statues and laws.
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