Barber Training Programs and Requirements
Like most women, men also spend time and money on getting their haircuts to look presentable and neat. In the case of men, a barber is often the person who services them. Barber training takes place in a specialized academic program where students learn the tools and tricks of the trade before becoming state licensed to practice.
Training Requirements and Recommendations
Most would-be barbers are high school graduates and at least 16 years old, but some states require applicants to be 18 or 21 years of age. Barbers, like other cosmetologists, attend special training schools and may spend up to 20 months learning the trade. After earning their certificates of completion, they may apply for state licensure. Most employers seek graduates who are reliable, have great communications skills and have excellent hand-eye coordination. Barbers should also be able to work well with others and have eyes for style. Depending on the shop, some barbers may be required to wear business attire, while other employers allow their barbers to wear jeans and t-shirts.
Barber programs are available at dedicated barber schools and some community colleges. Full-time, part-time, daytime and evening options may be available, depending on the school. A diploma or certificate of completion may be awarded at the end of the program.
Certificate of Completion in Barbering
Barber programs prepare students for state licensing by introducing them to hair cutting, facial grooming, shampooing and styling techniques. Through lectures and demonstrations, students learn to work with chemical dyes, scissors, razors, combs and clippers, as well as styling hair for children and women. The course curriculum often discusses hygiene, sanitation, chemistry, ethics, sterilization, bacteria, skin disorders and facial treatments. Because some barbers enter into business for themselves, the program also provides information about accounting, networking, customer service, consultation, management and business development.
Although training programs can prepare students for barber careers, true skill is tested behind the barber chair. Regardless of the skill level, most graduates begin at the entry level and, while building clientele, often work part-time or perform rudimentary tasks, like shampooing, cleaning instruments, washing towels and sweeping. These commission-based professionals often work weekends and typically build clientele through word-of-mouth and other marketing efforts. Because most barbershops and styling salons charge booth rental fees, graduates should try to attract clients quickly.
Licenses and Certifications
Training hours required for licensure vary by state and may range from 1,500-2,000. In addition, states vary on licensing requirements, including minimum age, prerequisite experience and educational experience. Candidates will need to complete the state application, pay the fee and take the written and practical examination of skills.
Workshops and Seminars
The world of cosmetology is ever changing and most salon owners encourage their staff to pursue continuing education courses to stay current with the newest trends and styling techniques. Hair product manufacturers typically offer seminars and workshops on how to use their products, and some state governmental offices host complimentary monthly seminars to teach about issues, such as sanitation and license violations. Some metropolitan areas have non-profit cosmetology associations that offer competitions, classes, meetings and conferences.
Additional Professional Development
Instructional videos and online classes are available for barbers to use for educational purposes. These videos and online courses are typically for licensed barbers seeking additional training on new techniques or tools. Students may find cosmetology and barber websites with discussions and stories about the industry, resources and job listings.
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