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How Much Does Barbering School Cost?

Barbering School Prices

Barbers are licensed professionals who have been trained to provide hair and skin services tailored mostly towards men. Skills learned at barbering school include shampooing, cutting, styling, coloring, and blow-drying hair as well as performing steam facials, foam shaves, scalp and facial massages, and facial hair grooming. Barber programs should also offer instruction in other essential areas like sanitation and hygiene, client interaction, study of the hair, skin, and scalp, and basic women's haircutting. Shop management training may be a part of some programs.

Barber School Considerations

Here's what prospective barbers should know before choosing a barbering program and pursuing a state license:

Salary and Job Outlook

As of May 2012, barbers earned a median hourly wage of $12.06 and a median annual wage of $25,090 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The Bureau expects the growth rate for barbers to increase 7% between 2010 and 2020, a rate that is half as fast as all other professions (14%). Students shouldn't be discouraged by this figure, however, as overall job opportunities for barbers are expected to be good thanks to a growing population's increasing demand for hair services. Learn more about barbering prospects and becoming a barber by reading the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Job Requirements

With the exception of Alabama (which offers cosmetology licensing only), all states require barbers to be licensed. In order to obtain a license, students must complete a state-accredited barber program, which is offered by both barber schools and cosmetology schools. Some states allow barber license reciprocity.

The length of most accredited programs is 1,000 to 1,800 (clock) hours. Some states allow licensing via an apprenticeship under a master barber (rather than school training). Compared to school licensing, apprenticeship licensing typically requires a greater time commitment.

Most states additionally require barbers be at least 16 years old and have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. A license is granted once the state licensing exam is passed. Visit the website of the National Association of Barber Boards of America to view a state-by-state listing of barber boards.

Barbering School Costs

  • Expect to pay at least $3,000 to $6,000 in tuition and fees and as much as $7,500 to $15,000 in tuition and fees to complete a barber training program. Community colleges tend to have lower costs, especially for in-state students. Private barbering schools/programs are generally more expensive.
  • Budget $500 to $2,000 for books and supplies.
  • Barber exam and licensure fees vary by state but generally cost $120 to $200 (combined).
  • Biennial renewal fees cost approximately $50 to $100.
  • Some barbering schools participate in federal financial aid programs and. Contact the financial aid office of individual schools to find out what they offer. Pell grants (which don't have to be repaid) and private grants/scholarships are also available.

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