Some men choose to visit salons in today’s society, but most still head to the local barber for a trim and maybe even a shave. The barber profession has been around for a long time, providing hair services and shaves for men. Although it has evolved over time, including no longer doubling as a surgeon, it remains a lucrative career opportunity. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median pay for barbers was $22,770 a year, with a 13 percent growth expected.
To become a barber, you have to undergo a state-approved program and pass the license exam. You can find barber colleges and schools that are stand alone or exist as part of a larger cosmetology school. Although every program will have its own unique curriculum, it typically covers the same basic concepts.
What is the Difference Between Barber School and Cosmetology School?
The biggest difference between barber school and cosmetology school is that barber programs focus on men’s hair and facial hair. The programs are more specifically geared towards learning to cut, trim and style men’s hair and work on facial hair, including providing shaving services. An education at a cosmetology school provides training for servicing both men and women, and may also include education on hair, nails, makeup, and skin care techniques. If you attend a barber school, you will only be able to work on men’s hair and facial hair. Alternatively, you will be able to have a more varied clientele and job if you go to cosmetology school.
Cut, Trim, and Style Men’s Hair
One of the main features of a barber school curriculum will be training you in how to properly cut, trim, and style men’s hair. You will also learn how to treat the hair, including proper techniques for shampooing and conditioning. You will learn the correct way to use the different tools, including razors, scissors, and trimmers.
Women are not the only ones who choose to dye their hair. Therefore, one important feature of a barber program will be learning how to properly bleach, dye, and lighten hair, including the chemical processes. You will also learn how to safely and properly relax hair.
One of the biggest differences between training at a cosmetology school and barber school is learning how to take care of facial hair, including treating, dying, cutting, trimming, shaping, relaxing, and otherwise working on the facial hair.
The Art of the Shave
A good shave is an important art requiring professional training, according to Barber Schools.Org. That is why a significant portion of the program that covers facial hair techniques focuses on the different types of shaving, including using a straight razor and performing a traditional foam shave. It takes training and skill to perform the perfect shave with a straight razor.
Health and Safety
One of the most important things you have to learn in order to pass your state license exam is health and safety. As a barber, you will have to handle potentially hazardous chemicals. Therefore, you have to learn how to properly handle them to keep you and your clients safe. You also have to learn proper sanitization techniques to avoid spreading diseases.
Other Important Information
Some schools are tied into cosmetology schools, so you may also learn hairstyling and scalp treatments in addition to the regular curriculum. You may also take courses in fitting artificial hair, wigs, and toupees. Other schools may require courses in basic anatomy and bacteriology, as well as basic business management.
Every state has different requirements, but most have a minimum of 1500 hours of training before you can sit for the exam. This typically takes around 9 months to a year of full time enrollment to complete. During this time, you will learn the most important skills and techniques to become a successful barber.