Whether you’re a salon owner or solo stylist, hair salon associations are critical ways to network, get support, learn about the latest trends in the industry, and grow your business.

National barber associations and/or professional salon organizations  (depending on what your network calls them) are full of opportunities for job leads, continuing education, license renewal information, events, and so much more. Some even have yearly conferences full of speakers, panels, and classes, so you stay updated on all the latest trends in both style and business. TLDR: Any professional hairstylist worth their salt will tell you that joining a salon or spa trade association is worth considering — hard.

Here are eight professional hair associations you should consider joining to take your salon to the next level. Plan to join at least one in 2021.

P.S. If you’re a beauty professional, spa owner, or cosmetologist, we also recently published a roundup of the best cosmetology associations!

The Best Professional Barber and Hair Salon Associations to Join in 2021

1. Best for Salon Managers: International SalonSpa Business Network (ISBN)

Do you own or manage more than one location of your spa or salon? Check out the International SalonSpa Business Network, which has two simple but essential goals: to help spas and salons grow their businesses, and to improve the professional beauty industry. 

ISBN helps you network, share industry news and information, offers discounts on everything from insurance programs to credit card transactions, and acts as a powerful lobbyist representing you in Washington. 

Finally, ISBN puts together an annual conference, billed as the only event for salon chain owners and salon managers. 

2. Best for General Networking with Salon Industry Professionals: Professional Beauty Association (PBA)

If you’re looking for a more general networking organization for salon professionals and barbers, PBA is a non-profit membership organization, with members that include licensed service professionals, manufacturers, salons, schools, cosmetology students, and distributors. Depending on your membership, you’ll get access to scholarship opportunities; a liability insurance program; a health, dental, and vision program; discounts on industry events and education; or free membership for your team.

Heads up to current cosmetology students: You can join and get extra benefits for a discounted rate during your first year of membership.

3. Best for Hair Colorists:  The Board of Certified Haircolorists (BCH)

Next up is the best organization for anyone who’s looking to establish client trust in their salon services. If you want to increase your credibility, getting board certified in hair color is a fantastic step. The Board of Certified Haircolorists works to develop criteria for certification and establish professional standards, all with the goal of leveling up the industry. Once you’re certified, you can start rolling that credential into your marketing efforts, making it clear that you’re a cut above the rest. The BCH is a great replacement to the American Board of Certified Hairstylists (ABCH) — if you’re looking for a new alternative. Here’s the press release for what’s coming.

4. Best for Salon-Related Benefits: Associated Hair Professionals

While an accident in your salon is unlikely, it’s critical that you’re insured just in case the worst happens. That’s where Associated Hair Professionals comes in.

AHP is a membership organization that provides comprehensive liability insurance and business support resources for hairstylists and barbers. Members get access to professional marketing tool kits, a business website and domain name, video instruction on the latest hair trends, a subscription to Modern Salon, partner discounts, and the liability insurance your salon needs.

5. Best Barber Organization: American Barber Association (ABA)

A membership in the American Barber Association is a surefire way to show off your professional bona fides to prospective customers. You can get certified as a professional barber or even a master barber, backing up your skills with a certification. Members also get access to a business development resource center, which can help you grow your barbershop and get more clients.

6. Best for Diversity Support: Professional Black Barbers Association

The Professional Black Barbers Association offers seminars, workshops, discounts on events, and a monthly newsletter with industry trends. Members also get the opportunity to network with other Black barbers and participate in annual awards and events.

7. Best for Beauty Schools and Beauty School Grads: American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS)

If you’re affiliated with a beauty school, chances are you can benefit from AACS, a national nonprofit open to all privately owned schools of cosmetology arts and sciences. Membership is open to the fields of cosmetology, skin, nails, barbering, and massage schools.

AACS is your destination for the latest information on cutting edge teaching methods, industry trends, events, and even federal regulatory updates. Members get access to seminars, conferences, and conventions, where networking opportunities abound. 

AACS also lobbies Congress for the rights of beauty schools and their students. AACS offers its members grant programs, exclusive health benefits, and discounted industry events, to name a few perks.

8. Best Local Salon Professional Organization: Cosmetologists Chicago® (CC)

Cosmetologists Chicago® (CC) monitors and lobbies for professional licences. CC also provides advanced education and offers scholarships. Membership gets you tons of perks, like a free ticket to America’s Beauty Show; free admission to the International Esthetics, Cosmetics, & Spa Conference; discounted rates on continuing education hours; a subscription to Modern Salon; an email newsletter with current trends and news; and even access to business advice for your salon.