If you’re thinking about becoming a barber, you’ve probably already asked yourself a few important questions:

  • How long is barber school?
  • How much does it cost?
  • How much money do barbers make?

Which makes sense. Becoming a barber takes both time and money, and there’s a lot to consider before you start your journey.

To help answer the big questions, we put together The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Barber. With barber school resources, license costs, and salary info all here in one place, you’ll be on your way to becoming a barber in no time!

Everything You Need to Know to Become a Barber

Barber School FAQs

Are there barber school requirements?

Before you receive a barber license, you’ll need to complete some kind of barber program — which could either be from a dedicated barber school or a local community college.

The good news is… the requirements to begin barber school are pretty basic. Here’s the list:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have a high school diploma (or equivalent)
  • Pass a background check (varies state by state)

How much is barber school?

Different states have different requirements and regulations that students need to fulfill, so tuition varies by state. With that said, tuition can range anywhere from $2,000 to $16,000

This is due to several factors, such as training hours. The more training hours required by the state, the more expensive the tuition will be. Also, barber programs in larger urban cities tend to have a higher tuition. 

Pro tip: Looking for the right barber school for you? Check out College Gazette’s list of the best barber schools in the US!

How long is barber school?

Barber school consists of classroom instruction, practical hours and supervised training. You’ll cover everything from coloring, styling, shaving, to skin and nail care.

This all typically amounts to 1,500–2,000 hours, or one to two years.

Can you become a barber without going to school?

While you don’t need a college degree to become a barber, you do have to get licensed. Licensing requirements vary in each state, but most require a completed barbering or cosmetology program. Some even require an apprenticeship with an experienced barber.

How to Get a Barber License

What are the licensing requirements?

After you’ve finished your barber program, you’re ready to apply for a license from your state. Again, the state you’re in may have different requirements, but the typical prerequisites are…

  • Proof of age
  • High school diploma (or equivalent)
  • Proof of program completion
  • Completion of training hours

With these in place, it’s time to take the state licensing exam

The National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology is in charge of the National Barber Examination. For the test, be prepared for both theory and practice: a written exam covering the theory you learned and a practical exam to test your hands-on skills.

Some states add their own portion to the exam, or create their own exam altogether; though this is rare. It’s possible “because some states have a single license to become a barber or a cosmetologist, while others have kept them separate.”

How much is a barber license?

The exam fee for a barber license averages anywhere from $150–$200, which you’ll pay to the state licensing board at the time of the test.

How Much Does a Barber Make?

If you’re interested in becoming a barber, you have a love for the craft, but you still need to make a living, right?

Let’s talk salary and average hourly wages.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean hourly wage for barbers is $14.65/hour — with those near the top making $23.31/hour. 

This translates to a mean yearly wage of $30,480 — with those on the higher end, like master barbers with at least seven years of experience, topping out at $48,480. 

The good news is there’s plenty of opportunities to create a side hustle. Many barbers also become educators, influencers, and product ambassadors to earn a little extra cash.

What Kind of Money-Maker Are You?

Let’s talk money, honey! Spend it, save it, hustle for it.

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How Much Does It Cost to Run a Barber Business?

When it comes to running your own barbershop, there are several costs to keep in mind, such as lease or mortgage, utilities, inventory, tools, and insurance. If your barbershop is ready to expand, you’ll need to include staffing costs.

Taking a look at the big picture, the average cost of opening up a barber shop is $13,000, though startup costs can range anywhere from $4,000 to $50,000, depending on the size of your space and location.

How much does it cost to rent a barber shop?

Taking the plunge to rent your own barber shop is a big step, so it’s wise to consider your finances before renting out a space.

Depending on your city and the size of your location, rent can vary from $10/sq. ft. to $25/sq. ft.  

What about utilities?

Utilities can easily be a forgotten expense when starting your own barber business, so it’s important to research average utility costs in your area. 

As far as nationwide averages go, the average utility costs for barbers is $200/month — with the low coming in at $45/month and the high end topping out at $550/month. 

How much do products cost?

Products and barber tools are another important expense to consider when starting your own barbering business. A well-stocked toolkit includes shears, clippers, shave gel, brushes, blow dryers, shampoo, and – of course – any products you want to sell in-store. 

While your monthly costs will vary based on demand, most barber shops spend around $500/month on their professional products.

How much does it cost to rent a barber chair or booth?

If you’re not ready to run your own barbershop or rent out your own space, chair rental (also known as booth rental) is a great way to build your new business from scratch and grow your client list.

With the chair or booth rental option, you still run your own business by renting a chair in an existing shop. This means your earnings are your earnings — with no boss to report to. 

The cost? Chair rental rates start at $100/week and go up from there, depending on your location and the size of the shop. (Renting a prime location in a major city could run up to $300-$400 per week.)