Barber Career



Today’s barber shops are not the sad-looking establishments from our parents’ and grandparents’ time. Today’s barber shops, in fact, are some of the hottest tickets in town for men looking for a great cut, a close shave, and some great conversation. Talented, highly skilled barbers are in demand at barbershops where old-school traditions like comfy, Italian leather barber chairs and classic surroundings (think 1920’s-style speakeasy) or at barbershops where flat-screen televisions line the walls and clients enjoy everything from a cigar bar to a stiff drink.

As the age of the barbershop continues to experience a renaissance, the demand for great barbers is expected to continue to increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that barber jobs in the U.S. will increase by 11 percent between 2012 and 2022. It’s a great time to consider entering the field of barbering, and there’s plenty of reasons why this profession may very well be a great choice for men–and women!—in the coming years.

Why a Barber Career?

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Working as a barber allows individuals to be their own boss and set their own schedules. A newcomer to the career, of course, may not enjoy these perks right away, but seasoned barbers with a great clientele have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to schedules and hours.

Motivated barbers can earn a nice living. Because barbers most often work as independent contractors (most barbers rent booth space in well-established barber shops or start their own barbershop business), the salary for these professionals can vary significantly depending on their ambition and business sense.

Barbers enjoy job security. The barber profession is increasing; therefore, job opportunities are abundant. And, because most barbers work as independent contractors, they have the option of moving to another barber shop whenever desired. This means that if the barber shop they work at is experiencing financial troubles or a lack of customers, barbers can simply move to another barber shop.

Barbers enjoy working in places with a really cool atmosphere. The barbershop atmosphere is enjoyable, not just for the men and women who frequent them but for the barbers who work there. Barbers enjoy meeting the people in their community and developing friendships, which may lead to new business opportunities. The atmosphere in barber shops is usually very laid back, which is a great alternative to high-stress business environments.

Where can Barbers Work?

Although the obvious setting for a barber is a barbershop, these personal appearance professionals may also be found in a number of other settings, such as:

Jails/Prisons: Both state and federal correctional facilities have barbers on staff. Barbers in correctional institutions are responsible for providing general barbering services to inmates/residents. Barbers in this environment are paid a salary which, according to statistics, can be quite lucrative. (A recent article reports that barbers working for Illinois state correctional institutions earn an average salary of $73,000.)

Military Bases: Military barbers are employed by the federal government to provide services to enlisted personnel.

Hospitals/Nursing Homes: Many larger hospitals, nursing homes, and medical facilities employ on-site barbers to provide services for patients who are hospitalized for an extended period.

Hotels/Spas/Resorts: Many of today’s business-oriented or luxury hotels, spas, and resorts employ barbers to provide services for their guests. Many cruise ships, for example, have barbershops that cater to cruise guests.

Barber Job Description

Barbers are educated, trained, and licensed personal appearance professionals who provide a wide variety of hair and skin services. Unlike hairdressers, barbers generally focus on traditional cuts that require precision. Men choose barbers for cuts like fades, high and tights, buzz cuts, and traditional men’s cuts, while women choose barbers for basic or shorter cuts. Therefore, employers will generally require barber job candidates to possess an extensive collection of hair cut styles in their arsenal.

The skincare services provided by barbers, which are generally focused on men, include beard and mustache trimming, face shaving, and face and scalp massage. A barber job description, though, will vary somewhat depending on the services offered by the barber shop. For example, some barber shops offer hot towel shave treatments, pore cleansing, and deluxe face treatments, while other barber shops offer the basics.

Other services offered by barbershops may include hair coloring, chemical straightening or chemical waves, and even fitting and measuring head caps for wigs or hairpieces.

Individuals may only qualify for barber jobs if they possess state licensure for the state in which they work. Employers also often seek barbers with exceptional time management skills, attention to detail, punctuality, and great communication skills.

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