Qualifications for becoming a barber

Written by melissa cooper
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Qualifications for becoming a barber
The barber pole is the classic symbol of the barber shop. (Getty Images)

Barbers once served more functions than we might possibly imagine, additionally acting as surgeons and dentists. The famous barber poles once indicated that the barber was available for bloodletting. Even though those days of testing the barber's multiple mettles have passed, their profession still dictates that they achieve the appropriate education and skills to provide hair and beard care services in the form of shampoo, haircuts, shaves and styling, typically for male clients, according to EduChoices.

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Education and age requirements

You can go to college to learn to be a barber, studying towards a level 2 certificate/diploma in barbering (formally an NVQ). You could also work towards a level 3 qualification, such as the certificate/diploma in hairdressing. The prospective barber should seek specialised training to learn the most up to date techniques, equipment and means of using the equipment. The barber must be at least 16 years old.

Apprenticeship or on the job training

Though this is an uncommon route for a barber, he may learn his trade through an apprenticeship with an established barber shop or study towards a qualification while working as a trainee. Barbers may perform an apprenticeship after they complete their educational requirements so they can implement their education and learn more about specific techniques and tools used in a particular shop.

Local registration

Barbers need to be registered with their local council to work in a barber shop. The cost of this can vary by location, and it's also worth learning about local bye-laws which may affect the business. Both the premises and the barber need to be registered, but one barber and a location are often covered by a single fee, with a smaller amount for additional barbers.

Interpersonal and communication skills

The barber deals with clients all day and needs to have the proper skills to put their clients at ease while they cut their hair or trim their beard to assure that they will have repeat business and good word of mouth. This skill is usually a part of the barber school training, but it should be practised each day.

Maintain good fitness

The barber stands on his feet each day for several hours at a time, constantly moving, so he should maintain good health to ward off back pain and general fatigue.

Maintain good appearance and a clean work area

The barber wants his clients to feel confident that their barber has pride in his own appearance so that he will have pride in their appearance. By remaining well-kempt and keeping a clean work area, the barber conveys the barber's work ethic and philosophy to the client.

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