Barbers: Average Salary of a Barber

Published Sep 06, 2009

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If you like styling men's hair and would be interested in being self-employed, consider a career as a Barber. Little formal education is required and the pay can be modest at first. However, those with experience and talent have higher earning potential. Read on to find out more about Barbers' careers and salary information.

Barber Career Summary

Barbers provide hair care services, typically to male clients. They cut, shave, trim, shampoo and style hair, give facial treatments and fit hairpieces. Some Barbers are trained to color hair or give permanents. Almost half of all Barbers and other personal care workers are self-employed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov. These Barbers either own their own shop or rent a chair from another Barber shop owner. A small number of Barbers work for psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, local governments or trade schools.

Barbers need a state license to work in their profession. Most states require Barbers to complete a state-licensed training program and pass a licensing exam. Barber training programs are offered at vocational schools and many community colleges. These programs provide training in hair cutting, styling techniques and customer service. Some offer small business management training. Program time frames vary; however, a full-time program might last nine months. Some programs lead to associate's degrees.

Barber Career Outlook and Salary Information

Personal appearance workers, including Barbers, can expect job growth at the rate of 14% between 2006 and 2016, according to the BLS. Growth is attributed largely to the growing population and the increased emphasis on personal care. Barbers might not see as much growth as the rest of the industry, however. Salons catering to both men and women are luring customers away from traditional Barber shops. Barbers with experience in providing a wider range of services may have an advantage competing for positions at higher paying shops.

Median annual salaries for Barbers were $24,050 as of May 2008, according to the BLS. The bottom 10 percent earned $15,720 on average, while the top ten percent earned over $40,500. The vast majority of Barbers are employed in the personal care services industry, where median annual salaries were reported at $26,480. Technical and trade schools reported the highest average salaries at $35,890 followed by local governments at $33,510 annually.

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