Can anyone recommend a good school to become a barber?
April 2, 2013 3:23 PM   Subscribe

I have been looking online for advice and recommendations regarding training to become a classic barber. Can anyone recommend a school that has barbering as it's primary focus? I am not interested in a cosmetology school that also teaches the skills necessary to work in a barbershop, or learning from a teacher who cuts and styles women's hair but also does men's hair. Is there a good place to learn and master the skills associated with the classic barbershop (clippers, scissors, straight razor, etc.), from a teacher who specializes in these skills exclusively?

Having gone online, there doesn't appear to be any objective reviews or clear details regarding the actual skills taught at most schools claiming to be barbers colleges. Most of these schools seem to be cosmetology schools, which is fine, but as I stated above, I have no interest in learning from a teacher who is outside their specific realm of expertise.
posted by maleru to Education (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Where do you live? The licensing requirements vary from state to state, which is why those schools teach all that stuff.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:38 PM on April 2, 2013

This probably doesn't really help, but thinking back to my various good barbers over the years, many were trained in the military. The three guys who've owned the local barbershop in my neighborhood were all trained in the Army.
posted by lstanley at 3:48 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also, unlike many other professions, if you get licensed in one state (after a thousand hours of training time in many cases), I don't think your certification is transferable to another state.
posted by tapir-whorf at 3:49 PM on April 2, 2013

One of the best barbers I ever had learned everything he knew in prison. All the other good ones I've had were trained in the Army (as per lstanley).
posted by KingEdRa at 3:55 PM on April 2, 2013

Go to a barbershop you like at a time when it's not busy and ask if they can talk to you about how they learned to be barbers. As others have noted, licensing requirements can be very strict, so it may not make economic sense for a school to teach only barbering.
posted by rtha at 4:57 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

(Knowing your location would help.) You might try searching for "barber college".
posted by Lexica at 6:26 PM on April 2, 2013

This doesn't exactly map to your question, but it may be relevant -- YMMV. I had a related question (just out of curiosity) and I asked my stylist, who owns her own salon. She told me that she learned nothing about the aesthetics of hairstyling in barber college (yes, some stylists go to barber college; it doesn't necessarily mean what it sounds like it means), and that when she hires a stylist/barber/cosmetologist newly out of school, she trains them from scratch (and indeed, all of the stylists in her salon have a similar aesthetic). According to her, the curricula of barber and/or cosmetology colleges are aimed at getting people qualified for licensure, and all the rest comes from on-the-job training (and sometimes, seminars aimed at licensed barbers/cosmetologists).
posted by Wordwoman at 7:56 PM on April 2, 2013

and all the rest comes from on-the-job training

Which may be connected to the two responses, above, regarding "trained in the Army".
posted by John Borrowman at 9:17 AM on April 3, 2013

Best answer: Working at various trade associations for very odd who-knew-they-had-a-lobbyist-for-that associations, I just tried Googling around a bit to see if there is some sort of national trade association for barbers.

I came across the National Association of Barber Boards of America:

The National Association of Barber Boards of America was formed in 1926 as a national organization dedicated to appointed State Board Members, officers and administrators. Related industry partners are encouraged to join the National Association of Barber Boards. Presently we have over 110 active members that work to maintain the barber professional standards and policies of the barber and hair care industry.

posted by forkisbetter at 9:59 AM on April 3, 2013

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