How to become a barber & how much they earn

Written by: Hannah Tree
Published on: 18 Oct 2019

How to Become a Barber

Barber’s are responsible for cutting and styling men’s hair and beards using various tools such as hair clippers and trimmers, scissors, razors, and hair care, beard and shaving products.

Barbering can be a rewarding and satisfying career in many senses, be it pleasing your clients, having an element of creativity and benefiting financially.

As trends in male grooming continue to evolve as a result of social media and the need to look ‘Instagram’ ready at all times, its no surprise that barbershops have become the fastest growing shops on the high street. And with that comes a greater requirement for barbers in the industry. So if you’re looking to become a barber, you’ll be in hot demand.

There are many different routes you can take to becoming a barber each suitable to different individuals depending on their preferred learning style, the time they have available to train and accessibility.

To become a qualified barber the minimum qualification will need to be equivalent to a level 2 National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Barbering accredited by the Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT).

You can obtain this qualification in several ways. We have compiled a guide to the most common routes to barbering and how much you can expect to earn in the profession.

  1. Private Courses

  2. Further Education

  3. Apprenticeship

Private Barbering Courses

Many educational providers offer private barbering courses which on average last between 1 to 3 months dependent on the course you opt for.

Short courses which are approximately 6-8 weeks long are ideal beginner courses for those looking to gain a basic understanding of Barbering. Although you won’t achieve an NVQ qualification or equivalent, its perfect to grasp an understanding of whether barbering is the career for you before you progress onto longer diplomas & NVQ barbering courses.

Private educational providers also offer longer, more intense courses which would be suitable for those looking to achieve an NVQ qualification or level 3 certificate. These courses typically last between 9-12 weeks. With a level 3 certificate, you will be a work-ready Barber, however, with an NVQ Level 2 certificate, you will receive an internationally recognised barbering qualification as well as be a work-ready barber.

How much do private barbering courses cost?

The cost of private barbering courses can vary depending on the educational provider, the length of the course and the qualification you’ll receive at the end of it.

Private barbering courses are more expensive than further education. This is because of the additional benefits you’ll receive; smaller classes, more one-to-one training and support, skilled teachers and trainers, and more hands-on practice.

On average, you can expect to pay between £2,000 and £6,000. to complete a barbering course. Although an expensive investment, you can expect to make this cost back within a few months of working as a qualified barber.

Further Education College

A Barbering course at a further education college will take at least 1 to 2 years to complete and is available to students aged 16 and above.

Further education courses are an alternative to A-Level and will allow students to obtain an NVQ certificate in barbering.

Learning on a further education course will involve a mixture of theory-based learning and hands-on practical training. In comparison to a private course or apprenticeship, you can expect there to be less hands-on time and more theory-based learning.

How much do Further Education Courses Cost?

Such courses are free for students aged 16 to 18; if you are 19 or over there may be a cost involved. You can check with your preferred educational provider for specific costs.


A barbering apprenticeship usually takes between 2 to 3 years to complete and is most common among 16-18-year-olds who have just completed their GCSEs.

Similarly, apprenticeships are a popular alternative to A Levels and provide students with the opportunity to gain real-world training while they learn and achieve a nationally recognised qualification.

In order to embark on an apprenticeship, you’ll need to find a college that offers barber apprenticeships and a barbershop willing to take on an apprentice.

How much do apprentices earn?

If you decide an apprenticeship is right for you, you won’t have to pay for this qualification and will also be paid by your employer. The wage apprentices are entitled to depend on your age and the length of apprenticeship you are undertaking.

The current minimum wage for an apprentice is £3.90 per hour as of 1st April 2019. This is applicable to apprentices who are 19 and under or those who are in their first year.

If you are 19 or over and have completed your first year you must be paid at least the minimum wage for your age. The National Living Wage by age is as follows:

£3.90 per hour for apprentices aged 19 or under in their first year.

£4.35 per hour for 16-17-year-olds

£6.15 per hour for 18-20-year-olds

£7.70 per hour for 21-24-year-olds

£8.21 per hour for 25-year-olds and over

As an apprentice, you will be paid for your normal working hours and the training which is a compulsory part of your apprenticeship.

Regardless of the route you decide to take to become a barber, it’s important you have barber insurance in place both as a student in training, a qualified freelance or mobile barber and as a barbershop owner.

Barber insurance ensures you are protected in case something goes wrong. As you’re working in close proximity to your clients with sharp tools such as scissors, trimmers and clippers, comprehensive insurance will protect you if a client makes a claim against you.

How Much Do Barbers Earn

How much you earn as a barber will depend on your experience and the hours you complete a week.

For example, as a junior barber, you can expect to earn between £40-£60 per day. Depending on how many days a week you work, this could be equivalent to £18,000 to £24,000 annual salary.

For more experienced barbers you can expect the daily pay and annual salary is significantly more than this, for example, anywhere between £60 to £200 depending on your experienced and where you are based.

Knowing which route to take to becoming a barber can be a difficult decision to make. Follow our guide to help kick start your barbering career.

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