Becoming a barber usually requires attending a barbers’ training academy. This learning institution differs depending on the area you want to be trained in. But most barbers undertake some type of vocational barber training to earn a certificate, a diploma, or a license to work as professional barbers. Some schools offer a cosmetology degree with a specialty in barbering, while others specialise strictly in barbering. In parallel, you will need to study as an apprentice and build your client base to start working on your own barbershop business.
If you like to know how to become a barber in Australia, look no further than the guidance we have prepared for you.
Keeping Up With the Job Trends
Barbers are in-demand professionals that need to have a specific set of hairstyling skills and knowledge. They also have a strong understanding of beard, moustache, and other facial hair grooming techniques. On top of being masterful with the hair, you need to possess a remarkable set of interpersonal skills to maintain good client relationships. In case you want to open your own shop, you also need to be able to work independently and be your own boss. Self-motivation, personal responsibility, and entrepreneurial skills are crucial to develop a good name for your business.
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Another skill you may want to add to your list is social media marketing. Beauty salons and barbershops heavily rely on social media influence. Many barbers rely solely on apps like Instagram to book appointments. They also obviously do a great job and receive a good word of mouth from loyal clients. A business social media account will showcase your mastery to the world and bring in new work.
Benefits of Working as a Barber
Most barbers were driven into becoming one by the rewarding job and creativity. Others like the business independency, and being able to create unique social communities, where hanging out becomes so much more than just a shave and a haircut.
Besides being good with people, you need to be prepared to work long hours, over the weekend, and during holidays. Some of the most important events in need of barber skills happen when everyone else is resting or partying. But you can also benefit from the flexible hours as you can delegate and share part of the job tasks to colleagues. If you decide to rent a chair, you will be able to set your own hours and come and go as you please. Barber’s pay depends on skills and experience. Novices can earn from around $20 an hour, while long-standing pros can earn over $90,000 a year. As an apprentice, expect to start at the bottom of the barrel until you get into your final years.
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How to Become a Barber in Australia: 3 Steps to Successful Certification
There are a few steps you need to take to become a successful barber and eventually run your own shop. Like most great things, it takes time, perseverance and study. It’s important to set goals on what you’d like to achieve to really make the most of a certification. It all starts with obtaining some type of qualification.
1. Obtain a Certificate III in Barbering
Depending on where you live and your preferred schooling method, you need to undertake formal training. Either on-campus and/or online classes to earn your certificate, you can find a method of study to best suit you. Some colleges offer weekly-based programs, starting from 29 to 35 weeks. Others provide a 12-month training schedule and even a year and a half long training that will include sales and technical skills. If you want to study part-time, the studies may take as long as 3 years. You may be able to attend studies only on specific days in the week, as well as an upgrade to a new certificate. E.g. A certificate III in Hairdressing. Usually, you must be at least 17 to start the training or 16, for the non-apprenticeship study mode.
The study curricula for barbers include various hairdressing and men’s grooming techniques. There are mandatory and facultative study units. You will learn about:
- Shampoo and basin techniques
- Scalp and hair massage services
- Dry haircuts, classic scissor and over-comb techniques
- Beard and moustache shaping, trimming and designing
- Hair colouring
- Ordering supplies
- Giving recommendations and advice
- Salon management skills
Studies are not cheap – the average tuition is $9,073 – but it will be worthwhile in the long run. You could also look for barbering scholarships to support your study costs, offered by several Australian universities, for example, the Victoria University in Melbourne. You can look for other cosmetology or beauty salon scholarships online before you enrol into training. Some TAFE courses also offer student loan plans to help with costs.
2. Do apprentice work
Apprenticeships should be a part of the formal training as it is the best way to sense the job in all its glamour and get used to its downsides. By regularly practising with real clients, you will build up the knowledge, skills, experience, and not only earn a certificate but also be able to do your job with confidence.
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It is important to know that it is not mandatory to start studying at an academy and then do the apprenticeship. Some training academies do the full course as apprentice-type studies, which means you will be in a live environment and trained by industry professionals. Many schools offer formal studies as supplemental to practice, which means that informal training counts. However, if you want to do licensed work, it is important to get certified.
3. Find a job or open your own barbershop
Networking and improving your social presence on the local barbershop scene can start as early as you begin training. Since you will be among industry professionals, you can develop contacts that can support you when finding a job. Alternatively, you can always do your own research in local barbershops or try online job platforms.
The path to becoming your own barber boss is a bit more complicated as you will need to invest in a salon or a barbershop. A barbershop includes extra investments for registration, licensing, shop equipment and regular supplies, extra staff, insurance, and rent. All these factors need to be taken into account and the costs for them can amount to at least several thousand dollars initially or up to $5,000, to be on the safe side.
A business loan or cash lending could be the solution, as well as sharing the costs with a colleague in a barbershop partnership. For that, you will need a detailed business plan. Most business loan providers have certain business age requirements, though. Therefore, recently trained barbers usually decide to get a job prior to opening their own place.
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Choosing a good location and finding your first clients is also prerequisite for barbershop success. Building an image and a brand is something you need to work on personally as it will suit your skills and your preferences, and the type of clients you want to welcome in your barbershop. At this point, your social media skills could prove invaluable. The lack of demands typical for corporate office spaces makes barbering an attractive career option. If you think that you have what it takes to become a barber, you are in for years of a socially and creatively rewarding job in which you can be your own boss.