Tips to Be a Great Barber
In this uncertain financial climate barbering offers a superb, stable and highly enjoyable career.
Attracting people from all walks of life, hundreds of men and women of all ages successfully enter into this growing industry every year, initially starting as a beginner and then developing their own career with its limitless possibilities as their skill develops.
One of the main attractions of this exciting career option is that barbering is essentially a very secure and thriving industry no matter what the financial climate may be. Men always need haircuts and you can work securely all year round in whatever global destination you may wish as the skill of professional barbering is found worldwide. That being the beauty of barbering such skills are in demand globally and indeed many people go travelling abroad and use the skills to fund their travels, or if choosing to stay closer to home they often set up their own barber shop locally.
No matter what path you may wish to take upon graduation, if you are looking for a professional fast track course into the industry there are a few key points a new beginning student must bear in mind:
1. The academy: studying in a professional education environment, free from the hustle and bustle of a mass of clients and noise and chatter of a working busy barber shop is highly important.
The rise in ‘working barber shop’ courses unfortunately provides new learning students with a potentially nosier and more distracting environment, which can possibly prove a more nerve wracking experience for complete beginners, not ideally the best conditions for an area of study that requires intense focus and concentration.
Many students are often told this prepares them for the ‘real world’ however there is plenty of time to practice in that environment once you are fully trained. It is important to have a refined peaceful and professional educational setting surrounding you in the initial intensive learning period in order to be able to perfect, practice and concentrate on acquiring high quality employable skills in a short time frame.
If enrolling upon a professional barbering fast track course one will be naturally taught all the key skills needed to work upon a day to day basis within a barber shop to gain employment. Ultimately employers require high quality skills, therefore the more time and concentration spent with a professional tutor in learning those skills in a non noisy distracting manner ultimately pays off.
To validate the worlds best and most acclaimed professinal hairdressing schools are just that – professional hairdressing schools, not actual working barber shops. Therefore high quality education clearly stems from a high quality professional educational environment and not a retail environment.
Also bear in mind that if the working barber shop gives you paying clients to cut, you are essentially working for them for free and earning them additional money on top of the course fees you have already paid. It is advisable to learn professional barbering techniques in a professional training academy specifically trained in delivering high quality education fast tracks to students not a retail shop.
2. The student to teacher ratio: maximum time with your class tutor is recommended as beginner. Depending upon the calibre of your tutor the class ratio may vary, more experienced tutors can professionally teach slightly larger classes, however an ideal ratio for a beginners class is anywhere between 6 – 8 students per class, so that each student manages to achieve plenty of one on one tutoring and mentoring within the group to maximise their skills learnt.
3. The course diploma: the key thing is that your course should provide a diploma in order to have a certification of your professional skills gained. Although there is no one set legal diploma all barbers must hold in the UK, you must legally hold full insurance cover in order to be able to work upon members of the public safely, therefore ensure your course is fully insurable prior to enrolment. Without insurance you cannot legally work safely upon the public, therefore this point, along with chosing a course that teaches you all the key skills required to work as a barber day to day, are vital.
4. The curriculum taught: the role of a barber is a varied and challenging one, and you will be required to know a variety of key skills in order to work professionally and safely. Should you wish to venture into running your own business one day it is always good to ensure your course contains a wide range of key skills to enable you to work successfully within the trade either as an employee or as an employer.
Course curriculums vary and many focus solely upon the traditional clipper and scissor over comb work, however in a modern day mens barbering trade, these skills are not alone enough to be able to deal with every client that walks through the door.
Clipper and scissor over comb techniques are ideal for traditionally short / shorter mens styles, however in a more fashion focused modern day contemporary barbering environment, men are increasing becoming more style conscious and becoming inspired by their favourite celebrity, film star, musician or footballer. Slightly longer lengths are becoming more common within the hair and such styles are easy to envisage if you think of your favourite male movie star, musician, tv actor or footballer, many of those styles could not be created solely with clipper and scissor over comb techniques.
Therefore it is crucial to ensure your course teaches the skills of men’s professional haircutting as well, where you will learn how to cut one length, graduation, layering and texturising, in combination to your standard scissor over comb, clippering and blending. Modern men’s hairdressing skills tuition will ensure you will be able to deal with all lengths of men’s hair and create a wider range of modern day mens fashion forward looks.
The modern successful barber of today holds a full compliment of skills and is then fully trained to professionally deal with any customer whom enters into their barbershop.
Although many courses teach wet shaving, this is not a necessity as many modern men shave themselves and the majority of men will look to simply getting a haircut rather than a wet shave. The huge advertising budgets of the men’s grooming market have ensured as wider range of home shaving products available on the market and the growing daily use amongst the average male.
However naturally wet shaving techniques will provide an extra string to your bow as a professional barber but its is not a necessity when starting out as the majority of employers look atthe high quality barbering skills in view of employment. Holding wet shave skills will essentially only give you the edge at a job interview if that particular barber shop offers the service and not all barber shops do.
Ideally many students may enroll upon a separate wet shaving course at a later date to add to their barbering skills already held and this is a useful addition. A good beginners basic barbering course should fully train you in facial trimming techniques such as beard, eyebrows, mustache etc, and these techniques will be used on a frequent daily basis within the everyday barbershop environment.
5. Tutor credentials / past experience: there is the old expression, ‘you can only be as good as the teacher that teaches you’ and this is very true. Ideally you want to seek out the highest qualified teacher available to ensure you have best possible high quality skills when seeking employment or to offer to your clients if setting up a barbershop.
As with any mode of professional education, teachers are not just those adept at a holding skill, say like a barber with 10 or 20 years experience, they have most importantly undergone specific teacher training.
Why is that important? Because teacher training is vital to ensure that they hold the right professional communication skills and teacher techniques to relay to you the information they hold in the best manner so that you gain the maximum knowledge from your period of study.
Years of industry experience on the shop floor doesn’t always translate to being a great communicator, it simply meant they arre good at their practical vocation of being a barber and cutting mens hair, not necessarily teaching. Seek out fellow students, read testimonials from students who have done the course and look at the past careers of the teachers teaching you or who trained them.
Chances are if they hold great career credentials and have worked within a professional education teaching facility in hairdressing or barbering they will be fantastic at teaching you and will confidently lead you to barbering success!
Barbering is a great trade and offers great job satisfaction, as well as a lucrative career path. Enjoy and remember, as professionals you never stop learning, so continually keep fresh, inspired and seek out further training to enhance your skills as your career grows…Remember your best investment is in yourself!