There are far less pleasant career choices available than being a barber for a living. The work environment is pleasant and comfortable, for the sake of the customers as much as the barbers. The work is almost never distasteful in itself, pleasant interactions with the customers are the rule, and being on your feet throughout the workday is the most physically demanding part of the job.

Programs at a barber school to train someone to master’s level typically run for less than 6 months of training, and cost considerably less than a 2-year degree that may be useless in getting a college graduate a job. Almost all barber schools have a graduate job placement program to help their graduates find that important first job. Tuition will vary from different schools and by state, but is typically comfortably under $5,500 for the entire course.

Federal loan programs to assist in paying tuition exist, but the student will have to do some digging to find them. Anyone who is considering a student loan should do so as a final resort, and always have a clear plan on how they intend to repay the loan. A loan agreement that requires high payments may be difficult to keep, but the ability to reduce interest by making a payment larger than the minimum is worth negotiating for. The longer it takes you to pay off the loan, the more it will cost you.

Different states have different requirements, but it’s often possible to find a job in the field to cover the period between graduation and taking the certification tests that are required. A local school is likely to have complete information on this possibility. In some areas, it’s possible to earn money while still in school, and schools rarely offer a 40-hour school week; 30 hours of training per week is much more typical.

A barber’s certificate does not sound as impressive as a BA in English or Fine Arts, but the job prospects are much better for the barber, and they don’t start their careers with debts for 2 years of school. High School students are still often encouraged to attend college, but that advice ignores the large number of degree holders who cannot find work in their chosen field. The STEM fields still offer plenty of opportunity, but they generally require a 4-year degree. A 2-year degree was enough for most people 15 years ago, but the economy has changed since then. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is that people still need to have their hair cut. There is no end in sight for the demand for skilled barbers.

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