Job Description:

Barbers cut, trim and style customers’ hair, beards and moustaches.

Job Category:
Retail & Consumer

What you will do:

As part of your daily tasks, you could:

  • welcome customers and find out what they want
  • give advice on hairstyles and grooming
  • cut and style hair
  • shave, trim and shape beards and moustaches
  • provide scalp, face and neck massages
  • clean and sterilise equipment, like combs, razors and clippers
  • take payments, keep records and make appointments
  • keep up to date with new styles and techniques


You’ll need:

  • Barbering techniques
  • Knowledge of hair types and the right products to use
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills) – barbers must pay attention to detail when cutting hair, shaping beards, and providing grooming services.
  • active listening skills and emotional intelligence
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills) – being able to work well as part of a team is valuable in barbershops and salons, as you may collaborate with other stylists or professionals.
  • the ability to work on your own (drive)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • customer service: developing good customer service skills, including being polite, attentive, and responsive to customer needs, is crucial in the grooming and salon industry.
  • hygiene and sanitation: understanding and practicing good hygiene and sanitation procedures is essential to ensure the health and safety of both clients and barbers.
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a barber, there are no specific GCSE subjects that are mandatory. However, certain subjects and skills developed during your GCSE years can be advantageous for pursuing a career in barbering. Barbers are responsible for cutting and styling hair, maintaining grooming equipment, and providing excellent customer service. Here are some GCSE subjects and skills that can be valuable:

  1. Mathematics: Basic math skills are useful for measuring hair lengths, calculating haircut pricing, and managing financial aspects of a barbering business.
  2. English: Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, are essential for interacting with clients, discussing their preferences, and documenting customer records.
  3. Art and Design: Courses in art and design can help you develop a creative eye and aesthetic sensibility, which are important for creating haircuts and styles.
  4. Science: While not mandatory, a basic understanding of hair biology and chemistry can be beneficial for understanding hair types and hair care products.

Post School

You could get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • freelance work


You could take a course to help you get started. In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Diploma in Barbering
  • Level in Hair, Beauty and Aesthetics


You can do a hair professional intermediate apprenticeship, or an advanced apprenticeship for creative hair professionals.


You may be able to start work as a trainee barber in a barbershop and learn on the job.

Your employer would expect you to take a part-time course to get qualifications, either at a college or in their own training school if they have one.

Other Routes

You may be able to work freelance and rent space in a barbershop, though you’ll usually have to supply your own equipment.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-40 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends on a rota

You could work in a barbershop, at a client’s home or on a film set. Your working environment may be physically active.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could become a senior barber. If you take further qualifications, you could move into training or assessing student barbers.

You could also open your own barbershop, either independently or as a franchise.