Skill, education, experience and a clientele base are what set master barbers apart from regular barbers, or apprentices. They style, dye and trim hair, beards and mustaches; supervise barber apprentices; order inventory and supplies; and record revenue and expenses in ledgers. These hair stylists are also responsible for placing advertisements and marketing their barbershops. Most are self-employed and can be found under the spiral-striped barber poles. If you want to be a master barber, you will need to complete classroom studies and training. Average salaries are close to $50,000 per year.
Salary and Qualifications
As of May 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, reports average annual salaries of barbers at $27,520. But master barbers earned average incomes of $47,000 per year, according to 2013 data from Indeed.com, a major online job site. To become a master barber, you must complete a one- or- two-year apprenticeship program under a licensed barber. A high school diploma is usually all you need to qualify for barber school. After completing your apprenticeship, you must pass an exam given by the Board of Barber Examiners to get your Master Barber's license. The length of your apprenticeship varies by state, so check with your state Board of Barber Examiners for specific details.
Salary by State
Like other professions, annual incomes for master barbers can vary by state of district. In 2013, they earned a high of $74,000 in the District of Columbia – among those listed – according to Simply Hired. If you worked in Massachusetts or New York, you would earn $57,000 or $55,000 per year, respectively. Your salary would also be above the national average for barbers in Colorado at $50,000 annually. Master barbers in Pennsylvania, Texas and South Carolina made $45,000, $44,000 and $40,000 per year, respectively.
What sets the experienced master barber's income apart from his novice counterpart is customers. Most experienced master barbers have developed a clientele over the years, many of whom are repeat customers. Consequently, they earn higher incomes as their clientele bases increase. They might also charge higher rates in more expensive states, such as New York and Massachusetts. Master barbers who build larger businesses by hiring more barbers and hair stylists can also make higher incomes.
Jobs for barbers, including master barbers, will increase seven percent between through 2020, which is slower than the national average for all jobs – 14 percent. Most jobs for these hair professionals will be spurred by increases in population. Look for high growth areas if you plan on opening your own barbershop. Also, locate your shop near business districts or in higher income areas, as barbershop patrons typically have higher disposable incomes.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Barbers, Hairdressers, and Cosmetologists: Job Outlook
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Barbers
- Board of Barber Examiners: Master Barber
- New York State Licensing Services: FAQ - Barbering
- Simply Hired: Average Master Barber Salaries
- Simply Hired: Average Master Barber Salaries in DC
- Simply Hired: Average Master Barber Salaries in NY
- Simply Hired: Average Master Barber Salaries in MA
- Simply Hired: Average Master Barber Salaries in CO
- Simply Hired: Average Master Barber Salaries in PA
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images