Barbering is a craft dating back to ancient Egypt, where local barbers managed everything from taming men’s hair to performing religious ceremonies and routine surgeries.
Thankfully, modern-day barbers stick to what they know, offering time-honoured hair care and grooming services with good, old-fashioned customer service. For this reason, barber shops are back in vogue, and the industry is thriving across the globe.
Are you considering how to become a barber?
This guide explores the top 8 things you need to know to become a skilled, in-demand barber in Australia.
1. Professional training is a must
To become a qualified barber in Australia, you can take two paths: complete a certificate course with a registered training organisation or secure an apprenticeship.
Barbering certificate courses in Australia
A course like our Certificate III in Barbering [SHB30516] is the entry-level qualification you’ll need to become a professional barber in Australia. This hands-on training course will teach you the foundations of the trade and have you job-ready in just over 12 months of full-time study.
Under the guidance of an expert trainer, you’ll gain the technical skills and knowledge you need to become a successful barber, including:
- Cut and clipper structures and techniques
- Tracks and fades
- Classic and modern hair design
- Beard and moustache grooming
- Head and face shaving
- Haircare fundamentals and scalp treatments
- Head, neck and shoulder massage
- Salon services and marketing training
- Salon health and safety protocols
- Product recommendations and beauty industry trends
Tuition fees include a professional barbering kit containing tools, products, haircare, and head blocks.
Apprenticeships allow you to learn on the job in a salon and complete formal study (at a slower pace) with a recognised training provider one day per week.
How long is a barbering apprenticeship in Australia?
You can expect to complete an Australian barbering apprenticeship in around three years versus 15 months for a certificate III course at a barber academy/barber school.
If you’re interested in securing a barbering apprenticeship, our team can point you in the right direction.
2. Creativity and passion are non-negotiable
Barbering is an art form that calls on creativity and passion in equal parts. You’ll depend on your creative side for every clip, cut and trim and lean into your passion for honouring tradition, trendsetting, building your client base, fostering relationships, and producing the best result for every client.
3. You can work anywhere and earn a decent wage
With the right training, a career in barbering can take you places. Find work in a traditional or upmarket salon close to home, or cross the seas seeking something different. Professional barbers work in a variety of roles, including:
- Barbershop manager or owner
- Freelance barber
- Hotel or cruise ship barber
- Nursing home or retirement village barber
- Government-employed barber for hospitals and prisons
- Barbering instructor or trainer
- Mobile or home-based barber
No matter what employment opportunities you pursue, it’s good to know that barbering can net you a decent wage.
How much do barbers earn in Australia?
The average annual salary for a barber in Queensland is $50,000 to $60,000. Working over the border in New South Wales could earn you slightly more—up to $65,000 per year.
Like many industries, earning potential increases depending on where you work and whether you’re self-employed, manage a barber shop or run your own business. Dedication and hard work can see you achieve something truly rewarding, personally and financially.
How much does a barbering apprentice earn?
Pay rates under the Hair and Beauty Award for apprentices start at $12.38 per hour for juniors and $19.81 for adults.
To qualify for a barbering certificate training course or apprenticeship, you must be at least 15 years old and have completed Year 10 (or equivalent).
4. Barbering is for everyone
Barber shops were historically men-only zones where community members converged for regular grooming and social interaction. While some maintain the status quo, many offer traditional barbering in an inclusive environment that welcomes people from all walks of life—men, women and the LGBTQIA+ community.
5. Barbering is about community
Beyond a quick clip and trim, barber shops are community hubs that pave the way for deeper community connection. Often, they’re a retreat from the rat race where people gather to swap stories and opinions, share jokes and work through life’s challenges.
As a qualified barber, you will meet new people and learn new things every day, so long as you approach your job with an open mind and heart.
6. Barbering can take it out of you physically and mentally
Barbers need steady hands and stamina to succeed. No matter how much you love your job, at some point, you’ll feel worn out from being on your feet all day, using your hands and arms to perform careful work while shifting conversations between clients. Regularly checking in with your mental health and exercising can help you avoid burnout and manage your self-care.
7. You can work on your own terms
Work for someone else or be your own boss—the sky’s the limit for a skilled barber. Once you graduate, you can build your client base as an employee or freelancer or open your own business and set rates that work for you.
8. Barbers are always in demand
Barbering is a secure job that historically stands up against economic slowdown and recession. Industry reports project the Australian hairdressing and beauty services industry to grow at a stable rate over the next five years, and job growth is expected to reach 9.6% in that time.
So, nationally recognised training to become a skilled barber can lead to a busy, rewarding and fulfilling career.