How To Become A Barber: Training And Courses

If you have made the decision to become a barber, then there are a number of ways to achieve your goal! There are different routes depending on your age, working status and financial situation.

The majority of barbering courses will offer a mix of classroom-based learning where you will learn about styles and techniques, and practical learning where you can put what you have learnt into practice and will cut hair on live models.

About us: Protectivity is a specialist provider of Barber Insurance. We cover thousands of individuals and small to medium size businesses across the UK each year.

College course

There are lots of college courses available nationwide providing both classroom-based learning as well as some experience cutting hair on live models.

Duration: 1 – 3 years
Content: A combination of theory and practical learning but offers the least amount of practical cutting experience.
Cost: Approximately £2000 (There is funding available for some students. Your local college should be able to provide more information.)
Outcome: Most will result in an NVQ qualification at the end of the course.
Benefits: Courses are easily accessible at colleges throughout the UK and training can be quite flexible to fit your needs.


Typically a route for school leavers, an apprenticeship involves in salon training where you can get lots of experience.

Duration: Approximately 3 years
Content: Usually an apprentice would start work doing the very basic tasks eg. Shampooing hair and sweeping up hair whilst watching and learning from the barbers in the salon.
Cost: £0
Outcome: At the end of an apprenticeship you would be awarded an NVQ.
Benefits: An experience-based way of training to become a barber and there is no cost.

Private courses

Some organisations (eg. London School of Barbering) can provide a private course which can be a more intensive course of barber training but often costs more to complete.

Duration: Usually between 6 and 12 weeks
Content: A combination of theory and practical learning, sometimes offering additional training in specific techniques.
Cost: Approximately £4000
Outcome: An NVQ and strong experience
Benefits: Smaller classes meaning more focused tuition

So, no matter what age you are or what stage of your career you are at, there is an ideal route for you and your circumstances so that you can gain the qualification and the experience that you need to become a barber.

Once qualified, remember you will need to take out suitable Barber Insurance before you start to cut clients’ hair.

If you are just starting your training, then there are some useful websites to support you:

The British Barbering Association (BBA) is the leading association for the barbering industry in the UK.
The Barber Council is the statutory body established by The Hairdressing Act (1964) and tasked by Government to maintain a register of hairdressers and barbers in the UK.

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