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How Much Can a Master Barber Earn Yearly?

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Barbers trim, cut and groom the hair and beards of their predominantly male clientele. They often work in barber shops or salons, dealing directly with clients. Becoming a barber requires a certain amount of state-mandated education, not to mention earning a state barber’s license. To become a master barber, even more education and experience is required. However, master barbers earn more on average to compensate for these extra requirements.

Job Description

Barbers have a variety of duties, styling the hair of their mostly male clientele. Barber work is done with different tools, including sheers, razors and clippers. Barbers are also tasked with keeping the shop clean by sweeping, sanitizing tools and wiping down dirty work spaces. Barbers develop great customer service skills, because they serve customers in a one-on-one setting.

A master barber is typically a barber who has a greater level of experience, education and skills than other barbers. Different states vary in their definitions of “master barber.” Some states designate master barbers as those who have held a barber license for a certain number of years, usually 10 to 20. Other states have a designated master barber exam that you must pass to meet the qualifications. A few states allow you to call yourself a master barber after completing a long-term apprenticeship. If you are interested in this career track, it’s important to look up your state regulations for how to earn the title of master barber.

Education Requirements

Barbers in all 50 states must be properly educated and licensed. However, specific education requirements vary by state. Your barber education might include barber school, an apprenticeship, or sometimes both. It’s important to understand that completing barber school is no small or quick task. Many states require 1,500 or more hours of education before you can even take your license exam. Barber programs are offered through community colleges, beauty schools and trade schools. After school is finished, you will complete your apprenticeship under a licensed barber if your state requires it. And finally, you must pass the license exam. Once you are licensed, you can begin to train as a master barber. Master barber courses are available at many barber schools, and some states have a specific master barber exam as well.


Most barbers work in barber shops or salons, working alongside other barbers or stylists. Master barbers may also own their own shops, handling more of the business side of things. Barbers must be comfortable working evenings and weekends, as this is when clients are usually out of work and need grooming. Barber work also requires being on your feet for most of the day, so you should be able to handle long stretches standing up and bending over.

Years of Experience and Salary

The average barber salary varies, depending on your location, years of experience and the pay structure of your workplace. According to ZipRecruiter, a master barber median salary is $48,000, meaning half of master barbers make more and half make less. Meanwhile, according to PayScale, a median barber salary with no master designation is $31,397, but can start at as little as $16,400. Based on these numbers, a master barber salary is quite a bit more than than that of a regular barber. Years of experience will also affect your pay. Mid- and late career barbers can earn as much as $69,000 or more annually.

Job Growth Trend

The barber industry is rapidly growing, and is expected to be worth a whopping $26 billion by 2020. Further, as the population ages, the need for quality barbers will continue to grow, increasing demand. Barbers can’t be replaced by computers, so this is a good business to get into if you are looking for long-term job security and income potential.


Chelsea Levinson earned her B.S. in Business from Fordham University and her J.D. from Cardozo. She specializes in labor and workplace issues, and has created content for Vox, Levo, AOL and more.

Photo Credits

Andrey Shevchuk/iStock/GettyImages