Summarizing the barber school question & more

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Summarizing the barber school question & more

Post by tideout on 02/07/13, 12:38 pm

I guess I may as well jump in here and ask a few questions so I can move forward on possible plans for school etc..

I'm a total newbie to this so I hope you will all bear with me!!


My first question is regarding what I've been reading regarding schools. It seems from posts here and elsewhere, the NYS barbers license is equally obtainable from either a commercial school in say Albany or Rochester as in an adult program such as a BOCES program. In a more commercial school they are not guaranteed to have any better instruction than an adult program and may really be focused more on "cosmetology" type services anyway. I've noticed that the commercial schools take a bit longer and cost more but do not seem to make a difference in the bigger picture? After getting their license new barbers are as likely to learn the trade from fellow barbers while they are working anyway.

Is this a fair summary? On a practical basis do the bigger schools offer any advantages over the more regional adult training program (ie. BOCES)? Just curious what people think about this - and sorry if this has been covered in other posts.

The other question I have is regarding the general opportunities out there. Are some barbers working in hair salons as the salon's barber or are their real limitations on the kinds of places a barber can work? It seems like there's a growing business out there in cutting fades etc. so being well rounded with different styles is important even in some less urban areas.

Final question - Is it reasonable to expect a barber can earn in the mid-20's (or better) in areas outside of NY's cities like Rochester, Albany, Syracuse? I'm from the Finger lakes originally. Don't mean to ask what some might see as a personal question but I just honestly have no idea.

I really appreciate any thoughts or feedback. I didn't intend to start my membership here with such a long question but I want to move forward if things look good!

Best to all.


Last edited by tideout on 04/11/13, 01:54 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Summarizing the barber school question & more

Post by saintsfan on 02/07/13, 03:02 pm

Welcome to the board! Don't worry about the questions, that's why we have this section!

All my answers will be based on my personal experience so don't take it as gospel.  

As far as either going to a commercial school or an adult trade school, I don't think the instruction you would receive would be vastly different. Their job isn't necessarily to make you a perfect barber,  but to teach you the basics of barbering and preparing you to take your states board exams. My suggestion to you would be to go a get a haircut at both of these schools (if they don't offer that I would cross them off my list of potentials) and ask the students that are currently enrolled what their experience has been. I went to a state college that offered a barbering program at night. All my instructors were licensed barbers and only 2 of them had dual licenses (Barbering and Cosmo). Each school is going to have a different way of approaching how they instruct you but if you want to be a barber I would find one that has a specialty side for that and not just general hair cutting classes. In my opinion you're going to gain a greater amount of knowledge when you start working in a shop and putting those lessons into practice than you do listening to classroom instruction and practicing on a mannequin, but you have to have the basics down before moving ahead. It's been said before, there is no way to teach experience.  I thought I had it down after a year but I found myself really getting into the details of a haircut after I got down the general idea of how to do it. I try to learn something about the craft everyday no matter how small or unimportant it may seem.  It's those little things that separate a good haircut from a great haircut.

I couldn't tell you what the job market would be like for that area of the country. I know we have a couple guys from New York so hopefully they'll chime in and give you a better idea about that. I have noticed some salons around me have started advertising barbering services but I couldn't tell you if they have an actual barber or they're just trying to get folks in the door for traditional men's styles. When I got into it there was no way I was going to go into a salon to work. I'm glad I didn't because I would have missed out on some much need guidance that only a real barber was going to to be able to share with me. If you're in a salon and you're still learning the ropes you'll be having someone that probably isn't a barber teaching you something more on their side of the spectrum. If I was you I'd talk to several of the barbers in your area and see what their take is on it but I have to believe they'd probably agree with what I have said.


As far as the earning potential, it just depends on where you are so I can't answer it honestly. I can tell you that it will probably take you a couple years to build up a decent clientele but with that said there is the opportunity to make good money right out of the gate. That will all be based on your skill level, attitude, likability and a lot of other factors.

Hopefully that was somewhat helpful and I hope I didn't ramble to much!
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Re: Summarizing the barber school question & more

Post by LD on 02/07/13, 08:48 pm

Hi, Tideout, and Welcome.

What Saintsfan said is true and valid. From my personal experience and from what I hear from other barbers in various locales, many barber schools are not really that helpful, except.to get you licensed so that you can find a barber to teach you to be a barber. I’ve also read that some of the schools are pretty decent. So, you pay your money, you take your chances, as the saying goes.

Whether you get a good school, or a not so good program, you can find a lot of sources to learn from. There are some video series out there. You could probably affiliate with a barber who’s willing to let you observe and ask questions; maybe your own barber? Get as firm a foundation as you can, and then
when you actually get to a shop and start cutting hair all day every day, you’ll learn a lot, and your skills will skyrocket.

And, however you can network with barbers, get that going. The working professionals out there are most usually willing to help a genuinely interested newbie. Ask questions here. You can learn a technique here and there on youtube. And practice like crazy. Cut as many haircuts as you can at school, buy extra mannequins, if you can, to practice on.

There are some things you can learn from cosmotologists, especially about hair handling and manipulation. Everything you learn will serve you well. Some things more than others. There will always be clients who come in and want a precision scissors cut instead of clippers, and some will even want a long hair cut, like a salon cut. But it’s $$ in the chair. So, you don’t want to limit yourself.

And just go ahead and get into it. It’s a good way to earn a good living.

LD

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Thanks

Post by tideout on 04/07/13, 08:41 pm

Special thanks to saintsfan and LD,

I really appreciate you both taking the time to respond to my post and questions.

Everything you're saying makes sense and I suppose it's like any good trade - you might learn the basics in a program or school but in any case you really learn it over time and by caring about what you're doing.

Lot's of details to work out on my end, but it looks as if going to the barber program in Norwich, NY may work out  for me and I'll definitely get the basics at their program. From there it'll have to work itself out over time with the right effort.

I'm sure I'll be back in to check on one thing or another as well as working my way into the other forums.

Hope you all have a happy 4th!!

tideout

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Re: Summarizing the barber school question & more

Post by kdbarker on 05/07/13, 07:57 pm

DCMO Boces in Norwich, NY is where I started. My Barber Shop is about 10 Miles from there. See some of my videos posted here (and my Youtube Channel), stop over to my shop sometime while you are in the area. I would be happy to try and answer some questions for you.
I know all the great folks at DCMO Boces and they may even give you some credit towards your time and you could visit my Shop during your school hours.
PM me if you would like and I will give you my Shop info.
Keith
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