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So you want to become a barber in London?

If you haven’t noticed, the male grooming industry is pretty much booming at the moment. Social media is erupting with tutorial videos and there have never been so many products available to help the everyday London gentleman maintain his look. Gone are the days of the short back and sides, and in come the consultations, skin fades, styling techniques, beard sculpting and the more.

For those of you who do not know, we have a barber training facility located in the basement here at Strap and Scraper London. We’ve been getting a lot of enquiries in for our barber training courses recently, so thought it would be best to break down our frequently asked questions and provide some answers to those looking to become a barber in London.

1) Do I need any prior qualifications/experience to become a barber?

No, not at all. Everyone has to start from somewhere! We cannot teach experience as it is something that comes over time, but what we can do is lay the foundations to help you grow and progress.

2) What accreditation should I look for to become a barber?

The minimum requirement for becoming a qualified barber is to achieve anything equal to a level 2 National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Barbering, accredited by VTCT. Once you have got the basics out of the way with the NVQ Level 2, you can then potentially start to look at level 3 and more.

3) Where is the best place to study to become a barber?

When searching for barber courses, there are a few key points you should be looking for:

  • How large are the training groups? The smaller the training groups the better as this tends to results in more one on one training
  • Do I want to learn in a college or academy? Whilst college may seem like the most natural option, training can take up to a year. Training to become a barber with an academy on the other hand, allows for a more intensive training process over a shorter time frame.
  • Will I get enough practical experience? In our case, yes. We like to integrate our barber shop space with our academy students by getting them to cut models’ hair upstairs on our shop floor, to allow them to really grasp the environment of a working barber shop.

4) How long will it take to get qualified as a barber?

Our NVQ Level 2 barber courses run from Mon-Fri for 10 weeks, but as stated, some college courses can take up to a year. Ten weeks is plenty of time to gain your NVQ qualification and feel confident doing any haircut. We also have a large database of models to keep you busy and trial your newly acquired skills!

5) How easy is it to find a job as a barber? 

Landing your first job as a barber is not easy, and we will do all that we can to help by providing references, tips, advice. However ultimately, it is down to the individual. Someone walking from shop-to-shop introducing themselves and explaining their situation, is more likely to find work over someone who is sitting indoors sending the odd email here and there. So, our answer is that it all depends on YOU and your work ethic.

6) What kind of money can a newly qualified barber expect to earn?

It can completely vary. Some barber shops offer an hourly rate, some offer commission per cut, some will rent a chair out to you, and some do a mixture of all three,  so you will need to decide what works for you. Our advice once you have completed one of our barber courses is just to make sure that you keep cutting. The quicker you are in a place, the faster you gain more knowledge and experience to become a better barber. This is a decision you need to evaluate for yourself. Certain things to take into consideration however are:

  • The pay can be pretty low to begin with BUT ask yourself if the barber shop in question is one that you can progress in. Do they look like they will invest time in you? If so, you should probably stick it out. Usually, more progress will result in higher pay within time.
  • So what if you have been offered a job but they do not look like they are willing to invest time in you? Well rather than turn down work, we would say accept the role and discuss the prospects with your potential employer. If it does not look like it is working out then continue your search whilst working. At least you will be still be developing your skills for the next opportunity that arises.

In summary:

  • You don’t need any prior experience to become a barber.
  • The only accreditation you need to begin with is anything equal to a level 2 NVQ in barbering.
  • You can get fully qualified as a barber in as little as 10 weeks.
  • Look for small group training for more one-to-one learning time.
  • Facilities with a barber shop on site will give you better on the job work experience.
  • Finding a job as a barber is tough, but those who are proactive and willing to continue learning will do best.
  • Like any job, the greater your experience and client base, the more you can earn.

To find out more about our barber courses head on over to or email us at [email protected]


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