The Differences Between Barbering and Cosmetology School

cosmetology vs. barber school

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As you start looking into different cosmetology options, you may start to consider different specializations within the world of cosmetology. For example, you might be wondering whether it’s best for you to choose the more general field of cosmetology or if you want to be more specific and aim toward barbering. If you’re not sure which of these fields you want to attend, here are some of the things you’ll learn in barbering school that you probably won’t in a general cosmetology school.

1. Knowledge of barbering styles

In a cosmetology program, you will learn how to cut and style hair, which means that you’ll definitely learn how to do masculine styles like the type you’ll learn in barbering school. However, a barbering school or program will give you access to a more specific knowledge of barbering styles that are popular among barbershop clientele. Because these styles aren’t often as popular among people who go to salons, it’s common for cosmetology programs to spend less time on them.

2. Information about barbering tools

Not all standard cosmetology curricula will explain how to use the tools that are most common for a barbershop. For example, some cosmetology programs won’t go over how to use a straight razor, which is likely the most traditional barbering tool out there. In fact, because using a straight razor can be dangerous if you don’t know how to use it, it’s also common for cosmetology programs not to be allowed to use straight razors during the teaching process. Barbering programs will also usually include significant information about razors and clippers, as well as general information about the barbering process that your clients might expect from you. If you’re hoping to become a barber, these are incredibly important pieces of information.

3. More specialized knowledge

In a cosmetology program, you’re likely to learn a variety of skills. This may include makeup application, skin treatments, and lots of other skills. This large umbrella is extremely useful for people who need a large base of knowledge — cosmetology programs prepare you to work in a wide variety of jobs, so this array of knowledge is quite helpful. However, if you’re hoping to become a barber, you need a smaller but more specialized base of knowledge. The people who visit barbershops are almost always going to have a certain style of haircut in mind, and they’re coming to you because they believe you can provide it. As someone going through a barbering program, you’re going to spend more time training and perfecting some very specific cuts, whereas cosmetology students will usually learn more styles overall.

4. Licensing requirements

Different requirements for licensing are one of the most important parts of deciding whether you want to choose a barbering program or a cosmetology program. In states that offer both a barbering license and a cosmetology license, you’ll often need to go through different programs for each; for example, it’s common for there to be a minimum number of educational hours necessary for you to take the licensing exam, and because barbering programs are more specialized, the number of hours may be lower for a barbering license and therefore a barbering program. You need to know what you’re planning to do with your license before you start working toward a specific license so that you join the correct program.

Get the education that works for you

difference between barbering and cosmetology

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Both barbering and cosmetology programs can be extremely beneficial; they’re both important programs, they’re just doing two different things. If you’re planning to pursue either one of these fields, it’s important that you know what education is going to be best for your specific needs. If you want a more generalized education in cosmetology, you should attend a cosmetology program; if you really want to specialize in the world of masculine cuts, barbering is probably a much better option.

The good news is that regardless of which path you choose, you can get help from Evergreen Beauty College. At Evergreen Beauty College, you can find both a cosmetology program and a barbering program, which means that you can pursue whichever one you love the most. Contact Evergreen Beauty College today to learn more about how you can get support to achieve your dreams.

FAQ: Barbering vs cosmetology

Can I get both barbering and cosmetology licenses?

You can get both of these licenses; this is known as “dual licensing,” and it can be an effective tool if you want to widen your possible user base. Having both licenses allows you to open your options for more clients, which can be very helpful, especially in an increasingly competitive market. However, for some, this can also make it feel like you’re spread too thin. Make sure you assess all your options before you choose to get a dual license.

What are the prerequisites for barbering school?

Most of the time, the only prerequisites for signing up for barbering school are that you’re at least 18 and have a high school diploma or equivalent. However, different organizations will have different requirements for their students. If you’re thinking about attending a barbering program, you should definitely look at the prerequisites to make sure that you can meet them, especially if you have no other experience in the world of cosmetology.

What is the process of going through a barbering program?

This depends heavily on the individual program you attend. A barbering program will likely take a bit of time as it’s a trade program similar to cosmetology. However, the specifics of the length of time will depend on the program you attend. It will also depend on whether you go full-time or part-time; as you might expect, a part-time program will take longer than a full-time program but will require less of your time while you go through it, making it ideal for those who need to continue to work while in barbering school.

Frank Trieu
Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations

Frank Trieu is a cosmetology industry leader, and despite his accomplishments and accolades, he still prioritizes students on the Evergreen campus. Through building relationships within the community and local salons, retail stores, and spas, he helps facilitate job placements for aspiring beauty professionals using his expansive network.

Happy Evergreen Beauty College Students


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