How to become a Barber in Oklahoma
Embarking on a career in the world of barbering can be an exciting and rewarding journey. Aspiring barbers often find themselves drawn to the artistry and skill required to master the craft, along with the opportunity to connect with clients on a personal level. If you’re considering a career as a barber in Oklahoma, you’re in the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps, requirements, and tips on how to become a successful barber in the state.
Education and Training Requirements
All barbers must complete formal education and training before hanging out their shingles.
State-mandated education hours
In Oklahoma, barbers must complete 1500 hours of study or an equivalent number of credit hours. You must be registered as a student for the hours to count unless you are applying to transfer hours or credits from another state. This includes training in cutting and washing hair, grooming facial hair, sanitation and hygiene, and business skills. Full-time students can typically complete the program in less than a year. You must be 16 years old and have at least an eighth-grade education, but adult students typically have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some schools require you to have a diploma, so make sure you have the documents you need.
Choosing the right barber school
Choosing the right barber school is a crucial decision that significantly impacts your education and future career. One crucial factor is accreditation – ensuring that the school is accredited by the relevant state licensing boards guarantees the authenticity of your training. Equally important is the expertise of the instructors; seek out schools with experienced professionals dedicated to not only imparting knowledge but also fostering the development of your skills. A comprehensive curriculum that covers both the technical and theoretical aspects of barbering is essential, providing a well-rounded education. Hands-on training opportunities play a pivotal role in gaining practical experience, preparing you for the demands of a professional barbering career.
In addition to accreditation and educational content, it’s vital to evaluate the school’s facilities, equipment, and overall learning environment. A well-equipped and modern setting enhances the quality of your education, ensuring you have access to the tools and resources needed for effective learning. Lastly, consider the reputation of the school by exploring reviews and testimonials from current and former students. Understanding the success stories of graduates and the overall satisfaction of students provides valuable insights into the school’s commitment to excellence. By carefully considering these factors, you lay the groundwork for a successful and fulfilling career in the dynamic field of barbering.
At Broken Arrow Beauty College, students in our barbering program can expect to learn:
- Safe work practices and sanitation
- Salesmanship and business practices
- Anatomy of the hair and scalp and treatments
- Facial massages and treatment
- Haircutting and styling
- The use of chemicals for relaxing or perming hair
- Hair coloring
- Male hair services including beard design and shaving
- Rules and regulations
Once you have your education hours, you can move forward to the licensing process. It is illegal to offer services as a barber without being licensed.
You need to send in your registration form for the exam within 10 days of completing the course. Your school will help you with this. It costs $35 to register. You may be eligible for a work permit, which will allow you to start looking for a job before you pass the exam. The registration form requires an Affidavit of Completion that you get from your school.
For the licensing form, you will also need:
- Proof of legal presence in the U.S.
- To declare whether you are at 140% less of the poverty level.
- To declare any felony convictions. There is an extra form required for people with a criminal background.
If you have already found a job, then your employer’s name and address need to be listed.
Written and Practical Exams
When you register for the exam, you will be assigned a date and time for the written and practical exams. This can’t be changed unless you have a medical emergency or a death in your immediate family. The written part of the exam may be scheduled with PSI, which requires a separate fee. If you don’t turn up you will need to register and pay the fee again.
The exam has two parts, written and practical. For the written exam, you can find sample questions online. It is a 90 minute, multiple-choice exam that tests your theoretical knowledge, including scientific concepts. The practical test is done using a mannequin, and you will be asked to perform services as if it were a customer.
In the event of a failure, the system allows for up to four retakes. However, exceeding this limit results in the loss of your work permit, emphasizing the importance of thorough preparation and dedication on this beauty school journey in Oklahoma.
Once you have passed the exam, you can send in your license application and pay a $25 fee. You need to do this within a year of passing the exam.
Continuing Education and Specialization
You need to stay current in the field, and it’s best to do some review hours at a barbering school each year. You also need to keep up to date on any rule changes that impact the way barbers work in Oklahoma.
You can also develop specializations as your career progresses. This might include straight razor shaving, beard grooming, dying hair, relaxer treatments, ethnic hair, etc. Specializing in an area allows you to provide very high-quality services to your clients. Another option is to improve your business skills and expand to owning your own salon.
If you want to teach, you can take the Master Instructor course and obtain a license to teach barber students the ropes.
Building Your Barbering Career
As mentioned, everyone needs their hair cut. Barbers are always going to be in high demand.
Job Opportunities in Oklahoma
There are hundreds of barber shops across the state of Oklahoma, whether standalone or attached to hairdressing salons. Licensed barbers can also work in other grooming establishments, including ones inside or attached to hotels, resorts, or luxury apartment buildings.
Freelance barbers may fill in for people who are sick at established salons or they may run a mobile barbershop where they travel to people’s homes. Home visits are an option for clients who are disabled, extremely busy, have young children they can’t leave unattended, etc. They may work on private clients in their homes or even go into nursing homes to trim residents.
This means there are a lot of opportunities that are not working in a traditional barber shop, especially if you have business savvy and salesmanship.
Networking and Building a Clientele
Networking starts at school. A good barber school can help you find a job after graduation. Working in an in-house salon gives you an opportunity to impress people who might become your clients later or follow you to an independent salon.
While word of mouth is vital, you should also develop an online and social media presence. Particularly if you want to freelance, showing off pictures of your work can help establish a client base. You need to be willing to constantly network with other barbers and cosmetologists; that way they might refer a customer to you who is relocating to your area.
Professional Development and Growth
The only thing you want to cut short is your clients’ hair. You want your career to grow freely. There are three things that are key to professional growth.
- Staying inspired and motivated. You became a barber because you enjoy helping people look their best, and reminding yourself of that frequently helps reduce stress.
- Pursuing advanced education and certifications. Always be learning! New developments can happen all the time.
- Joining professional organizations. The American Barber Association has a solid presence in Oklahoma and offers certificates that recognize you for years of service as well as many networking opportunities and professional development resources.
Ready To Get Started?
In order to become a barber in Oklahoma, you need to complete 1500 hours of accredited training, pass a written and practical exam, and pay a license fee. Being a barber means always having a job, it means helping people look their best. It is a creative outlet for practical people. If you are thinking about becoming a barber in Oklahoma, contact Broken Arrow Beauty College to find out about our barbering program, *financial aid options, and why you should choose us for your required training.
*financial aid is only available to those who qualify