Barbers have been around for centuries and whether they work for large chain hair salons or under the old-fashioned red, white and blue barbers’ pole, their salaries are much the same. The following barber salary figures reflect the amount of money these individuals can earn in various settings.

National Average

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists combined earned an average annual salary of $22,500 in 2010. The site also reports that barbers have the highest-paid profession within this group with an average hourly rate of $11.45, or just over the national average at $23,000 per year if the barber works full time 40-hour work weeks. However, many in this profession work only part time, and a sizeable number of people work more than 40 hours per week, as well. To compare, hairdressers and cosmetologists make a full dollar less per hour and shampooers make only about $1.50 more than minimum wage at $8.78 an hour.

Salary by Location

Barbers who work on the east coast earn more than those who are located anywhere else in the country. For instance, barbers in New York City earn some $36,000 per year, and those in Philadelphia, PA earn about $27,000 per year according to The west coast comes in second in regional salary figures; barbers in Seattle, WA make an average of $27,000 per year and Los Angeles barbers make $29,000 per year. In the Midwest, barbers in Chicago earn about $30,000 annually while their counterparts in Des Moines, IA earn only about $23,000 annually. In other locations, such as Dallas, TX, barbers may earn average salaries of $28,000 per year.

Amount of Education and Experience

Many employers do not require barbers to have more than a high school diploma or its equivalent, but they are required to complete a program in a cosmetology school that is state licensed. These programs only take about nine months and some result in an Associate’s degree. Although barbers may only earn a few thousand dollars more per year with this degree, they will be better candidates for available jobs than their counterparts who do not hold degrees. Similarly, barbers who regularly attend additional seminars and workshops may earn a higher salary simply because their knowledge of modern hairstyles and techniques makes them appealing to a larger crowd.

Other Contributing Factors

A barber’s salary can fluctuate some depending upon whether he or she is employed with a large chain of salons, a single salon that is well-known and reputable, or self-employed within his or her community. Since many barbers’ salaries are as dependent upon tips as they are paychecks, reputation is another factor that should be considered. Barbers who are known for providing quick, friendly and quality service often earn much more than those without such a reputation. Finally, the amount of competition for clients within a particular city or community is extremely influential. Barbers who open lone shops in smaller communities may be able to make as much money as individuals in big cities.
Barbers enjoy a very interesting and social line of work that comes with a wide range of income possibilities. In order to earn the highest salary possible, these individuals should strive to attain Associate’s degrees and maintain the best reputations possible.