A barber apprentice is a person who is essentially learning the craft of being a barber. A barber, sometimes known as a stylist, is a person who cuts and styles hair. The barber apprentice will undergo training on the job to better learn the craft from more experienced stylists or barbers, and he or she will earn a wage during this apprenticeship. The duration of the apprenticeship can vary, though candidates should expect to spend anywhere from one to four years as an apprentice.
The specific role of a barber apprentice can vary. Some barbers exclusively cut hair, while others may cut and style hair, offer shaves, wax eyebrows, perform shampooing and washing, and even do other tasks like color hair, give perms, or do manicures. The trade has changed quite a bit over the years, so the role of a barber apprentice has changed accordingly. Many barbers still only offer cuts and styles, as well as a few other services, such as shaves. Hairstylists have become far more common than barbers in many parts of the world, and they offer several more services than barbers generally do.
Regardless of the types of services offered, a barber apprentice must first complete some training from a beauty school, barber school, or a vocational school. This training allows the potential barber to learn how to cut hair properly, as well as perform various other tasks that he or she may do while on the job. Some of the training focuses on sanitation and keeping a workspace clean, and some schools may even offer some training that focuses on communications and interacting with customers. Less common are business courses that guide the potential barber in terms of opening and running a business, though many schools offer business courses independent of barber training and they are worthwhile classes for any barber considering opening his or her own business.
Once the training is complete, the graduate can search for an apprenticeship with a barber shop or salon. The barber apprentice will start by simply observing more experienced barbers, and perhaps performing basic duties such as cleaning and running a register. As time passes, the barber apprentice will have more and more opportunities to cut and style hair, or perform any of the other more complex duties a barber is likely to tackle on a day to day basis. During the apprenticeship, all cutting the apprentice does will be done under the direct guidance and supervision of a more experienced barber.