Discover the Best Barber Schools in the US

Barbershops are popping up everywhere these days. 

With barbering and cosmetology being some of the fastest-growing careers in the country, getting an education at a hairstylist school is a solid career move. 

In some ways, barbershops have not changed much. It’s a place for community members to go to feel welcomed and taken care of. It’s that place where someone can go to be transformed entirely – walking out with a confidence that had eluded them on the way in.

In other ways, today’s barbershops are not the same as they were 50 years ago. 

The new trend in full-service barbering has taken center stage. This means that barbers must be familiar with a wide range of services to offer their clientele and be compliant with state and federal licensure requirements. 

In the past, hairdressing schools and hairstylist schools offered specialties and techniques that were seen as being somewhat different from the local barbershop. This is not the case today. 

When customers go to a barbershop, they want their style transformed. They want to be seen and heard as the person they are underneath of who they were before walking in the door.

Being a barber means being an integral part of people’s lives and helping them feel like their best selves. A barber provides a service and an experience that is not available anywhere else. 

For those thinking about entering this fast-growing career, here are our picks for some of the best barbering and hairdressing schools in the US!

Barbering School
Jacob Lund |

American Barber and Beauty Academy

Located in Reading, Pennsylvania, the American Barber and Beauty Academy has successfully trained barbers and cosmetologists to be high-quality professionals and leaders in the beauty industry. 

With a staff of barbershop owners, former state board proctors, and award-winning barbers, students at ABBA can be confident that they are receiving a first-rate education.

The American Barber and Beauty Academy offers its students the opportunity to enroll in cosmetology, barbering, esthetics (skincare), or a combination of these fields. 

Current practitioners or ABBA students have the opportunity to continue their education to become certified instructors in cosmetology or barbering. 

With class schedules offered on weekdays or weeknights, with some Saturdays, students can fit their barbering education into their daily work life. 

Not only are the programs at The American Barber and Beauty Academy nationally accredited, but it is also affordable and has several financial aid packages available. 

The American Barber and Beauty Academy staff prepares their students to pass the local and national exams and is highly successful at doing so. All students receive a computer to use throughout their program and, upon graduation, receive help with job placement. 

Empire Beauty Schools

Headquartered in Pottsville, PA, and founded in 1934, Empire Beauty Schools have been training beauty professionals throughout the country for decades. Currently, there are over 80 schools located in 21 different states, which assures that there is a school close by.

Empire Beauty Schools employ industry professionals to teach a vast array of courses and professions. Students who attend Empire can pursue a career as a Hairstylist, Haircolor Specialist, Nail Technician, Salon Owner, Platform Artist (promotor), or a combination of these industries. Empire students can also continue their education to become an educator in any of these fields.

For prospective students of Empire Beauty Schools, there is federal financial aid available as well as scholarships and grants – which would not have to be paid back. In fact, the school staffs an office of dedicated advisors to help with finding the financial aid to make a career in barbering or cosmetology available to anyone. 

Aveda Institutes

With over 50 locations throughout the USA, Aveda Institutes pride themselves on being an industry-leading and professional barber and cosmetology school. Headquartered in Blaine, Minnesota, Aveda is best known for its high-quality hair, skin, and body products, but their standard of quality also extends to its institutes. 

Founded in 1977, the Aveda Institutes stood on a mission of offering an eco-conscious and wellness-oriented alternative to standard beauty schools. Students can choose to enroll in cosmetology, esthiology, or massage therapy. Each of these programs at Aveda has a reputation for offering a firm foundational curriculum and is well known throughout the industry. 

Due to the reputation and rigors of the Aveda Institutes, its graduates have blossomed into highly sought-after professionals. 

Aveda has graduated 7 of the last 10 NAHA Student Hairstylist of the Year winners. You can find Aveda Institute graduates in any industry involving hairstylists, from Hollywood to New York Fashion Week.

Paul Mitchell Schools

With the same name as its cofounder and popular line of hair care products, the Paul Mitchell Schools operate in over 100 locations throughout the U.S. Over 10,000 students graduate from one of the Paul Mitchell Schools each year through one of six different programs. 

At the Paul Mitchell Schools, a student can study barbering, cosmetology, esthetics, nails, makeup, or education. Each of these areas of study moves students through a 3-tiered plan: Core, Adaptive, and Creative. 

Toward the end of the program, the Creative Level is similar to an internship where students are paid to work under the supervision of a licensed professional. In doing this, students gain powerful, real-world experience and strong references before moving into their field. 

Students who pursue a career in barbering from the Paul Mitchell Schools will learn and practice all foundational skills throughout their program. What sets the Paul Mitchell Schools apart is their focus on business management. Graduating students will have all of the expertise needed to start their barbershop.

Tricoci University

The Tricoci University of Beauty Culture is named after its founder, Mario Tricoci. An Italian-born award-winning hairdresser who owns 14 world-renown hair salons and day spas in the greater Chicago area. 

When starting his Tricoci University, Mario’s vision was to put professionalism first in the world of cosmetology. 

Tricoci University has 15 different campuses located primarily in Illinois, with 4 in Indiana, and 1 in Wisconsin. Each of the universities offers a quality curriculum in cosmetology, barbering, esthetics, nail technology, and education that fits with Mario Tricoci’s high standards of professionalism. 

The programs all promise their students that they will help graduates find a good job in the industry. 

What sets Tricoci apart from other barbering programs are the resources that it offers its students. 

Since 2004, Tricoci has been investing in upscale facilities that are said to rival many high-end salons, offering students a chance to learn the fine skills of retail sales and building strong client relationships. It is not uncommon for Mario Tricoci to appear in both his salons and university locations, teaching students first-hand skills from one of the best there is. 

American College of Barbering

With locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Northern Kentucky, the American College of Barbering has been focused primarily on the barbering arts since 2008. Students will learn the fine arts of trimming, cutting, fading, beard treatment, and straight razor shaving. 

At the American College of Barbering, practice is the key to success. Both schools offer full-service barbershops open to the public at affordable rates so that students learn how to cut, groom, and work with clients throughout their educational experience. 

All of the American College of Barbering instructors are professional barbers who have decades of experience in the industry. 

Students who attend the American College of Barbering report having both a high level of confidence in the skills they developed and being highly marketable upon graduation. 

Central Oklahoma College

Central Oklahoma College is located in Oklahoma City and offers an array of degree plans in both cosmetology and the medical sciences. 

The program tracks offered include cosmetology, esthetics, massage, and barbering. Since Central Oklahoma College also offers nursing and medical assistant tracks, students at the school are exposed to a diverse range of professionals. 

The school also has a large facility that offers clinics, labs, full-service salons, and a dozen fully-equipped massage therapy rooms. Students are allowed the unique opportunity to take courses in several different fields or follow a predetermined track. The hands-on learning begins right away, by opening the school’s doors to community clientele for students to work with.

As a barbering student, several resources are available, including an entire resource library and student lounge. The Central Oklahoma College campus has a separation of learning classrooms and industry-specific labs to focus on a student’s new craft and give them that feeling of being a professional right from the start. 

Spa Tech Institute

Spa Tech Institute’s new campus, located in Westbrook/Portland, Maine offers a large selection of courses and degree plans in the cosmetology arts for students to choose from. 

The barbering program at Spa Tech is a rigorous and accredited program that students can complete in as little as eight months.

Students attending Spa Tech have access to high-quality staff and participate in community outreach programs. Knowing that the barbershop is a lot more than a place to get your haircut, the school trains its students to become innovative and creative thinkers. 

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