Barber Apprenticeships: Illegal Salon Practices You Need to Know

barber apprenticeships

You want to become a cosmetologist or a barber, but you’re not sure about school. And you’ve heard that barber apprenticeships might be an alternative. You could learn the skills you need through hands-on experience and get credit that would count toward your cosmetology license. BUT – before you jump sign up for an apprenticeship, do some research. Too many salons don’t follow the rules of an apprenticeship, or worse—they take advantage of their newbies’ naïvete.

If you are thinking about an apprentice, here are some of the illegal salon practices of which you should be aware.

What Is a Barber Apprenticeship?

Before you learn what to look out for, you should know exactly what an apprenticeship is. An apprenticeship should allow you to learn through experience as well as through a state-approved curriculum. It is basically a training course that trades some classroom time for time in the salon.

While some people think an apprenticeship is a short-cut to a career, it will actually take you longer to complete than a traditional cosmetology school program. Typically, beauty schools offer 1,400-1,600-hour courses, but apprenticeships require about 3,000 hours as well as a pre-determined amount of time to complete the course, which can be anywhere from 18 to 24 months. You will also be required to complete certain courses in a classroom, usually two to three days’ worth of workshops.

Apprenticeships are an acceptable step toward licensure in many states, but not every state. They are permitted in California, for example, but not in Florida. If you live in a state that does not accept apprenticeships and a salon offers one to you, take it as a warning sign that their operations may not be on the up and up.

Common Illegal Practices

  • Not Paying Minimum Wage

An apprenticeship is not an internship. You must be paid at least minimum wage and you cannot rent a chair or work for commission. You are also entitled to worker’s compensation.

  • Working Without a License

In order to begin working as an apprentice, you must have an apprentice license. The salon cannot allow you to work until your license has been issued and it is in your possession. Failure to comply with this rule can not only result in a fine of up to $1,000 and a citation for the salon, but also for you.

  • Exceeding the Maximum Program Cost

Since apprenticeships are similar to a formal program, they do incur a cost. That cost cannot exceed $2,500, unless the salon has received an exemption from The Bureau of Private Post-Secondary Education.

  • Not Reporting Apprentices

Salons must submit the names of working apprentices to the state, and they will be inspected annually for compliance. Many states also require salons to post notices that certain services may be completed by an apprentice.

An apprenticeship is one way to break into a career in cosmetology or a related profession. But if you can’t commit to the longer path to licensure, a traditional program may be better option for you. At Salon Success Academy, which prides itself on being a “people helping” company, you’ll work with industry professionals who are dedicated to their craft and passionate about working with students. Through our Cosmetology and Barbering programs, you’ll be given the technical knowledge you need to succeed, and you’ll also gain the hands-on experience you crave in our onsite salons where you can work with actual client. Call 877-987-HAIR (4247) or fill out the form for more information.