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High Demand Drives IBMC to Create Barbering Program at Longmont Campus

January 3, 2019
Institute of Business and Medical Careers lead barber instructor Jason Graham cuts the hair of Longmont campus president Ed Wulf Wednesday during a photo opportunity set up for the Times-Call. IBMC is starting a barbering program at its Longmont campus due to high demand for barbers along the Front Range.

Online sales are killing soft goods retailers, but you can’t digitize the experience of a barber shop.

And, with a growing popularity amongst millennials, barber shops have quickly become one of the fastest growing industries in the country, estimated to reach $26 billion by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There’s such a need for trained barbers in Boulder County, that the Institute of Business and Medical Careers, a northern Colorado vocational training college with campuses in Fort Collins, Longmont, and Greeley, is launching a new barbering program at its Longmont campus Feb. 25 and is currently accepting applications.

“Barbering has made a huge comeback in the last five or 10 years,” said Jason Graham, the program’s director. “Guys are getting back into going to the barbershop, but it’s not like your dad’s barbershop. It’s kind of a twist on the classic stuff with more advanced cutting, more scissor work and more styling.”

Using the modern salon facilities recently completed at the Longmont campus, classes within the barbering program will include shaving with a straight razor, men’s facial massage and treatments, men’s haircutting and styling techniques using both clippers and scissors, as well as management, ethics, interpersonal skills and salesmanship.

The first 15 weeks of the 13-month program are spent in the classroom, where students will learn aspects of anatomy, physiology and chemistry before transitioning to the floor to practice on each other and clients. Upon graduating, students will have 1,500 hours of practice.

“A lot of people think it’s just cutting hair, but there’s a lot more to it,” Graham said. “They’ll have to learn a lot of the bones in the face to understand bone structures, how the circulatory systems works, and chemistry for coloring hair.”

After graduating and earning their barbering licenses, the median wage for barbers in Colorado, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $31,670, but with a strong client base it can quickly rise.

“It really depends on where they work and it takes about a year to build up a rapport with clients before you start making good money,” Graham said. “But after the first year, most barbers are looking at $40,000 or $50,000 a year.”

Steven Steele, CEO of IBMC College, said 90 percent of graduates are hired immediately.

Susan Shaheen, the owner of Deluxe Barbers in Longmont, said she can’t wait to have a new crop of barbers to interview.

“I looked for a long time for a barber and didn’t even get any replies,” she said. “All the old barbers are dying and there’s no one to take their place, even as the whole beard revolution has brought a lot of men back to the barbershop. We’re constantly packed and fully booked for about a week out. We can’t even do walk-ins anymore.”

Those interested in applying can do so at IBMC’s website . The only requirements for the Longmont program are a high school diploma or GED and an interview with IBMC’s barbering staff.

“We want someone who’s enthusiastic, artistic and who’s a people person. You’ve got to be a people person to build up a client base,” Graham said.

“A lot of times people tell their barber things they won’t even tell their shrink. I couldn’t ask for a better career. There’s not a day I feel like I’m going to work. We talk sports all day, watch the games and hear the gossip.”

John Spina: 303-473-1389, jspina@times-call.com or twitter.com/jsspina24

 

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