Growing Field of Barbers

Oklahoma Technical College’s newest addition is a program that teaches students the art of barbering.

By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Education | Issue: July 2010

Paula Matthews and Shon Schaller work their haircutting magic on a client of Oklahoma Technical College’s Barber School.

Paula Matthews and Shon Schaller work their haircutting magic on a client of Oklahoma Technical College’s Barber School.

Tulsa, Oklahoma has not had a barber college in 18 years – until recently. Oklahoma Technical College’s newest addition is a program that teaches students the art of barbering. “Barbers used to be a dying breed, but not anymore. It is a field that is rapidly coming back to life and growing,” says Paula Matthews, master barber instructor at OTC’s Barber School. “If you’re passionate about hair and are skilled at working with your hands, you are the perfect candidate for our program. It’s a great career for people who are creative and want to express themselves through hair.”

Barbers focus on precision cutting, tapers, and fades as well as hair coloring, highlights and straight razor shaves. “We also make sure students know how to do more than just cut hair – they learn how to run and manage a business. We partnered with Redken and Joe Grooming to teach students about products and retail sales,” Paula explains. “Our goal is for students to be well-rounded when they complete the program, with knowledge in products, management techniques, safe work practices, licensing laws and barbering history, in addition to cutting and coloring hair, shaving facial hair, and simple manicures. It’s old-fashioned barbering with a modern twist,” says Paula.

Ninety percent of the program is hands-on. The public can come in for services provided by the students Monday through Friday. “This helps save you money, and helps the students learn their craft and build up their clientele. It’s a win-win situation,” says Paula. The Barber School menu of services includes cuts for men, women and children, deep conditioning treatment, shampoo and style, full color, highlights, lowlights and perms. Detailing services include mustache and beard trims, beard design, goatee trim, facial hair and eyebrow tinting, straight razor shave, hot towel treatment, waxing and manicures.

Upon completion of the program, students are able to conduct barbering services with a high level of customer satisfaction, while projecting a professional image that will help them achieve their career goals. Job outlook for barbers is excellent – according to Oklahoma Technical College, overall employment of barbers, cosmetologists and other personal appearance workers is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. In addition, Oklahoma Technical College offers lifetime career services to all eligible graduates, including assistance with resume writing, interviewing, identifying job openings and other job search activities.

Barber students at OTC have two academic options. To obtain the diploma, students attend 1,500 hours of class time, and to achieve the degree, students attend 1,950 hours. Barber certification requires passing the Oklahoma State Department of Health Barber exam, which consists of 100 multiple choice questions and a practical exam on a live model and manikin.

Barbering classes begin every four weeks, with the next round beginning July 19. Class times are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. To learn more about starting your exciting new career in barbering, call (918) 895-7500 or visit

For more information, contact

Oklahoma Technical College

4444 S. Sheridan
Tulsa, OK 74145
(918) 895-7500

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About Author Sheryl Sowell

Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.

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