KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — With each snip and buzz, the next generation of barbers is being built on a high school campus.
Over at Lehman High School in Kyle, there’s a full barbershop called Lobo Cuts. It’s where 101 students are taking a variety of courses for their future careers.
Lehman High instructor Barbara Romerhausen says her program is keeping kids in school who may otherwise fall through the cracks.
“We’re changing lives, getting kids to stay in school, watching them change and drop bad habits,” she said. “They’re picking up better habits and becoming employable.”
Hays CISD’s barbering program takes a total of four years to complete. The kids must clock 1,000 hours of work before being eligible to take a written test to earn their state license.
Sergio Sanchez earned his license last spring and now works full-time as a barber.
“When I was a kid watching my dad get his haircut, he’d be laughing and everything,” he said. “I decided that I wanted to be that person who provides a smile and makes people feel good about themselves.”
For freshmen and sophomores, barbering is only one class period. But by their junior and senior year, it jumps up to three classes per semester.
The Career and Technical Education (CTE) program started in 2020, and last spring, its first group of graduates got licensed.
One of these students was David Espinoza, who now works full-time at Barber Palace in Kyle.
“This city never had a lot of barbers until this program came in,” he said. “Now these shops around here are getting more barbers because a lot of us are coming in and making a living for ourselves straight out of high school.”
The CTE program also offers a much more affordable way to become a barber.
According to Hays CISD, barber schools in Texas typically can cost between $25,000-$30,000 in tuition.
Yet, the barbering program at Lehman High costs students around $700 in total. This includes the cost of working permits, uniforms, kits and licensing exams.
Ylissa Lopez-Hernandez is a student at Lehman High, hoping to eventually become a barber.
“This program has been growing,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to grow the entire barber industry.”
Hays CISD expanded its barbering program this year, with Hays High School adding a program of its own.
This fall, there are already 48 students signed up.