David Helberg was raised and educated in Chicago, Illinois, at the American Conservatory of Music, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in music education. He then earned another bachelor’s at the Illinois Institute of Technology and did graduate work at Northwestern University. Hellburg then worked as a music teacher in Gastonia, Newton, and Maiden, North Carolina before serving in the Army for three years. Upon is return to North Carolina, he worked for a year in Newton before moving to Greensboro as a band, orchestra, and choir director.
Helberg was later appointed principal of Sternberger Elementary School, and continued to teach band, orchestra, and choir. He then became assistant superintendent for elementary schools in Greensboro, and then was promoted to assistant superintendent for administration.