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Barber License Requirements

Are you interested in a career as a barber? With the right training and educational guidance, it’s possible to get your barber license in no time. This blog post will discuss the steps involved with getting your license, covering the best ways to prepare yourself, what qualifications you need and where to find accredited programs. Read on for a comprehensive guide on how to be well-equipped when it comes time to apply for your license.

Why do barbers have to be licensed?

Licensing barbers is an important part of keeping consumers safe. States require licensees to attend school and gain a certain level of expertise in the field before they are allowed to work with customers.

This ensures that a person working as a barber has been trained in the basics of haircutting, coloring, and styling techniques, as well as safety protocols like sterilizing tools and practicing proper sanitation.

Being licensed also allows states to take disciplinary action against those who do not follow these standards, or if accidents occur in the barbershop. Ultimately, the goal is to protect the public from potential harm while providing them with quality services from qualified professionals.

Licensed barbers can provide all of the typical hair trimming and styling services, as well as facial treatments like hot towel shaves and beard grooming. Beyond that, some licensed barbers may offer waxing, shampoo and scalp massage, coloring or highlighting, perms, straight razor and clipper work, ear cleaning, and manicures. Depending on the barber shop, additional services like neck massages or full-service spa packages may be available.

What are the basic requirements to become a barber?

Becoming a barber requires certain fundamental qualifications, starting with an educational background. Barber college or vocational schools offer programs and courses that cover the basics of hair cutting and styling techniques as well as other subjects like infection control and safety practices, chemical use, and scalp treatments.

A high school diploma or GED is generally required for enrollment. Once graduates complete their educational program, they can move on to obtain licensing from the state cosmetology board, which usually requires passing one or two licensing examinations and then paying a licensing fee.

Depending on where you live, becoming a licensed barber may involve more advanced training beyond schooling such as apprenticeships and additional tests. Many states also require barbers to take continuing education courses between license renewals (usually every one or two years) to stay up to date on the latest safety regulations and legal requirements for barbers.

What are the hour requirements to become a barber?

Most state barber licensing boards require a minimum number of training hours at an educational institution before you’ll be allowed to sit for a licensing exam. On average, you’re looking at about 1,500 hours of required classroom time. However, that number can vary a bit from state to state. You can check out your individual state requirements on our individual barber schools by state page.

The other avenue for getting licensed, in some states, is by doing an apprenticeship. Working under the tutelage of a licensed barber is a great way to gain experience and hone your skills. In almost every case, though, you will be required to complete more hours than you would in a classroom. Expect about one and a half to two times the number of required classroom hours to meet a state’s requirements to sit for the written exam and the practical exam.

State barber exams

Passing a state barber licensing exam is a necessary step for anyone wanting to work as a professional barber. Once you’ve completed your hour requirements from a barber course or apprenticeship you can apply to take your state’s exam. Many states offer the ability to apply online, while others still require mail-in applications.

Tests are developed and administered differently from state to state. Some states utilize testing standards from the National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology, or NIC. Some states develop their own testing standards and administer and manage the process on their own.

In most states, the test itself will have two sections – a written examination and a practical examination where you have to demonstrate your skills. Some states offer the option to take the written portion of the exam online, but practical tests must be done in person.

In the written exam, expect to answer questions regarding the fundamentals of cutting, styling and coloring hair, as well as learning about different types of natural and chemical products used in the practice. The exam will also assess your interpersonal skills, such as customer service and time management. Make sure you know applicable health codes, safety guidelines and sanitation protocols related to barbering.

You should also be able to accurately describe the various instruments used in barbering and perform basic calculations for providing quotes to clients.

Taking the practical component of the barber licensing exam can be both exciting and intimidating. This portion of the assessment tests your technical skills, such as facial hair styling, proper use of grooming tools, and customer service. You will be expected to demonstrate your proficiency with various wet and dry cutting techniques as well as knowledge of sterilization policies. When appearing for the practical examination, it is important to arrive well-prepared with all necessary equipment and dressed appropriately.

License renewals for barbers

After successfully completing your program, passing the respective test(s), and obtaining a license, you qualify to enter the world of barbering! However, it doesn’t stop here. You must ensure that your credentials stay up-to-date by periodically renewing them. License renewal usually occurs every two years, though it does vary from state to state. You’ll need to fill out a registration form and pay a fee – some states will allow you to do both of these tasks online.

Another thing that varies from state to state is continuing education requirements. Some states require a minimum number of hours and credits between each license renewal to prove you’ve stayed up to date on the latest requirements for health, safety, and local regulations. The website of your state board will typically provide a list of accredited providers where you can earn these credits.

What are the requirements for a Master Barber license?

Becoming a Master Barber requires significant additional training beyond your standard license. The actual requirements vary from state to state, but this often includes continuing education focusing on advanced techniques such as hair relaxing, hair dyeing, sculpting, and even massage.

To gain the special Master Barber’s License in many states there are additional exams that accompany the extra training hours required. Some states will allow you to go for a Master Barber license when you start out, but some will force you to earn your regular barber’s license for an extended period before applying to become a Master Barber.

As a Master Barberr, you’ll have additional career opportunities at high-end facilities and you can usually command higher pay and benefits.

More questions?

Want to learn more about a career as a barber? Check out our barber FAQ page to learn more.