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Barber Schools in Pennsylvania

If you want to become a professional barber, you will need to attend a barber school. Barber schools teach the skills and techniques necessary for becoming a licensed barber. In Pennsylvania, there are several options for barber schools. This page provides information on some of the best barber schools in Pennsylvania as well as helpful career information for becoming a licensed barber.

Barber Schools in Pennsylvania

State Requirements for Barber Licensing­ in Pennsylvania

Becoming a barber in Pennsylvania takes four steps, which can be completed in a year. The process for becoming a barber in Pennsylvania is as follows:

  • Enroll in a barber school
  • Complete 1,250 hours of instruction
  • Pass the barber exam
  • Renew barber license every two years

How Much Do Pennsylvania Barber Schools Cost?

The average cost of tuition for barber schools in Pennsylvania is $13,215.

Other than the cost of tuition, students are responsible for expenses such as a barber kit, necessary supplies, textbooks, study guides, and fees associated with taking the licensure exam.

Barber school students may qualify for a variety of financial aid packages. Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), scholarships accessible to you through your barber school, Pell Grants, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, VA benefits, and direct subsidized loans are just a few examples. These financial aid possibilities can help you save money on education at barber schools. To learn whether you qualify for these options, contact the financial aid office at your barber school.

You will also want to research loan options through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). This is an ideal option once you have exhausted other financial aid options like a Pell Grant or the FAFSA.

Required Skills and Classes

The Pennsylvania Department of State requires that barbers receive 1,250 hours of instruction from an accredited barber school program to be eligible for a barber license by examination. During barber school, students will learn about barber concepts and services they can provide upon receiving a license.

Barber school students are expected to learn in two different settings – Theory and Practical.

Theory Learning

During theory learning, barber school students are taught basic barbering skills and concepts by an instructor in a classroom setting. Students will be quizzed on knowledge learned throughout classes, which will help prepare them for the upcoming Theory barber exam.

Practical Learning

During practical learning, barber school students will be able to practice and refine their skills on barbershop patrons, volunteers, and mannequins. Practical learning makes up the majority of hours spent during barber school, and it helps prepare students for the Practical Skills section of the barber exam.

Throughout theory and practical learning, barber schools are expected to spend the approximate number of hours on the following subjects:

Subject Hours
Honing and stropping    25
Shaving and various uses of the straight razor   240
Haircutting, hairstyling and hairpieces   535
Shampoo and scalp massages    25
Haircoloring    25
Massaging (facials)    25
Hairwaving or curling (perms), straightening    25
Scalp and skin disease    50
State barber law and rules and regulations    50
Physiology    50
Sterilization and sanitation    50
Hygiene    25
Bacteriology    25
Electricity (ultraviolet, high frequency, infrared, curling irons)    25
Professional ethics and barbershop demeanor    25
Manager-barber instructions, instruments, shop management, examination orientation and preparation    50
Total minimum hours of credit required 1,250

State Licensing Exams

Pennsylvania uses Pearson Vue to administer the Pennsylvania barber exam. There is a required application fee of $30, an exam fee of $63 for the Theory exam, and a $77 fee for the Practical Exam that must be paid when signing up to take the exams. Payments can be made on the Pearson Vue website or be mailed to:

Pearson Vue C/O Dasher Inc
PO Box 1562
Harrisburg, PA  17105

The Pennsylvania Barber Exam consists of two separate exams – the Theory Exam and the Practical Skills Exam

Theory Exam

The Theory Exam can be taken at the following Test Center locations:

  • Allentown
  • Erie
  • Harrisburg
  • Morgantown
  • Newark
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh East
  • Pittsburgh West
  • Plymouth Meeting
  • Scranton
  • Washington

The Theory Exam is made up of 110 multiple choice questions, 10 of them being Pennsylvania specific questions. The content of the exam mirrors topics learned in barber school and the exam consists of the following sections:

  • Rules, Regulations, and Safety – 25% to 30%
  • Hair and Scalp Structure and Care – 5% to 10%
  • Shaving and Beard Design – 6% to 10%
  • Haircutting and Hairstyling – 25% to 30%
  • Chemical Services – 20% to 25%
  • Skin Care – 4% to 8%

Practical Skills Exam

The Practical Skills Exam requires that you demonstrate skills learned in barber school in front of examiners. The test is timed, and you are scored on a points value. The Practical Skills Exam are typically offered on a quarterly basis and can taken at the following locations:

  • Harrisburg
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh

Test takers are required to bring the following equipment with them to the exam:

  1. Government Issued ID (Driver’s License, Passport, Military ID, etc.)
  2. Secondary ID (Social Security card, Debit card, ATM card, School ID, etc.)
  3. Conventional Razor
  4. First Aid Kit
  5. Live Model/Mannequin
  6. Scissors
  7. Clippers

During the practical exam, you will perform the following services on mannequins and a live model:

  • Infection Control & Safety – 10 minutes
  • Chemical Relaxer – 17 minutes
  • Facials – 20 minutes
  • Hair Coloring: Retouch and Virgin – 25 minutes
  • Hair Cutting: Basic Layered, and Tapered – 40 minutes
  • Permanent Wave – 15 minutes
  • Shaving – 25 minutes
  • Honing and Stropping – 15 minutes

Upon completing the exam, you will receive a pass or fail score. If you passed the exam, you are eligible to apply for a barber license through the Pennsylvania State Board of Barber Examiners.

What Is The Salary Of Pennsylvania Barbers?

Barbers in Pennsylvania earn $34,400 per year or $16.54 an hour on average according to the BLS.

Are There Continuing Education Requirements For Pennsylvania Barbers?

The Pennsylvania State Board of Barber Examiners does not have continuing education requirements for license renewal for licensed barbers.

How Do I Renew My Pennsylvania Barber License?

Barber licenses expire every two years and are renewed on the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website. You will need to create an account if this is your first time renewing your license or sign into an existing account. Renewed barber licenses should be issued within three calendar days of being processed.

Out of State Barbers

Barbers moving to Pennsylvania from another state can obtain a Pennsylvania barber license by reciprocity if they have an active and non-expired barber license in one of the following states:

  • California
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia

Barbers must also submit a licensure by reciprocity application, pay an application processing fee, submit a Criminal History Record Check, and submit a Letter of Good Standing for the state in which the current license is held.

Contact Information for Licensing Board

The Pennsylvania State Board of Barber Examiners can be found with the following contact details:

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (717) 783-3402
Address: P.O. Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649