How to Get a Barber License?

How to Get a Barber License?

Is starting a career as a barber your goal? Have you been planning to apply for a barber license in the U.S.?  Are you wondering how to apply for a barber license in the U.S.? You have come to the right place. 

This article will help you get a clear idea about what barbers do, as well as the skills required for barbers, career opportunities, top-paying states, and the steps involved in getting a barber license in the U.S. Before we learn how to get a barber license, let’s start with what barbers do. 

What Is a Barber? 

Barbers are specialists in cutting, grooming, and styling client’s hair and beard. They typically do simple cutting and styling for hair. Sometimes they may also perform additional services, such as shampooing, coloring hair, facials, and even neck massages. More experienced barbers may serve as small business owners opening up their own shops. 

What Does a Barber Do? 

The following are some of the most common responsibilities of a barber: 

  • Shampooing, hair and beard coloring, and styling. 
  • Giving facial, scalp, and neck massages. 
  • Blow drying.
  • Administering scalp treatments.
  • Stocking and ordering products. 
  • Maintaining client records. 
  • Cleaning tools and equipment. 
  • Consulting with clients. 
  • Staying up to date with current trends in hairstyling and shaving.

Skills You Need as a Barber 

As a barber, you must have the required skills to be able to sustain your career and stand out in the beauty industry. Here are some of the skills you need to have as a barber:

  • Time management
  • Active listening 
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Creativity 
  • Communication 

Steps to Get a Barber License 

Get a Barber License
Get a Barber License


To earn a barber license, you need to have a high school diploma, or GED before entering into any barber or cosmetology training program. The candidate must be at least 16 years old. A high school degree or GED can be done online or on-campus through accredited programs. English proficiency and basic math and writing skills are useful for a barber. 


When becoming a barber, there are three common ways to earn your education. 


The candidate can either take a barber certification program or a diploma, but both are similar. Barber certification is a short-term program focused on the basics of hairstyling and hair care. It also includes programs on hair cutting, styling, hair care techniques, grooming facial hair, and shaving beards. Once the certification program is completed, you are qualified to take the state barber license exam. 


You can enroll in a cosmetology degree at a technical college, community college, or vocational school. A cosmetology degree is about nine months to two years long. Some universities provide four-year cosmetology programs. A cosmetology degree includes hair styling, shaving beards, chemical treatments, and hair treatments. 

This degree also offers education on how to start your own salon. Some states allow students to do the state barber license exam without completing the barber program. Instead, the students need to take additional courses to learn barber techniques. 


Apprenticeship is another option to seek. You work closely with a licensed barber when you choose to be an apprentice. They supervise you during the program. The length of an apprenticeship varies between states, but it usually takes two years to complete.


The barber exam for a license varies from state to state. The candidate must provide evidence of completing a 1200 hours program. The license exam consists of written and practical exams. A practical exam tests your skills in hair cutting, shampooing, styling, massaging, and shaving beards. 


The last step after you successfully complete the training program and pass the state barber exam is to apply for the barber license in your respective state. Once the candidate applies for the barber license, the board will verify all the related data and information. After the verification, you will receive the barber license in your respective state in the U.S. Procuring a barber license adds value to your career and it also offers the opportunity to practice as a barber in this beauty industry. 

What’s Next 

Once you receive your barber license you are eligible to apply for a job as a barber and practice legally in your state. Barbers begin their careers by working as an employee in established barber shops. Until they build up a clientele, most barbers work on a commission program although salary arrangements may differ from one barbershop to another. 

Check out new barber vacancies here.

Top Paying States for Barbers 

As of now, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), the employment of barbers is projected to grow by 8 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average. 

The average salary a barber makes is approximately $14.41 per hour. Compensation may vary based on experience, qualification, and industry education. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.79 per hour, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.60 per hour

The following are some of the top-paying states for barbers in the U.S.: 

  • Washington 
  • North Carolina 
  • Arizona
  • Michigan
  • Oregon

Career Opportunities 

Apart from the salary, career opportunities for barbers also play a vital role in the industry. As a licensed barber you may have career opportunities in the following industry sectors: 

  • Self-employed barber
  • Barber school educator
  • Personal care services 
  • Barbershop owner
  • Barbering product developers 

Wrapping Up

Becoming a barber in the beauty industry requires you to have the right knowledge and skills. If you are lacking in skills and qualifications, you can work on improving them to get a barber license. 

If you are passionate about becoming a barber or taking the barber license exam, you can try our free practice test and effectively prepare to score well. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


The following are the benefits of having a professional barber certificate: 

  • Employment and income opportunities – A full-time barber can earn a high income and can charge a higher price than an unlicensed barber. 
  • Industry and customer recognition – Industry experts might recognize you as a professional barber. Clients feel comfortable and have confidence in a certified barber. 


The training required to become a cosmetologist and a barber is similar. Both acquire skills in styling, treatment, and beard grooming. Barbers concentrate more on short hair and beards, whereas cosmetologists concentrate on other cosmetic procedures including skin and nail care.


Barber is a practical profession requiring hands-on training. Although online barber courses are available, you must complete in-person courses to become qualified. Most states require the candidates to complete a specific number of practical hours, so taking online courses will likely not be sufficient to obtain a barber license. However, for continuing education credits, you can enroll in online barber programs.

Related Reads

Life After Cosmetology School: How To Start Your Career As A Newly Licensed Cosmetologist

What’s The Difference Between A Cosmetologist And An Esthetician?

Beauty Salon Services Every Cosmetologist Should Know About

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