Do you need to take the State Board Barber exams in New Jersey? On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about scheduling and preparing for your exam, answers to all the most common questions, and a free practice test to check you’re prepared!
The process of registering for (and passing!) your New Jersey Barber exam
If you’re preparing to graduate from barber school, CONGRATS! You’re almost ready to start shaving, grooming, and helping people look their best!
The only thing that’s standing in your way now is passing the New Jersey State Board exams and getting your license.
And if you’re like a lot of people we talk to, the process of scheduling and taking your exams sounds daunting – especially since information regarding New Jersey’s exams are difficult to find. But don’t worry: we’ll walk you through the process step by step. Starting with…
Step 1: Check you’re eligible to take the New Jersey State Board Barber Exam
To be eligible to take the barber exam set by the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling, you must:
- Complete 900 hours of instruction in barbering AND
- Be 17 years or older AND
- Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
If you’ve completed 720 hours of instruction, you’re eligible to take the early testing.
Step 2: Apply for the New Jersey Barber examinations
There are two portions of the State Board barber exams in New Jersey: theory and practical.
All candidates have to schedule and take the theory (written) portion of the exam first, before being able to schedule and take the practical exam.
The application process is different for both portions and is honestly a little confusing. So, in this article we’ve broken it down into the two parts.
The first portion of the State Board barber exams is the theory portion.
To apply, your education provider will gather all the required information and send it electronically to PSI (the testing company) once you’ve completed the required number of hours.
As soon as PSI receives your information, you’ll get an email confirmation.
Before you can apply for the practical portion of the exam, you have to pass the theory portion.
When you are ready to apply, you have to fill out an application and send it in to the State Board along with all the required documents and fees.
The application can be found here, where you can download and print it. Or you can go into the State Board office and pick up a copy. Either way, you’ll need to fill it out completely.
Once you’ve filled it out, you’ll need to get it notarized. Most UPS stores and local bank branches offer Notary Publics, but they can charge a small fee.
After it’s been notarized, you’ll have to pay the testing fees, which are listed on the first page of the application. You have to pay via check or Money Order made out to the “State of New Jersey.” You can mail it to:
New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling
P.O. Box 45003
Newark, NJ 07101
In some cases, you’ll be required to submit official transcripts from your school or the official results from your written exam.
If that’s the case, you’ll have to arrange for your education provider or the testing facility (PSI) to send the documents directly to the State Board. They won’t accept copies or any documents sent directly from you, the applicant.
If you have any other questions regarding the practical exam application, you should call the State Board at (973) 504-6400.
Step 3: Schedule your exam
As we’ve already stated, you’ll be scheduling the theory exam first.
And again, since the process of scheduling your exam is so different for the theory portion and the practical portion, we’ve broken this section into two parts.
You’ll be eligible to schedule your theory exam after your information has been submitted to PSI by your school and you’ve received your email confirmation.
There are two ways to schedule your exam:
- By phone
The most convenient way is to simply go online and create an account on PSI’s website. You’ll be asked to enter your email address and name, which must exactly match what was provided to PSI from your school.
You’ll also see a box next to “Check here to attempt to locate existing records.” You’ll want to make sure that box is checked so the system will know that your information is already in there.
Then, you’ll be asked to pick the exam you’re wanting to take (which would be the barber exam) and enter your social security number.
Once your records have been located, you’ll be able to pay the $39 exam fee (which is non-refundable) and schedule your exam.
If for some reason the system can’t locate your information, you’ll need to call PSI at (800) 733- 9267.
To schedule your exam, you’ll need to enter your ZIP code, then a list of test sites closest to you will pop up. You choose the location you want to go to, and then choose from a list of available test dates and times.
Just remember that you’ll have one year from the date of payment to complete your exams.
If you would rather schedule your exam by phone, all you have to do is call (800) 733-9267 during their business hours.
They’re open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
After you’ve passed your theory exam and sent in your application, your practical exam will be scheduled for you within 6-8 weeks.
However, you should call the State Board within a week of sending in your application to ensure that they’ve received everything they need and that you’re in the process of being scheduled.
If you call and find out your application wasn’t approved, they’ll let you know what you’re missing and be able to tell you how to provide them with that information.
You can reach them during their business hours at (973) 504-6400.
Step 4: Arrive at the exam center on exam day
It’s always good practice to arrive 30 minutes early to the testing facility so you have enough time to check in before the test begins.
You won’t be let in if you’re late, and you’ll have to forfeit your exam fee and reschedule.
For the written portion of the exam, you’ll be taking it at the PSI testing site that you chose when scheduling. You’ll need to provide two forms of identification, one primary and one secondary.
Acceptable forms of primary identification (one with a photo) are:
- State-issued driver’s license or non-driver’s ID card
- U.S. passport
- Military ID card
- I-551 Permanent Resident Card
- I-571 Refugee Travel Document
- I-688 Temporary Resident Card
- I-688A Employment Authorization Card
- I-688B Employment Authorization Document
- I-766 Employment Authorization Card
Acceptable forms of secondary identification (one without a photo) are:
- State-issued driver’s license or non-driver’s ID card
- Utility or credit card bill issued in the past 90 days that has your name and current address (cannot be a PO Box number)
- Checking or savings account statement from a bank or credit union, issued within the past 60 days
- Original lease or rental agreement showing your name as the lease or renter
- Property tax bill, statement, or receipt from the past year
- Any letter or correspondence received from the IRS or state tax office in the last year
- First-class mail received from any federal, state, or local government agency in the past six months
It’s also important to remember that they don’t allow any personal belongings to go into the testing room, but they should offer on-site storage if you need it.
Step 5: Take the exam
The theory portion of the exams will be administered at a PSI testing site. The exam is a multiple choice test and is done entirely on the computer.
Before your test actually starts, you’ll have an on-screen tutorial that will help you get used to the computer software. You have up to 15 minutes to familiarize yourself and ask the proctor any questions before your test begins.
Once your exam time starts, you’ll have two hours to complete 115 questions. Out of those, 105 are scored questions, and 10 are pretest questions that are not scored.
Here’s a breakdown of the topics you’ll be asked about during your test:
- Safety, Sanitation and Disinfection – 25 questions
- Professional Conduct – 3 questions
- Hair, Scalp, and Skin Anatomy – 10 questions
- Shampooing, Conditioning, and Scalp Care – 4 questions
- Hair Styling – 8 questions
- Hair Cutting – 15 questions
- Chemical Service – 20 questions
- Shaving and Beard Design – 10 questions
- Skin Care – 5 questions
- New Jersey Laws and Regulations – 5 questions
And if you want a more in-depth look at what each section entails, check out PSI’s Theory Exam Bulletin.
For the practical exam, all exams begin at 10:30 a.m. They state that they aren’t overly strict on the time limit, so long as you complete all that needs to be done.
You’ll be given more information about the practical exam after passing the written portion.
Step 6: Get your results
For the written exam, you’ll get your results immediately, as they’ll pop up on screen. You have to score 75% or higher in order to pass. You’ll also get an official score report printed on-site after your exam.
If you didn’t pass, you’ll get a notification on screen that will indicate your strengths and weaknesses, which will help you know where to study for next time.
You must also pass your practical exam with a score of 75 or higher in order to receive your license.
Step 7: Get your New Jersey Barber license!
Once you’ve passed both your written and practical exams, congratulations! You’re officially a licensed barber!
Upon passing the practical exam, you’ll be issued a license number, which you can find online. They’ll also print your physical license and mail it to you, which you should receive within two weeks.
If you didn’t pass either portion of your exam, you’ll have to reschedule, pay the fees, and try again.
Failing the exams is devastating, but it’s more common than you might think: the pass rate for the written exam nationally is only 50%! However, students who use our Barber Exam Preparation Package have a pass rate of 98.5%!
Frequently asked questions about the New Jersey Barber exam
How do I apply for the New Jersey Barber examination?
To apply for the New Jersey State Board theory exam, your education provider will electronically send over the required information to the testing facility PSI. You’ll receive a confirmation email once your information has been entered into their system.
Then you can go online or call and schedule your exam.
For the practical exam, you’ll have to fill out an application, which can be found online or picked up at the Board’s office.
You’ll have to get it notarized and pay all the required fees. You also might need to have PSI or your school send in official documentation to the State Board if they request it.
I can’t make the date/time of my examination. What should I do?
To reschedule your exam, contact PSI by calling them at 1-800-733-9267.
Their business hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
All exams must be rescheduled at least 48 hours in advance.
Which examination program does New Jersey use?
New Jersey uses the PSI National Exam for the theory portion of their barber exam.
How much does it cost to take the New Jersey Barber exam?
Entry to the New Jersey barber theory exam costs $39, and the fee is non-refundable. The fee for the practical exam can be found on the front page of the application.
Where does the examination take place?
The theory exam takes place at one of the many PSI testing facilities. Those locations can be found on pages 2 and 3 of this testing guide.
How many hours of practical work do I need to qualify for the New Jersey Barber examination?
Barbers in New Jersey need to complete 900 hours of instruction in barbering to qualify for the exams and be eligible for immediate licensure.
If you’ve completed 720 hours of schooling, however, then you’d be eligible to take the early examination.
Can I take the New Jersey Barber examination before I’ve completed the required hours?
Yes, you can take the exam early if you’ve completed 720 hours of schooling.
How long is the barber written examination in New Jersey?
The theory exam in New Jersey for barbers is two hours long.
What’s the format of the written examination?
The written examination is a computer-based, multiple-choice examination.
To know the breakdown of topics you’ll be questioned on, check out pages 9-10 of their Test Bulletin.
If you want to familiarize yourself with the testing format, try out our practice test here.
How long is the barber practical examination?
In New Jersey, all practical exams start at 10:30 a.m. They state that they aren’t strict on the time limit, so as long as you complete the required tasks in a reasonable amount of time, you should be fine.
You’ll receive more information regarding the practical exam upon passing the theory exam, but you could always call the State Board at (973) 504-6400 with any further questions.
What’s the format of the practical examination?
The practical exam is a series of hands-on tasks that you’ll be asked to perform in front of a proctor.
What scores do I need to pass the barber exams?
In New Jersey, to pass your theory exam, you must get a score of 75% or higher. You’ll receive the results immediately on screen after completing your exam.
For the practical exam, you must get a score of 75 or higher in order to pass. You will also be given the results immediately after completion of the test.
What’s the pass rate for the New Jersey Barber exam?
Unfortunately, New Jersey doesn’t publish an individual pass rate for their exams, but the national average pass rate for the written portion is only about 50%.
Check if you’re on track to pass your exam by taking our free barber practice test.
How many times can I re-take the New Jersey Barber examinations if I fail?
You can retake the exams in New Jersey as many times as required.
If it’s your first time retaking the theory exam, you’ll have to wait 15 days to reschedule. But all subsequent attempts can be rescheduled immediately.
You will, however, need to pay the fee each time you retake the test.
How long does the Barber course take in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, there are no time requirements imposed on schooling hours. So, it all depends on whether or not you go to school full time or part time.
If you go to school full time, you can expect to finish your hours in about 6-8 months. However, if you’re only going part-time, it might take you anywhere from a year to a year-and-a-half to complete.
How do I transfer my Barber licence to New Jersey?
To transfer your license to New Jersey, you must contact the State Board where you’re currently licensed. They’re required to submit a certification of your current, active license directly to New Jersey’s State Board.
Once that’s done, you’ll want to call the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling at (973) 504-6400 to make sure they’ve received the certification.
Someone at the Board will review your certification to determine if you qualify for an endorsement or if you have to take the exams.
Generally, to be eligible for endorsement, your home state’s requirements need to be very similar (or even surpass) New Jersey’s.
Unfortunately, that means if you’re coming from a state that did not require a practical exam, you’ll have to take the New Jersey barber exams.
The State Board, after reviewing your certification, will direct you to the appropriate application you must fill out and return to them.
How do I get my Barber license in New Jersey?
To get your New Jersey barber license, you’ll be required to complete 900 hours of instruction in barbering and pass both a theory and practical examination with a score of 75 or higher.
You’ll have to pass the written examination first before you’re eligible to take the practical portion.
Upon passing the written exam, you’ll have to fill out an application for the practical portion. You’ll generally be scheduled within 6-8 weeks following the acceptance of your application, documents, and fees.
Once you pass the practical exam, you’ll get your barbers license in the mail!
How do I renew my barbers license in New Jersey?
Barbers licenses are valid for two years. The Board will send out a notice 60 days prior to your upcoming renewal date. You simply complete a renewal form and pay the $90 renewal fee!