New York Barber exam: Everything you need to know

New York is home to some of the top Barbershops in the world.

From high-end salons to traditional shops complete with their signature barber poles, the opportunities for newly qualified Barbers in this fashionable state are great.

But, before you can really make a start on your new career, you’ll need a Barber license. And that means you need to pass the New York Division of Licencing Services Barber exam.

Now, don’t worry if the thought of scheduling an exam fills you with dread. On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about scheduling and preparing for your exam, plus answers to all the most common questions.

The process of registering for (and passing!) your New York Barber exam

Congratulations, you did it! You’ve completed a program at an accredited Barber school (or finished your apprenticeship training). And that means that you’re SO close to your dream career as a Barber!

Soon you’ll be responsible for keeping your clients’ looking and feeling great.

Exciting, right?

But before you can concentrate fully on keeping your clients’ looking dapper, you’ll need to pass a practical examination.

And that can feel a little scary. Sure, you’re used to shearing and trimming. You’re even used to being observed (after all, your trainer has probably been keeping a keen eye on you as you learn your trade).

But there’s something different about an exam… It’s somehow more daunting.

You don’t know the scorer. The environment is unknown. And you’re under pressure to pass.

But, don’t worry, we believe that being prepared is the best way to feel confident. And that’s why we’re here to walk you through the process step by step. Starting with…

Step 1: Check you’re eligible to take the New York Division of Licencing Services Practical Barber exam

In New York, you don’t need to sit a written examination to qualify as a Barber. You do, however, need to take a practical examination.

Now, the requirements for taking the practical exam depend on your method of study.

So, for New York school-based candidates, you must:

  • Have successfully completed your Barber course in an NYS approved school
  • Completed a one-time course of study regarding “the transmission of contagious diseases and the proper methods of sanitation and sterilization”

Whilst candidates having completed an apprenticeship must:

  • Have worked as an NYS registered Barber Apprentice for 2 years

And candidates from outside of New York must*:

  • Submit the certification of licensure; course certificate and transcript with a breakdown of topics covered in course OR
  • Certification from state board proving 3 years of experience in another state or country and 2 Experience Statements

* Candidates from Maine, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania may apply for a license by reciprocity. This means that they do not need to sit the practical examination.

OK, so you’ve checked that you’re eligible. So, what’s next?

Step 2: Submit a Barber License application with the New York Division of Licensing Services.

Before you can take your exam, you’ll need to apply for your license. And to do that, you’ll create an account.

You can create your account here and a step by step guide for applying for your license can be found here.

And, as part of the application process, you will be required to pay a fee of $40.

Step 3: Schedule your practical exam

Once your application has been processed by the New York Division of Licensing Services, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for scheduling your practical exam.

Once you have received this email, you will need to:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Click on ‘Records’ (your status should read ‘Eligible for exam’ once you have received your confirmation email)
  3. Click the ‘Record Number’ link to open the record details
  4. Scroll down until you see ‘Examinations’ and click the triangle to select
  5. Select the Barber exam in your language of choice ’
  6. Choose your exam slot and center then click ‘continue’
  7. Pay your exam fee of $15

You will receive a confirmation email. Keep this safe as you will need it later.

Once you have booked your exam, be sure to make a note of the time and date so that you don’t miss your slot!

Step 4: Arrive at the exam center on exam day

You should arrive at the test center in good time to allow time to sign in and familiarize yourself with the exam process.

Once there, you’ll need to sign in using a current ID from the following list:

  • driver’s license
  • state-issued identification (ex. non-driver ID)
  • IDNYC Card (NYC Identification Card)
  • military ID
  • United States Passport
  • Employment Authorization Card (issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  • United States INS issued ID
  • Certificate of US citizenship
  • Foreign Passport
  • Brazilian, Mexican, Honduran, and Ecuadorian Consular ID

You will also need to show a copy of your examination confirmation, which should include all of your examination information, including your candidate number.

During your exam, you must ensure that all electronic devices are switched off (including your cell phone). And you must not bring any of the following items into the test with you:

  • Large bags
  • Books (including dictionaries)
  • Other reference material
  • Food or drink

Bear in mind that there may not be lockers or storage facilities at your test center, and if you are found to have any of these banned items with you during the exam, you will be asked to leave. So, it’s best to leave anything that isn’t essential at home.

During your exam, you’ll be expected to dress in suitable attire. According to the website, this means:

  • A clean barber jacket must be worn
  • Closed-toe and closed-heel shoes that cover the top of the foot (no canvas) must be worn
  • And, hands must be washed with soap and water prior to your arrival

You will also need to bring some supplies and a live model with you on the day.

(A full list of the supplies you’ll need can be found here.)

Step 5: Take the practical exam

Your practical exam will last for approximately 1 ½ hours, and you will be asked to demonstrate the following:

  • Professional Appearance, Preparation of Work Area & Client Preparation (10 minutes)
  • Hair Cutting Techniques (30 minutes)
  • Shampooing Techniques (5 minutes)
  • Shaving – Facial Hair (15 minutes)
  • Facial Massage (10 minutes)
  • Clean Up of Work Area (5 minutes)

A detailed breakdown of what each task includes can be found here.

Step 6: Get your results

Unfortunately, you won’t find out whether you have passed or failed your exam whilst at your test center.

Instead, you will be notified by email once your results are available to view.

If you have scored 70% or more, you have passed your exam. Anything less and you will need to take the test again.

Step 7: Get your New York Barber license!

Congratulations! Now you’ve passed your practical exam, you’re a fully qualified Barber.

Now all you have to do is wait for your official license to arrive by mail.

So, go ahead and celebrate… You’ve earned it!

Frequently asked questions about the New York Barber exam

How do I apply for the New York Barber examination?

Before you can take your exam, you’ll need to apply for your license. And to do that, you’ll create an account.

You can create your account here and a step by step guide for applying for your license can be found here.

Once your application has been processed, you will receive an email instructing you on how to schedule your exam.

I can’t make the date/time of my examination. What should I do?

If you need to reschedule your examination, you must give at least 6 days’ notice. If you don’t give a minimum of 6 days’ notice, you may forfeit your exam fees.

How much does it cost to take the New York Barber exam?

The practical exam for Barbers in New York costs $15.

Where does the examination take place?

You may take your practical exam in any of the following locations:


Potter Career & Technical Center

705 Potter Road, Room 208

West Seneca, NY 14224


Barber & Beauty Institute of New York

266 Greenwich Street

Hempstead, NY 11550


Westchester Barber Academy

206 S. Fulton Ave

Mount Vernon, NY 10550


Tribeca Barber & Beauty School

95-16 63rd Road

Rego Park, NY 11374


New Creations Unisex Shop

647 Jefferson Avenue (corner of Columbia)

Rochester, NY 14611


Paul Mitchell The School Schenectady

411 State Street

Schenectady, NY 12305

How many hours of practical work do I need to qualify for the New York Barber examination?

There is no set number of hours required to take the New York Barber examination.


  • Apprentices must have been in their position for a minimum of two years
  • And school-based learners must have successfully completed their course (the hours required are set by each individual school)

Do I need a physical to get my New York Barber License?

Yes. You need to be examined by a physician, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner to apply for your New York Barber License.

How long is the New York Barber’s practical examination?

The Barber practical examination lasts for 1 ½ hours.

What’s the format of the practical examination?

You will be given a set amount of time to demonstrate a range of different Barber techniques.

A full breakdown of what the exam includes can be found here.

What score do I need to pass my practical exam?

You need a score of at least 70% to pass your Barber exam in New York.

Can I take my Barber examination again if I fail?

Yes, but you will need to pay $15 for each resit.

How long does Barber school take in New York?

The time it takes to complete Barber school varies depending on your school. There is no State-mandated number of hours.

How long does a Barber apprenticeship take in New York?

While the exact time varies, apprenticeships must last for a minimum of two years.

Can I transfer my Barber license to New York?

Yes. For barbers, there is a reciprocal agreement between New York State and Maine, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico.

Because these states have very similar licensing requirements to New York, applicants from these states will not need to sit an exam.

However, an original certificate (with a raised seal) from one of those states, along with a completed Barber Operator Application must be provided.

How do I get my Barber license in New York?

To get your Barber license in New York, you must either complete an approved program of study at barber school or complete an apprenticeship.

You will then be required to complete a license application and sit a practical examination.

Once you have met all of these requirements, you will be issued with a license.

How do I renew my Barber license in New York?

You must renew your Barber license every 4 years.

3 months before your license renewal is due, you will receive an email that will lead you step-by-step through the application process for renewal.

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