What Are the Requirements Need to Get A Barber’s License

by Jay Kang | Updated on April 6th, 2023

Consider becoming a barber if you are an imaginative person with artistic skills and a love for hair. Those working in this field need to be excellent at providing customers with a warm and pleasant environment. 

There are a few certifications you must have before working as a barber. We examine what a barber is, what they normally perform, and how to obtain a barber certificate in this post.

How to become certified as a barber

To earn a barber certificate, follow these steps:

1. Finish your high school studies

You must have a high school graduation and be at least 16 years old to enroll in a barber certificate program. For a profession as a barber, basic aptitude in English, arithmetic, writing, and reading would be beneficial. There are no particular courses that must be taken in high school in order to become a barber.

2. Fulfill the minimal academic requirements

There are several methods to fund your studies to become a barber. These are three typical career paths:


If you want to apprentice, you will work closely with a qualified barber who will guide you during the course of your training. Although the duration of an apprenticeship varies from state to state, it usually lasts two years.

Barber diploma or certificate

Both a barber certificate and a barber diploma are equivalent credentials. A barber certificate is a brief course that focuses on the fundamentals of hair maintenance and style. It covers classes in beard shaving, facial hair grooming, hair care methods, and cutting and styling hair. 

Courses in salon administration and professional growth are offered in barber certificate programs. After completing the barber certificate program, you are eligible to sit for the barber licensure test required by your state.

Cosmetology degree

The duration of a cosmetology degree ranges from nine months to two years. A cosmetology degree program is available in community colleges, technical colleges, and vocational schools. Some colleges provide four-year cosmetology programs.

A cosmetology degree covers hairstyle, chemical treatments, beard and shave care, as well as hair treatments. It also covers other relevant topics including facials, cosmetics, and nail care. This degree also teaches you how to launch and manage your own salon.

This degree has the advantage that certain states let graduates take the barber licensing test without first finishing a curriculum in barbering. Such applicants typically need to enroll in several extra courses to gain barber-specific skills.

3. Understand the licensing requirements in your state

It’s crucial to learn about the barber license requirements in your state before beginning this professional path. You must pass a state-approved licensing test to practice barbering in that state. 

There may be a different licensing test for every state. You must show proof that you have finished a 1,200-hour program, put in a certain amount of effort, and passed a test with both written and practical components.

A written and a practical test are both part of the licensing process. There are also oral exams in several states. Your barbering abilities, including shampooing, cutting, massaging, stropping, and honing, are tested in the practical exam. Examinators check your methods for cleaning and disinfecting, how you handle the mock customer, and how you arrange your tools and supplies.

Online barber license

If you possess the required barbering abilities to pass the state exam, obtaining a barber license online is quick and fast. Although you will still need to enroll in barber school to get your hours, you may speed up the process by taking all of your studies online. To meet your demands, you just need to select the best online barber school.

Review the rules, statutes, and regulations of your state’s licensing program to find out more about how to obtain a barber license online. There is also a list of accredited barbering schools and programs in your area. You could even be able to enroll in free barber schools and training courses. Most community colleges in your area will, at the very least, provide affordable evening programs.

4. Keep renewing your license

Every one to two years, most states require barbers to renew their licenses. You must provide documentation that you have completed the continuing education credits in order to renew your barber license. Also, there is a charge for renewing your license. You must repeat your state’s licensing test if you forget to renew your license and it expires.

Due to the reciprocal system, you might be allowed to transfer your license if you shift states. States accept licenses from other states under this arrangement. The regulating board may grant you a reciprocal license if your education and experience are comparable to those of your new state’s standards. You might need to take extra classes or pass the state’s barber test if your education and experience don’t satisfy the new state’s criteria.

5. Get a certificate for a professional barber

For barbers with at least one to seven years of professional experience, the American Barber Association (ABA) gives recognition. Having this credential, which is exclusively available to ABA members, is a hallmark of a highly qualified and reputable barber.

Is attending barber school required?

You may be wondering if there is a method to obtain your barber license without attending school. It’s not advised, even though it’s theoretically possible in some states. You’ll need to use your own tools and pick up the necessary skills on your own.

To assist, there are online teaching packages and YouTube videos, but even the best of these resources cannot match a program at a barber school. A barber school enrollment is also required if you want to receive a completion certificate. 

Starting an apprenticeship is the other route to becoming a barber, but it is a considerably more difficult and time-consuming process. So, enrolling in classes the old-fashioned way is much more practical than attempting to gain experience on your own.


Students who want to become barbers must complete a program that has been approved by the State Department of Barbering or has been accredited by a nationally renowned accreditation agency.

The National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS) is the most renowned national organization for the accreditation of barber programs. Federal funds and student financial aid are available to students enrolled in barber programs that have received NACCAS approval.

The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE) are other accrediting organizations acknowledged by the US Department of Education. Each state has its own barber board that approves certified schools in addition to these internationally renowned organizations.


To become a barber, there are two basic educational routes. You can take a barber education course first, then register for the state licensure examination. Alternatively, you may earn a degree in cosmetology and work as a barber. 

Many states permit cosmetology graduates to take the barber licensure examination without also finishing a separate barber program. To be able to take the state barber test, cosmetologists might need to take a few more courses.

Attending a reputable barber program is your best option if all you want to do is be a barber. But, you can think about obtaining your barber license and pursuing a cosmetology degree if you want to be a barber but also want to leave your employment possibilities open.

In some areas, you can take the exam without finishing a formal degree if you complete a barber apprenticeship beforehand. Under the guidance of a barber who has received state approval and a license, an apprenticeship must be completed.

In certain places, including New Hampshire, both a degree and an apprenticeship are necessary.

Frequently asked questions

What advantages can barbering certificates offer?

A professional barber certificate has the following advantages:

  • Recognition:  You will be recognized as a qualified barber by industry professionals if you have a barber certificate. Clients may trust and feel at ease with a barber who holds a barber’s certificate, increasing your clientele.
  • Opportunities:  Most barbershops prefer hiring certified barbers because they inspire client confidence. A  full-time professional barber can charge more than unlicensed barbers because they have more repeat customers and can do so.

How much time does it take to train to be a barber?

To offer their services in their state, barbers must have a license. They must have finished at least 1,500 hours of education in order to be eligible to sit for the state-mandated licensing exam. A typical program lasts 9 to 24 months. Writing the licensing exam and receiving full licensure may take a year.

Can women work in barbershops?

There are several female barbers, although men still predominate in the profession. Just 26% of barbers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are women. For both male and female barbers, the same training is required.

What distinguishes a cosmetologist from a barber?

The training required to become a cosmetologist and a barber is comparable. Both acquire skills in styling, caring for, and beard grooming. Barbers concentrate more on men’s hair and beards, whilst cosmetologists concentrate on other cosmetic procedures including skin and nail care.

Can you become a barber after completing an online program?

A practical career needing practical training is barbering. Although there are online courses for barbers, you must finish in-person training to become a licensed barber. You cannot become a certified barber by taking only online courses because the majority of states require barber applicants to fulfill a specific amount of practical hours. 

For continuing education credits, you can enroll in online barber programs. These programs consist of:

  • Cosmetology law
  • Barbering law
  • Beauty industry
  • Safety and sanitation

Final thoughts

Becoming a barber is no easy feat, but if you truly want it, nothing is impossible. The guide above should help you navigate through your dream of becoming a barber and owning your very own barbershop. Good luck!

Last update on 2024-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Jay Kang

Just because i'm asian does not mean I don't need shaving. I always wanted to grow a beard when I was young, now I need to shave because hair growth for me is a problem. I'm going through what every man will and has gone through before.