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Pennsylvania Barber License & Training Requirements

Barbering Courses Required to Become a Licensed Pennsylvania Barber

From Pittsburg to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania barber schools are training a new generation of barbers to provide men’s haircuts, styling, and coloring. And because barbers are also trained to use straight razors, these professionals can offer straight razor shaves, beard and mustache trims, and other traditional barbering services.

In Pennsylvania, barber licensing requirements are regulated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Barber Examiners. If you’re at least 16 and have completed 8th grade, you can qualify for your barber’s license by earning 1,250 of education and training in one of two ways:

Attend a Pennsylvania Barbering School

The first method for earning your Pennsylvania barber license is to complete your 1,250 of barber course training hours at a licensed barber college. The Pennsylvania Board requires that your training include these barber classes:

  • Honing and stropping – 25 Hours
  • Shaving with a straight razor – 240 Hours
  • Haircutting, styling, and hairpieces – 535 Hours
  • Shampoo and scalp massage – 25 Hours
  • Hair coloring – 25 Hours
  • Massaging (facials) – 25 Hours
  • Hair waving or curling – 25 Hours
  • Scalp and skin disease – 50 Hours
  • Pennsylvania state barber law, rules, and regulations – 50 Hours
  • Sterilization and sanitation – 50 Hours
  • Hygiene – 25 Hours
  • Bacteriology – 25 Hours
  • Electricity – 25 hours
  • Professional ethics and barbershop demeanor – 25 hours
  • Manager barber: instructions, shop management, etc. – 50 Hours

Earn Pennsylvania Barbershop Apprentice Training

The second training method is to complete your 1,250 hours in a licensed barbershop. If you go this route, you’ll need a teacher who agrees to be your direct supervisor for the duration of your barber training. Your teacher will be responsible for educating you in the same techniques, methods, and subjects you would study in barber classes and for submitting a quarterly hour report on your behalf. Once you’ve located a teacher for your barber apprenticeship, submit a new barber student registration to the Pennsylvania barbering board.

Pennsylvania Barber Training and Licensing Requirements

When you’re ready to apply for your Pennsylvania barber license with the Board of Barber Examiners, submit your application to the state’s current testing vendor. By completing this step you in effect apply to take your barber licensing exam and simultaneously apply for your Pennsylvania barber’s license.

To properly submit your application, you should download and read the Pennsylvania Barber Candidate Handbook before submitting your dual-purpose application for professional licensure by examination.

Be sure to provide copies of your barber school training affidavit and high school transcripts with your application as well as all licensing, theory examination, and practical examination fees.

Reciprocity for Out-of-State Barber Licenses

The Pennsylvania Board periodically modifies the list of states from which it accepts reciprocity applications, so check the Board website to see whether your license qualifies and you can skip the state exams. If it does, you won’t be required to take an exam. Instead, submit your application, proof of original license, and application fees to the Pennsylvania Board of Barber Examiners.

If your current license is from a non-reciprocal state, you’ll follow the same application process as if you were applying for your initial license.

All incoming barbers seeking Pennsylvania barbering licenses should submit their application materials to the state Board of Barber Examiners.

Pennsylvania Barbering Exam and Licensing Specifics

Once you complete the examination and license application, the state’s testing vendor will notify you when you’re approved to take both your Pennsylvania barber’s license practical and theory exams. Reviewing timelines, both tests, and test-taking tips in the Pennsylvania Barber Candidate Handbook is a great way to prepare for your test.

Test 1: Practical Skills Examination

This 2-hour exam tests your barbering skills for a randomly selected set of services. Using your own kit and model, you will complete tasks including:  

  • Haircutting/hairstyling
  • Shaving
  • Infection control and safety
  • Skin care
  • Hair coloring/bleaching/highlighting
  • Permanent waving
  • Chemical straightening and relaxing

Test 2: Theory Skills Examination

Your written theory exam includes 130 multiple-choice questions that you will have 2 ¼ hours to complete. Potential test subjects include:

  • Haircutting and styling
  • Rules, regulations, and safety
  • Hair/scalp structure and care
  • Shaving/beard design
  • Chemical services
  • Skin care

You can take both tests at these Board of Barber Examiner-approved locations. You’ll receive your scores the same day. Once the Board receives your scores, it issues your Pennsylvania barbering license.

Requirements for Renewing Your Pennsylvania Barber License

To maintain your licensing, you’ll need to renew yours every two years. All Pennsylvania barber licenses expire April 30, so watch for notification 60-90 days before that date on your renewal year cycle. To complete the renewal process, submit the form and fee required to the Board of Barber Examiners.  

Providing the latest cuts, beard and mustache trims, straight razor shaves and other barbershop services is rewarding, in-demand work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects double-digit growth in demand for barbers through 2026. That means earning your Pennsylvania barber license now could be your ticket to gainful employment for many years to come.

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