South Carolina Barber License & Training Requirements

Earning a South Carolina Barber’s License

From impressive economic growth in Charleston to classic barbershop revivals around the state, South Carolina is well-positioned to take advantage of double-digit growth in demand for barbers nationwide. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects this rate will continue through 2026, so it’s a great time to check out South Carolina barbering careers.

The South Carolina Board of Barber Examiners manages the state’s licensing process for professional barbers who, by definition, specialize in cutting, styling and trimming hair.

South Carolina Barbering School and Apprenticeship Training Options

Once you’ve declared yourself to be a barbering apprentice by applying for a student permit and meeting its requirements, you’ll be ready to begin earning the 1,500 hours of coursework and training you’ll need to obtain your South Carolina barber’s license.  The courses in your barber licensing requirements should break down as follows:

  • Men’s haircutting – 450 hours
  • Shaving – 10 hours
  • Hygiene and good grooming – 45 hours
  • Bacteriology and sanitation – 35 hours
  • Implements – 8 hours
  • Cutting and styling curly and over-curly hair – 150 hours
  • Mustaches and beards – 15 hours
  • Shampooing and rinsing – 50 hours
  • Hair and scalp treatment – 35 hours
  • Facial treatments – 15 hours
  • Razor haircutting – 45 hours
  • Men’s hairpieces – 25 hours
  • Professional ethics – 30 hours
  • Disorders of the skin, scalp, and hair – 35 hours
  • Anatomy and physiology – 10 hours
  • Shop management – 35 hours
  • Retailing – 35 hours
  • Licensing laws – 5 hours
  • History of barbering – 5 hours
  • Orientation and Introduction of school policy – 5 hours
  • Honing and stropping – 8 hours
  • Chemical hair relaxing – 40 hours
  • Hair coloring – 90 hours
  • Hair waving and curling – 50 hours
  • Permanent waving – 150 hours
  • Electricity and light therapy – 5 hours
  • Chemistry – 90 hours
  • Testing – 24 hours

If you prefer to earn your training as a barber apprentice, the South Carolina Board of Barber Examiners allows you to work directly under a licensed, qualified barber training instructor for 12 months. This path to licensure requires approximately 1,920 training hours.

Submitting your South Carolina Barber License Application

When you’ve completed your barber training hours, you’ll submit all required materials to the state’s chosen exam vendor. Review the South Carolina Registered Barber Candidate Handbook to review the steps involved in earning your license. To submit your application, create an account and include:

  • Your high school diploma
  • Your official barber school transcripts
  • An affidavit of eligibility and training
  • A copy of your Social Security card
  • A current passport-sized photo
  • A copy of your driver’s license or photo identification card
  • All examination fees

Once your complete application materials are received by the test vendor, you will be approved for testing by mail.

South Carolina Barbering Exam and Licensing Specifics

Your approval to test will include a letter authorizing you to take the written theory test and an admission notice to take your practical exam. Schedule your exams and bring this paperwork on your testing day.

Theory Exam

Your multiple-choice theory exam may be written or taken online. It will include questions on the following barbering subjects:

  • Infection control and safety
  • Immunity
  • Facial and shaving services
  • Skin histology
  • Hair and scalp disorders
  • Hair care – scalp and hair analysis
  • Electricity, chemistry, and light
  • Haircutting and styling
  • Elements of design

Practical exam

Bring your own kit and model with you to your scheduled practical barber licensing exam. To successfully pass, you will need to complete the following barbering tasks:

  • Setup and client protection
  • Perform a straight-razor shave
  • Haircutting and blow drying
  • Thermal curling
  • Final summary and cleanup

Once you pass these exams, the test vendor will email your scores to the South Carolina Board, which will issue your barbering licensing within 30 business days.  

South Carolina Out-of-State Barber License Reciprocity

If you’ve already obtained your barber’s license prior to becoming a South Carolina resident, you may be able to obtain your new license through the state’s reciprocity agreement. To learn whether your license qualifies, submit the following to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation:

  • A barber reciprocity application
  • A certified letter from your previous state’s licensing board
  • Two notarized statements from licensed barbers that verify your status
  • Any application fees

Requirements for Renewing Your South Carolina Barber License

Your South Carolina barber license will expire on June 30th every other year. Watch for mail for a renewal notice around May 1 in your renewal years. To complete the process, submit your application and renewal fee to the state Board. South Carolina doesn’t require continuing education hours for barber licensing renewals.

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