Tennessee Barber License & Training Requirements

Obtaining Your Tennessee Barbering School License

Tennessee barber shops span the gamut from traditional to uber modern, offering clients everything from local history lessons to a game of pool alongside their cut and shave. The state’s diverse industries — transportation, agriculture, tourism — ensure a broad clientele pool for licensed barbers to serve.

From Memphis to Knoxville and points in between, Tennessee’s own barbering boom is already underway.  And since Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projections indicate double-digit growth in demand for licensed barbers through 2026, a Tennessee barber license could be your ticket to employment wherever you settle in the state. Regardless of their field, Tennesseans require the skills of professionally trained barbers for their grooming needs.

Tennessee Barber’s License Overview

Ultimately, your Tennessee barber license will be issued and renewed by the  Tennessee Board of Barber Examiners. Licensed barbers have successfully demonstrated their ability to cut and style hair, shave with a straight razor and provide other barbering services.

Tennessee barbering students acquire their skills and knowledge through Board-certified training programs that require a minimum of 1,500 instructional hours earned during a maximum of 8 hours a day.

Your 40 hours of weekly training in Tennessee barber classes must meet these licensing requirements areas as directed by the Tennessee Board:

  • Hygiene and bacteriology
  • Scientific fundamentals of barbering
  • Histology of the hair
  • Elementary chemistry relating to sterilization
  • Massage and manipulation
  • Structure of the head, face, and neck

When you’ve covered the required subjects and met the minimum training hours requirements, you will be eligible to take your Tennessee barber licensing exams.

Submitting your Tennessee Barber License Application

While the Tennessee Board determines your coursework and eventual license, a third party oversees the actual exams. When you’re ready to apply to take your test, you will submit your credentials to the licensing vendor for pre-approval. Once you have that approval, take these steps:


  • Schedule your online exams, which will be offered at separate places.
  • Pay your exam fees.


You’ll need to pass the practical and written exams with scores of 70% or higher to be eligible for your Tennessee barbering license.

Master Barber Practical Exam

You will be allotted 3 hours and 20 minutes to take your complete exam at your chosen exam center; be aware that individual sections have specific time allotments. You will need to bring a male model who is 16 years of age or older and a mannequin on which to perform these services as well as your own kit, which the exam bulletin details. When instructed, you will perform the following barber tasks:


  • Setup and disinfecting


    • Plain manicure on 2 fingers (index and middle)


  • Shaving — display strokes and complete shave


    • Facial treatment that includes one manipulation that you choose


  • Haircutting
  • Permanent waving
  • Blow drying and thermal curling


  • Permanent waving
  • Single process coloring


  • Disinfecting

Master Barber Theory exam

You may take this computer-based test at one of six Tennessee locations. The first portion of the two-hour, closed-book exam covers barbering theory and tests your knowledge in these specific areas:


  • Sanitation, disinfection, and safety


    • Shampooing and conditioning hair
    • Hair coloring
    • Nail care and skin care


  • Tennessee licensing and regulations
  • Haircutting and hairstyling
  • Chemical waving and relaxing


The second portion of the exam tests your knowledge of Tennessee laws relating to barbering services. You will have 40 minutes to complete this closed-book portion:

  • Sanitation, disinfection, and safety
  • Licensing and regulations

Once you pass your exams, the test vendor will provide you with the documentation to apply to the Board for your Tennessee barber license. You will need to submit your application and applicable fees to:

Tennessee Board of Barber Examiners
500 James Robertson Pkwy
Nashville, TN 37243-1148

Tennessee Out-of-State Barber License Reciprocity

If you earned your license in another state that matches or exceeds Tennessee barbering license requirements, you may qualify for a reciprocal license. To apply for reciprocity, refer to Tennessee’s barber reciprocity information for proof of identity, required affidavits, proof of previous licensing and applicable fees. Be sure to have your license secured before barbering in the state.

Requirements for Renewing Your Tennessee Barber License

Like most states, Tennessee barber licenses renewals are required every two years in the same month you originally received your license. To renew, go to the state’s Online Licensing Services, complete the online form, and pay all applicable renewal fees.

The Board does not require Tennessee barbers to enroll in continuing education for license renewal. But keep in mind that learning about new techniques and products can be beneficial to your bottom line. In addition, completing advanced courses may qualify you for management positions or help you run your business better if you choose to open your own shop.

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