Earning a Virginia Barber License
Whether their clients prefer a classic straight-razor shave or seek out the contemporary amenities of a modern sports-themed barbershop, Virginia barbers work hard to cut, shave and style everyone who walks through the door. With demand for barbers nationwide growing at double digits — a trend the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects through 2026 — it’s a great time to acquire the training to become a licensed barber.
The path to becoming a skilled, licensed barber capable of meeting the diverse grooming demands of everyone from military personnel and government officials to students and retirees begins with obtaining a license from the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR).
The requirements for that license are established by the Virginia Board for Barbers and Cosmetology. This body regulates the education, exams, and licensing for personal care professionals in the state, including barbers. Under this guidance, barber students learn the personal hygiene, hair cutting, razoring, scalp, facial and other related services required to become licensed barbers.
Virginia Barbering School Training and Exams
Once you choose a licensed Virginia barbering school to attend, you’ll be immersed in 1,500 hours of barber training that covers a variety of theory-based and practical subjects, including:
- State law, regulations and professional ethics
- Business and shop management
- Client consultation
- Personal hygiene
- Cutting the hair with a razor, clippers, shears
- Tapering the hair
- Thinning the hair
- Shampooing the hair
- Styling the hair with a hand hair dryer
- Thermal waving
- Permanent waving with chemicals
- Trimming a moustache or beard
- Applying hair color
- Lightening or toning the hair
- Analyzing skin or scalp conditions
- Administering scalp treatments
- Board for barbers and cosmetology regulations
- Giving facial massage or treatment
- Sanitizing and maintaining implements
Be aware there are specific core-course hours required within your overall 1,500 of training:
- Hair and scalp treatments – 10
- Hair styling – 320
- Tinting – 15
- Bleaching and frosting – 10
- Temporary rinses – 10
- Semi-permanent color – 10
- Cold permanent waving or chemical relaxing – 25
- Hair shaping – 50
- Wig care, styling, placing on model – 5
- Finger waving and thermal waving – 30
- Facials and waxing – 5
Submitting your Virginia Barber License Application
Your barber school will contact the state testing vendor to verify you’ve completed all training requirements and are eligible to take your barbering theory and practical exams.
The state’s testing vendor, PCS, provides details and application links applications on its Virginia Barber and Cosmetology Related Professions page. Start there to find the steps, materials and fees required to apply for your exams and barber license.
The Virginia Barber Examination Candidate Information Bulletin also provides important information on exam dates and locations, scheduling and rescheduling, testing guidelines and more.
Your written theory exam tests your knowledge of barbering subjects and Virginia barbering law. The two-hour test includes 110 multiple-choice questions and is administered via computer. The general test sections and their weight in the overall test include:
- Virginia state general laws, rules, and regulations – 29%
- Safety, sanitation, and infection control – 26%
- Barbering services – 19%
- Implements, tools, and equipment – 15%
- Anatomy and physiology – 6%
- Product knowledge and chemistry – 5%
Your timed practical exam gauges your ability to complete a variety of barber services. You will complete this hands-on test using your own kit and mannequin. The various timed sections of the exam include:
- Disinfection and setup – 10 minutes
- Blood spill procedures demo – 10 minutes
- Facial shave – 32 minutes
- Taper haircut with neck and outline shave – 47 minutes
- Blow dry demo – 12 minutes
- Facial – 22 minutes
- Disinfection and cleanup – unlimited
Once you’ve completed your exams, you’ll receive an email from vendor PCS within 10 business days. (PCS will also notify the Virginia Board that you’ve passed your tests and are eligible for licensing.) Complete your Licensure Fee Notice to the DPOR following PCS’s notification, and the Board will issue your license.
Requirements for Renewing Your Virginia Barber License
Be sure to keep your DPOR registration current. The department’s online services webpage offers videos and link to guide you through the license renewal process. The fees and payments information page provides additional helpful links.
Virginia’s barber license renewal process doesn’t include any continuing education requirement. However, it’s still a good idea to keep up with product and technique changes in the barbering industry. Whether you’re eager to build your client base or even open your own business, up-to-date skills are always advantageous in the personal care industry.
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