West Virginia Barber License & Training Requirements

Earning a West Virginia Barber License

Barbershops don’t get more authentic than the Bully Trap in Charleston, where shoeshines and straight-razor shaves are both on the menu. Reviews claim the free hot shave is icing on the cake at the Clip Joint in Morgantown. Demand for barbers nationwide is growing at 10 percent, a rate the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects through 2026. Earn your license now, and you’ll enjoy the career benefits for years to come.

Barbers in West Virginia are licensed by the West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists. By obtaining 1,200 hours of Board-certified training at a licensed cosmetology school or barber college you can earn the license you’ll need to cut, style, and design men’s hair, beards, and mustaches.

West Virginia Barbering School

Finding a Board-approved barber college lays the foundation for your education and eventual barbering career. Once you’ve contacted your barber school and made enrollment arrangements, be sure to complete your student registration application and submit it to the Board. Include your anticipated start date on the form and submit it with these requested items:

  • Copy of high school diploma or GED
  • Copy of Social Security card
  • Recent passport-sized photo
  • Government-issued ID
  • TB test and health certification
  • Current registration fee

Barber Training Hours

Your barber coursework must include at least 1,200 hours of theory and practical barber training. Within those requirements, the Board-specified hours break down into these categories:

General Professional Information – 100 hours

  • Professional development
  • Effective communication
  • Business management/ownership
  • State law
  • Sanitation and general infection control
  • First aid

Introduction to Barbering – 3 hours

  • History of barbering
  • Professional image

Science of Barbering – 350 hours

  • Microbiology
  • Infection control
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Electricity and chemistry
  • Disorders of skin, hair, and scalp

Professional Barbering – 747 hours

  • Treatment of hair and scalp
  • Shaving and facial hair design
  • Men’s haircutting and styling
  • Men’s hair replacements

Submitting your West Virginia Barber License Application

With 1,200 training hours under your belt, you’ll be ready to apply for your barber licensing exams. In West Virginia, D.L. Roope Administrations is the state’s test vendor. Using your school-supplied application or submitting an online version through the vendor’s online portal, you can complete the application process.

Refer to the D.L. Roope Administrations’ West Virginia Barber Candidate Handbook for details and useful tips on the application, exam, and licensing process. If you are a barber stylist candidate, refer to the West Virginia Barber Stylist Candidate Handbook for your equivalent information.

Barbering Exams

With your application submitted and exam details ironed out, your next step will be to complete your written and practical exams on the way to earning your West Virginia barbering license.

Written Exam

The test vendor’s website also includes a link to a useful outline of the written exam they call the Candidate Information Bulletin. Study this prior to taking your exam to ensure you’re able to complete the multiple-choice exam in the allotted 90 minutes. The theory exam topics break down as follows:

  • Scientific concepts – 30%
  • Hair care services – 50%
  • Facial hair services – 10%
  • Skin care and facial services 10%

The West Virginia State Law exam is administered along with the written exam. You’ll have 30 minutes to complete this exam that tests your knowledge of the state’s barber and cosmetology laws, rules and regulations.

Practical Exam

Refer to the West Virginia Barber Candidate Handbook or West Virginia Barber Stylist Candidate Handbook for the Board-approved details on testing kits, supplies and mannequin heads. The standard barbering exam, which lasts approximately two hours, tests your ability to perform key barbering services and covers:

  • Setup and client protection
  • Haircutting
  • Shaving with a straight razor
  • Candidate summary and final cleanup

Earning a 70% or better on both your written and practical exams will qualify you to receive your barber’s license. Watch the test vendor’s online results page for your test results within 7-10 days. Be sure to print a copy for your records and to include with your license application.

West Virginia Barber License Application

You can submit your application online via the D.L. Roope Administrations West Virginia online application portal or by mail with your downloaded application for registration. Along with your application be sure to submit your:

  • Official barber school transcripts
  • Copy of high school diploma or GED
  • Copy of licensing exam results
  • Copy of TB/health certificate
  • Passport-sized photo
  • Copy of government-issued photo ID
  • Copy of Social Security card
  • Applicable licensing fee

When the state Board has received and approved your application materials, it will issue your West Virginia barber license.

Out-of-State Barber License Reciprocity in West Virginia

If you’re already a barber when you move to West Virginia, the state expedites license reciprocity for barbers from states with comparable licensing processes. Visit the state Board’s license transfer page for detailed instructions and a list of current list of states that meet this qualification.

For non-qualifying states, reciprocity is considered on an individual basis. You’ll still need to carefully complete the West Virginia reciprocity registration form. The process will take longer, but the Board will contact you if you’re eligible to schedule a State Law Exam.

Mail your completed reciprocity form to:

West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists
1201 Dunbar Avenue
Dunbar, West Virginia 25064

Requirements for Renewing Your West Virginia Barber License

West Virginia requires barbers to renew their license each January 1st. Your renewal is contingent on earning 4 hours of continuing education, so plan your training in time to meet the annual deadline and keep all course records — courses, subjects, dates and credit hours — in good standing in case you face a Board audit. Continuing education enables you stay current on new styles and products, knowledge that can quickly help you build a sizeable client list.

If renewals are coming up and you haven’t received notice, the Board’s website includes an Individual Renewal tab in the top left corner. Alternatively, contact the board with a brief statement of your intent to renew that includes your:

  • Barber licensing number
  • Social security number
  • Current address
  • Phone number
  • All applicable renewal fees

West Virginia also requires you to renew your booth rental certificate annually by July 1st. Refer to the Board’s booth/chair rental registration form for the latest information.

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