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How to get a Barber License in Pennsylvania

For Jolie barbering instructor Cindy Payne, working as a licensed barber is a dream come true. “It’s what I always wanted to do,” she said. “As a barber, you can become a barber shop owner, an educator, a sales rep for your favorite clipper brand or a platform artist…the opportunities are endless!”

If you share Payne’s passion for the barbering industry, you might have thought about the path required for earning your barber license in Pennsylvania. The simple answer, is that you must attend a licensed barbering school, complete a minimum of 1250 hours of training and pass the state’s licensing exam. The key to navigating this process successfully, however, is choosing the right school.

Qualities of the Best Barbering School

The best barbering schools in Pennsylvania are those that are completely committed to graduating highly-trained, successful barbers who are well prepared for the state exam. These schools are not only licensed by the state, but are accredited by at least one recognized accrediting agency, as well. They also focus intently on offering students the most comprehensive and up-to-date curriculum from passionate and dedicated instructors – those like Ms. Payne. “What I enjoy most about teaching, is the experience of showing another person how to love this industry as much as I do,” she said.

The best barbering schools also focus on teaching their students through hands-on learning – not just bookwork. So in addition to classroom study of sanitation, bacteriology, common skin disorders and skin physiology, students in barbering school spend many hours engaged in the practices of cutting and styling hair, giving straight razor shaves, performing hair coloring techniques and other important skills. These techniques are first practiced on mannequins and fellow students, and then under the direct supervision of the barbering instructors in the student clinic.

Earning a Barber License

After competing barbering school, graduates must apply for the barber license exam – a two-part examination given by the State Board of Barber Examiners. This exam consists of a written component to test the applicant’s knowledge of barber practices, sanitation, health, hygiene, skin physiology and barber tools. In the practical component, applicants are asked to put their knowledge to work by demonstrating their technique and knowledge of barbering principals on a live person. Applicants must bring a volunteer to the exam – perhaps a fellow barbering graduate or a supportive friend or family member. Applicants must also supply all of their own tools.

After successfully passing both exams, a barber license will be granted. As a licensed barber, you’ll then be eligible for employment at any of the barbershops in the state.

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