Pennsylvania Licensing Overview for a Barber

Licensing for a barber in Pennsylvania is controlled by the Pennsylvania State Board of Barber Examiners.

General Guidelines for a Barber in Pennsylvania

Specific requirements to perform barber services can generally be used as a guideline, but make sure to check with your local governing rules and regulations.

Who’s allowed to perform these services?

Anyone holding a barber license

General requirements for a barber license?

Barber License – 1,250 hours
Barber/Cosmetologist Crossover – 695 hours
Barber Teacher – Barber License, 5 years of work experience

What’s the state licensing site for a barber?

Pennsylvania State Board of Barber Examiners

What are some training programs available for a barber?

See training programs

How long is a license good for and when do I need to renew?

Renews  in even-numbered years by January 31.

What are fees associated with licensing?


Barber Licensing

A barber is a professional who specializes in the cutting, styling, and grooming of men and boy’s hair and beards. This profession has a long-standing history filled with tradition and is an important subsection of the beauty industry. Many of the techniques and tools of barbering are as old as the profession itself. This includes the tools, techniques and overall aesthetic of the barbershop itself. Barbers are experts in their field. A barber’s job is primarily in customer satisfaction, which revolves around the customer service, friendliness, and communication of the barber.

To become a licensed barber in Pennsylvania there are several steps that must be taken.

  1. The completion of a formal barber program or apprenticeship
  2. Apply for registration with the Pennsylvania State Board of Barber Examiners
  3. Undertake state licensing exams
  4. Ensure your license remains up to date


The completion of a formal barber program or apprenticeship

In the state of Pennsylvania, there is only one method in which to gain the necessary qualifications to become a licensed barber: a formal barbering program. Students are required to undertake a minimum of 1,250 hours of registered coursework at a barber college. This will be sufficient to practice as a barber following examinations.

The state of Pennsylvania does not currently allow apprenticeships as a career path to become a barber.


Apply for registration in the state of Pennsylvania

Following the completion of formal education via an institution, barbers are required to apply for registration with the Pennsylvania State Board of Barber Examiners. Once this application has been processed, barbers are then able to apply for the licensing examinations. In order to have this application processed, applicants are required to submit:

  • The completed application
  • Be 16 years of age or older and have completed the 8th grade
  • A barber diploma
  • A copy of a driver’s license or birth certificate
  • A $10 licensing fee
  • A $63 theory examination fee
  • A $77 practical examination fee


Undertake state licensing exams

In Pennsylvania there are two licensing exams that must be completed: the theoretical exam and the practical exam. Barber examinations in Pennsylvania are conducted by Pearson VUE.

The main concepts that will be covered in the theory exam may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Scientific concepts
  • Hair services
  • Facial hair services
  • Skin care and facial services

The main concepts that are covered in the practical examination may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Set up and client protection
  • Haircutting
  • Shaving with a straight razor
  • Chemical Waving
  • Virgin hair lightening
  • Chemical Relaxing

Barbers will be sent an official notice from the board detailing their results from both examinations. If successful, barbers will be eligible and licensed to practice within the state.


Ensure your license remains up to date

Licensed barbers are required to renew their license in even-numbered years by April 30. This can be done easily online through the Pennsylvania State Board’s online license renewal portal. There is a $109 renewal fee for this license.

There is currently no ongoing education needs for barbers during their licensing period in Pennsylvania. However, many barbers may choose to undertake ongoing education to further their career opportunities and stay up to date in current fashions and trends.