washington d.c.

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Barber Schools and License Requirements in Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, Office of Labor Market Research and Information reported a total of 141 barbershop employees licensed in the District in 2012 – and this does not include the many shop owners and independent contractors. The Department projects there will be a 23 percent increase in the number of licenses issued in the District in the ten year period between 2012 and 2022 because of growing demand for men’s grooming services.

The D.C. Board of Barber and Cosmetology regulates the practice of barbering in Washington D.C. through barber licensure.

Barber Apprentices Gain Instant Credibility as Members of the ABA!

 Starting out as a new barber is not easy.   First, new barbers have a lot to learn; and the only way to really learn how to be the barber is 1) to practice and 2) be mentored by more seasoned barbers.   Fortunately, the ABA recognizes barbers in training – also called “Barber Apprentice” – as a part of the barbering industry, and we work to provide support to these rising stars.   The Certicate of Professionalism for Barber Apprentices gives individuals that are new to barbering instant credibility and is a good way to show real commitment to the art and craft of barbering.   To get your certificate, join the ABA today! Click here.

For guidance on how to become a licensed barber in Washington D.C., follow the steps outlined in this guide:

Step 1. Complete a Formal Barber Program Recognized by the Board
  • To become a barber in Washington D.C., you must successfully complete a formal barber college program through a dedicated barber institution or school of cosmetology that consists of at least 1,500 study hours.

    The Board also recognizes the completion of the required study hours under the supervision of a recognized apprenticeship program sponsor. You can view a list of approved apprenticeship program sponsors here.

    Further, if you currently hold a cosmetology license in Washington D.C. and wish to pursue a barber license, you may qualify upon the completion of at least 500 hours of barber training.

    e completed all of your training, whether from a barber school or apprenticeship, you may apply for a temporary permit that will last up to 6 months.

Step 2. Apply to Take the Barber Licensure Examinations

Once you have completed the required education/training, you must apply to take the required barber license examinations through Pearson VUE by completing and submitting an Exam Scheduling Form and a New License Application, along with a check or money order in the amount of $230 (made payable to Pearson VUE). You may also obtain an application through www.pearsonvue.com/dc/barbers_cosmo.

Your New License Application must include two, passport-size photos and it must be notarized. To qualify for a barber license in Washington D.C., you must be at least 18 years old and not have been convicted of any crimes of moral turpitude.

After your exam scheduling form has been reviewed, you can expect to receive an Authorization to Test notice to take the exam, which will include instructions on how to schedule your examination. If you do not receive this letter, you must contact the DC test administration unit at 202-442-4363.

Note: You must schedule and sit for your examination within 30 days or receiving the Authorization to Test letter.

Step 3. Take and Pass the Required Examinations for Barber Licensure

Computerized examinations for the written portion of the barber license examination are administered on a monthly basis, while the practical examination is offered four times a year.

The Board utilizes the examinations of the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC). You can learn more about the NIC national barber examinations here.

Step 4. Renew your Barber License in Washington D.C.

All D.C. barber licenses expire on September 30 of odd-numbered years. You can expect to receive a renewal notice in the mail about 3 months before your license expires. In addition to completing a renewal application, you must complete at least 6 continuing education credits during each two-year licensure period.

The Board requires that at least 2 of the 6 continuing education credits be in health, safety, and/or welfare, while the remaining 4 may be in general elective courses. Just a few of the topics you may choose to complete your continuing education credits in include:

Product knowledge
District laws and regulations
Ethics and standards of professional practice
Infectious disease control
Continuing education may be obtained through classroom instruction, lectures, seminars, trade shows, online classes, and college/university classes, among others. Many barbers who plan to eventually open their own barber shop business are often best served by taking courses in areas such as business management and marketing.

Step 5. Explore a Career in Barbering in Washington D.C.

Barbers in Washington D.C. may work as employees of barbershops, salons, resorts, and hotels, while others may choose to work as independent contractors, renting booth space in a popular barbershop.

Your options for a career as a Washington D.C. barber are plentiful, as the following are just a sampling of the barbershops serving professionals in the nation’s capital:

The Grooming Lounge
Michael Craig Men’s Grooming
The Art of Shaving
Camillo Damiano Barber Shop
Bang Salon
Nantucket Hair Salon
The Barber Shop & Co.

Step 6. Become a Barber Manager in Washington D.C.

To become a licensed barber manager in Washington D.C. and thus manage a barbershop, you must successfully complete one of the following options:

2,000 hours of training from an approved school, plus 6 months of continuous work experience
1,500 hours of training from an approved school, plus 2 years of continuous work experience
If you want to become a barber manager without completing at least 2 years of work experience, you must complete an additional 500 hours of barber training through an approved school of barbering. Once you have accomplished the required education/experience, you may earn licensure as a barber manager in Washington D.C.

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