Barber Schools and License Requirements in Alabama

Barbers that are currently licensed and working in one of the below named counties are exempt from meeting licensing requirements at the state level through the Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering. Further, as of June 2014, barbers who have been practicing for at least 10 years may be exempt from licensing.

Other that those that fall within these two exceptions, barbers in Alabama must now be licensed. The Alabama Department of Labor reported that there were 700 licensed barbers in the state as of 2010. The licensing process involves successfully completing the following steps:

Complete a Formal Barber Program or Apprenticeship
Apply for Initial Registration in Alabama
Take and Pass the Required Licensing Examinations
Keep your Barber License Current and Find a Job

The Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering, which is responsible for regulating and licensing the practice of barbering in the State, defines the practice of barbering as including:

  • Shaving or trimming the bear
  • Cutting or dressing the hair
  • Giving facial or scalp massages
  • Giving facial or scalp treatments
  • Singeing and shampooing the hair
  • Dyeing the hair
  • Permanently waving or straightening the hair

In 2013, Alabama became the last state in the U.S. to enact barber-licensing requirements. Before that time, a number of counties licensed barbers through their own barber boards, including:

  • Baldwin County
  • Jefferson County
  • Lauderdale County
  • Madison County
  • Mobile County



Step 1. Complete a Formal Barber Program or Apprenticeship

Alabama recognizes two routes to barber license: a formal barber program or an apprenticeship.

To qualify for licensure through education, you must complete a program of at least 1,000 clock hours through a licensed or registered school of barbering.

To qualify for licensure through an apprenticeship, you must complete at least 2,000 clock hours under the immediate supervision of a licensed barber who has held a license for at least 5 years and has work in a licensed shop for at least 2 years.

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Step 2. Apply for Initial Registration in Alabama

Upon the successful completion of a formal education program or apprenticeship, you must apply for initial registration by completing an Initial Registration application and sending it to the Board, along with the following:

  • Application fee of $40 (money order, cashier’s or certified check)
  • One 2”x2” passport-style photo
  • Copy of your Social Security card
  • Copy of your current driver’s license

Once the Board receives your initial registration, you will be notified by the Board of your eligibility to take the license examinations.

Note: You must be at least 16 years old and have successfully completed the tenth grade to qualify for licensure as a barber in Alabama.



Step 3. Take and Pass the Required Licensing Examinations

Once you have been approved by the Board, you must take and pass both a practical and written examination as to demonstrate your knowledge of barbering.

The Board has contracted with PSI Services LLC to deliver barber examinations. You must take and pass the written examination before you can apply for the practical examination. Once you have been approved by the Board to take the examinations, you are responsible for contacting PSI to schedule the appointment to take the written examination.

PSI has an automated registration system through which you can register: 1-800-733-9267. You may also register online at The written examination may be taken at the following locations:

  • Birmingham
  • Huntsville
  • Mobile
  • Montgomery

You will be given a score immediately following the completion of the examination. The Board utilizes the barber examination through the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC). More information on this examination can be found at

Once you have passed the written (theory) examination, you must register to take the practical examination with PCS by calling them at 1-888-822-3272. You may also apply online at Like the written examination, the Board utilizes the NIC practical barber examination.

You may take the practical examination at one of the following locations:

  • North Alabama
  • Mobile
  • Birmingham
  • Montgomery

You can view upcoming practical examination dates here.

You can expect to receive an official score notice from the Board office regarding your practice examination. Once you pass the practical exam, the Board will automatically send you a congratulatory letter that includes information on how to submit your $75 licensure fee. Once the fee has been received, the Board will issue you an Alabama barber license.



Step 4. Keep your Barber License Current and Find a Job

Your barber license must be renewed every two years by the last day of your birth month. Renewals are made online at The cost of renewal is $80. There are no continuing education requirements for barbers in Alabama.

Opportunities to rent a booth or chair may be found in established salons and barbershops. Just a few of the top barbershops found throughout Alabama include:

  • Don’s Barber & Styling Shop, Tuscaloosa
  • Tight Cuts, Hoover
  • The Beach Barber, Orange Beach
  • Allstar Barber, Huntsville
  • Uptown Barber Shop, Foley
  • Becca’s Barber Shop, Birmingham
  • Hair Artistry Salon and Barber Styling, Birmingham

Barber Salaries in Alabama

In May of 2013 Alabama became the last of the U.S, states to require barbers to be licensed and the Alabama Board of Cosmetology added “and Barbering” to its name. The law’s “grandfather” clause exempted established barbers; however, anyone wanting to become a barber after June of 2013 is required to complete 1,000 hours in a barbering school or 2,000 hours as an apprentice under the supervision of a licensed barber. There are at least five state-approved barbering schools in Alabama.

Alabama Barber Salary Statistics

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the statewide earnings of barbers in Alabama are as follows:

Annual Salary
10th Percentile
25th Percentile
Median (50th P)
90th Percentile

Remember that tipping is an important part of a barber’s income. The accepted standard is 15 to 20 percent of the total bill or more if one feels the service and result are excellent.

Differences in Barber Salaries in Various Alabama Cities

Unsurprisingly, the highest barber salaries are found in major metropolitan areas like Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery and the lowest in outlying locations. BLS data for barber salaries in different Alabama cities are not available; however, the following annual salary figures are listed on the salary aggregate site,

Alabama Area
10th Percentile
90th Percentile

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