Barber Schools and License Requirements in Arkansas

According to the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, there were 143 barbers employed in the State in 2012. the Department projects there will be a nearly 10 percent increase in the number of licensed barbers in the state in the next few years just to keep pace with demand.

Barbering is a profession in the personal care industry that traditionally consists of grooming men’s hair and facial hair. As a barber you will work as a professional that cuts, bleaches, colors, trims, shaves, styles, curls, and straightens hair and beards.

The Arkansas State Board of Barber Examiners, which was created in 1937, is responsible for regulating the practice of barbering in Arkansas, registering and licensing applicants, adopting rules and regulations, and developing and maintaining a curriculum of study for aspiring barbers.

To become a barber in Arkansas, you must be licensed, which requires you to complete the following steps:

Complete a Barber Education Program
Apply for an Arkansas Barber Technician Certification
Apply for an Arkansas Barber License and Take the Required Examinations
Learn About Job Opportunities in Barbering and Keep your Arkansas Barber License Current



Step 1. Complete a Barber Education Program

As a candidate for an Arkansas barber license that has not been licensed in other states, you must first complete a formal barber program that is at least 1,500 hours in duration.

A barber program, which may be completed through a dedicated barber institution or a school of cosmetology, typically consists of the following areas of theoretical study:

  • History of barbering
  • Hygiene and good grooming
  • Barbering implements
  • Bacteriology, sterilization, and sanitation
  • Honing and stropping
  • Scalp, hair treatments and skin
  • Disorders of the skin, scalp and hair
  • Electricity and light therapy
  • Chemistry
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Arkansas State Barber Board laws
  • Scientific fundamentals of barbering

Practical instruction in a barber program generally consists of hands-on work in the following areas:

  • Shaving
  • Shampooing and rinsing
  • Massage and facial treatments
  • Bleaching and dyeing the hair
  • Hair shaping
  • Hair styling
  • Singeing
  • Hair straightening
  • Hair clipping
  • First aid and safety precautions

Cosmetology Crossover Program

Arkansas also has a cosmetology crossover program that was implemented by the Board for licensed cosmetologists who want to become licensed barbers. If you are a licensed cosmetologist, you may enroll in an approved barber school for a work-study program approved by the Board, which takes about 6 months to complete. The program includes an initial 100 hours of study.

Upon completing the initial program of study, you will be issued a student license and temporary work permit, which will allow you to work and study under the supervision of a licensed barber, for a total of 600 hours of work study. After each 100 hours of work study, you will be tested.

Upon the successful completion of the cosmetology crossover program, you will be eligible to take the State Board barber examination.

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Step 2. Apply for an Arkansas Barber Technician Certification

The Board issues barber technician certifications for students who have completed at least 20 full working days of study in an approved school of barbering and at least 20 hours of study in the sterilization of tools and the barber laws of the State of Arkansas. To qualify for a barber technician certification, you must have also completed at least the 12th grade of school.

You may also qualify for a barber technician certification if you have successfully completed a 60-day apprenticeship program under the instruction of a licensed barber.

To work as a barber technician while you pursue your barber license in Arkansas, you must also pass an examination that is designed to assess your fitness and ability to practice as a barber technician in Arkansas.



Step 3. Apply for an Arkansas Barber License and Take the Required Examinations

Once you have completed the required barber program, you must apply for a barber license at least 10 days before the date of the next barber examination. The Board furnishes all applicants with the appropriate forms. You must contact the Board at 501-682-4035 to request the required application for Arkansas barber license and begin the application and examination process.

In addition to a completed application form, you must also provide the Board with two, signed photographs (passport-size), one of which must accompany the application and one that you will bring with you when you appear for the examination.

The barber examinations include both a practical demonstration and a written and oral test. You must submit a completed application, along with a certification of your completed barber school hours, before you are eligible to participate in the examination process.



Step 4. Learn About Job Opportunities in Barbering and Keep your Arkansas Barber License Current

Your Arkansas barber license must be renewed every odd-numbered year, before your birth date. The cost of renewal is $40, and you can complete the renewal process through the Arkansas State Board’s online license renewal portal.

There are currently no continuing education requirements for licensed barbers in Arkansas.

Job and chair rental opportunities for barbers in Arkansas may range from barbershops to salons to resorts and high-end hotels.

Just a few of Arkansas’ most popular barbershops include:

  • Jerry’s Barber Shop, Little Rock
  • Townzen Barber Shop, Rogers
  • Country Gentleman Barber Shop, Conway
  • Lew’s Barber Shop, Rogers
  • City Barber Shop, Siloam Springs
  • All Cuts Barbershop, Springdale
  • Frasure’s Old Fashioned Barber Shop, West Memphis
  • South Ends Joe’s Barber Shop, Benton

Barber Salaries in Arkansas

Arkansas’s barbers must have a license to practice and are required to work in a barbershop this is also licensed. The Board reported that there were 2,635 registered barbers in the state in 2013. This was a 3.6% increase in the number of Arkansas barbers over the two years leading up to that period.

Arkansas has stringent requirements to obtain a barber license. Candidates must complete 1,500 hours of training and have them certified to the Arkansas State Board of Barber Examiners. They must also pass a practical exam along with written and oral tests. The Arkansas State Board of Barber Examiners requires licenses to be renewed by July 1 of each year.

Barber salaries by city in Arkansas:

Little Rock – $38,000
Fort Smith – $62,000
Fayetteville – $39,000

An Analysis of Barber Earning Potential in Arkansas

The average barber salary in Arkansas was $24,960 in 2013. Barber salaries in Arkansas varied by nearly 1.4 fold depending on experience level according to the state’s Department of Workforce Services (DWS). Experienced barbers earned an average of $27,520 in 2013, while their colleagues just starting out averaged $19,830.

The take home pay of Arkansas barbers will be higher than reported here, because tips add significantly to their level of income.

Barber Industry Growth Projections in Arkansas

The DWS expects the number of barbers to increase 16.7% over the ten-year period ending in 2022. More than 60% of these positions will come from the need to replace barbers selling their businesses so as to enter retirement. The remaining 38% should come strictly from growth in the field.

Nearly half of all barbers nationally are self-employed. Many of them have their own barbershops or rent chairs in existing barbershops. During 2013-14, there were 1,077 licensed barbershops in Arkansas. While barbers and cosmetologists can work in the same establishment in Arkansas, these professionals are required to have separate barber and cosmetologist licenses.

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