Barber Schools and License Requirements in Illinois

Illinois is the perfect place for you to start your career as an expert in classic men’s style. Illinois is home to one of the “Manliest Barbershops in America,” according to Men’s Health Magazine. Gabby’s Barber Shop in Chicago is known for having the cheapest cuts around, not accepting credit cards, checks, or appointments. This old fashioned barbershop encapsulates traditional, American barber services, offering straight razor and hot lather shaves.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security estimates that the number of barber jobs will grow by 11.88% between 2012 and 2022, creating an average of 75 job openings each year throughout the ten-year period.

For guidance on how to become a licensed barber in Illinois, follow these steps:

Complete a Minimum of 1500-Hours of Barber Training
Submit an Application for the National Barbering Written Licensing Exam
Pass the National Barbering Written Licensing Examination
Submit an Application for an Illinois Barber License
Begin your Career as a Barber and Renew your License Biannually

If you want to join the growing group of successful barbers in Illinois, you must first become licensed with the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation Board of Barbering. This Board regulates the licensing standards for barbers, barber teachers, barber schools, and barbershops. As a barber, you will specialize in the cutting, trimming, and styling of men’s hair, moustaches, and beards.



Step 1. Complete a Minimum of 1500-Hours of Barber Training

The Board requires that you first complete a training program of at least 1500 hours from a licensed barber school. Further, this 1500-hour training program must meet the following Board-required course requirements:

Theory – 150 Hours

  • General Classroom Theory

Theory and Practice – 1350 Hours

  • Barber History
  • Bacteriology
  • Infection Control and Safe Work Practices
  • Implements, Tools, and Equipment
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Chemistry
  • Electricity and Light Therapy
  • Properties and Disorders of the Skin
  • Properties and Disorders of Hair and Scalp
  • Treatment of Hair and Scalp
  • Facial and Scalp Massage
  • Shaving and Facial Hair Design
  • Haircutting and Styling
  • Chemical Texture Services
  • Hair Coloring and Lightening
  • Barbershop Management
  • Illinois Laws, Rules, and Regulations
  • Workers’ Compensation Act

Final Examination

Your school will provide you with a final, practical examination that tests your competency in the following barber services:

  • Hair Cutting
  • Sanitation and Infection Control
  • Shaving

You will have to provide proof that you passed this exam with a score of at least 75% or higher when registering for the licensing exam.

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Step 2. Submit an Application for the National Barbering Written Licensing Exam

Your national barber written licensing exam will need to be taken with the testing vendor, Continental Testing Services (CTS). To apply for this examination, you must simply complete the following steps:

You will need to submit all application and supporting document materials to CTS at the following mailing address:

Continental Testing Services, Inc.
PO Box 100
LaGrange, Illinois 60525-0100

Once CTS approves your application, you will be emailed an approval letter, and you will have 60 days to schedule and take your examination.



Step 3. Pass the National Barbering Written Licensing Examination

As of October 1, 2014, the national written exam has been computerized. This written, computer-based exam will take 90 minutes to complete, and will test your knowledge on barber subject areas, including the following:

  • Hair Care
  • Skin Histology
  • Electricity
  • Scientific Concepts
  • Infection Control
  • Chemistry and Light
  • Draping Procedures
  • Shaving
  • Hair and Scalp
  • Haircutting and Hairstyling
  • Facial Hair Design

You must pass this exam with a score of 75% or higher in order to be eligible for an Illinois barber license. You may take this exam at any of the on-site PSI testing centers, which are located in the following Illinois cities:

  • Chicago
  • Springfield
  • Carbondale
  • Champagne
  • East Peoria
  • Evansville, IN
  • Galesburg
  • Glen Ellyn



Step 4. Submit an Illinois Application for Barber License

When CTS notifies you of your successful completion of the licensing exam, you will also receive an application for an Illinois barber license from them. You must submit that application for an Illinois barber license within 5 years of completing your barber training and within 1 year of passing the national written examination. Once you receive your score report and application, you will need to submit both of those documents, along with any noted license fee on the application, to the Illinois Board at the following address:

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
ATTN: Division of Professional Regulation
P.O. Box 7007
Springfield, IL 62791



Step 5. Begin your Career as a Barber and Renew your License Biannually

Once you have attained your Illinois barber license, you can choose to work in local barbershops, salons that hire barbers, or even go into business for yourself by opening an independent shop.

If you’re looking for local barbershops, consider some of Chicago’s most highly regarded shops:

  • Family Barber Shop
  • State Street Barbers
  • Philip D’Ciminna Barber Shop
  • Belmont Barbershop Ltd

With the growing interest in classic barbering services in Illinois, the state offers a great landscape for those wanting to open their own barbershops. In doing this, you would get to control the atmosphere and culture of your barbershop.

In order to open your own shop, you must obtain a barbershop certificate of registration. To do so, simply download, read, complete, and submit the Salon/Shop Registration Instructions and Application form to the Illinois Board of Barbering.

Your license will expire on July 31st of every odd-numbered year. The Board will sent you a renewal notification, but it is your responsibility to renew your license online.

Barber Salaries in Illinois

Barbers in Illinois are very highly paid according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It reported that the salaries of these professionals were the highest in the country in 2013. The median salary for barbers in Illinois was more than $2,900 higher than the national one according to the state’s Department of Employment Security (IDES).

Experience has a strong effect on the salaries of barbers, since those who are experienced are usually more highly skilled and thus earn higher salaries. In Illinois, experienced barbers earned 2.7 times more than their colleagues who were new to the field. These salaries were $56,363 and $20,708 respectively.

The take home pay of these professionals should be even higher than reported here, since these types of salary figures do not take tipping into account. Customers normally tip at least 10%, and such tips add significantly to the income level of barbers.

Barber salaries in Illinois by city:

Chicago – $49,000
Aurora – $39,000
Rockford – $44,000

Job Growth and Employment Levels of Barbers in Illinois

The number of barbers in Illinois is increasing. The IDES expects the number of Illinois barber jobs to increase by 11.88% in the ten-year period ending in 2022.

An average of 25 jobs a year should be generated from growth in the men’s hair care and tonsorial artist field as the demand for these services increases. An additional 54 jobs a year will come from the need to replace barbers who will stop practicing.

Illinois barbers must be licensed to practice legally in the state. In October 2014, 5,356 people held active barber licenses according to the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation.

The BLS provides the salaries of barbers at different levels of experience for two of Illinois’ metropolitan areas:

Area name
Annual mean wage
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island IA-IL
Estimate not released
St. Louis MO-IL
Estimate not released

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