Barber Schools and License Requirements in Indiana

Indiana is home to many unique barbershops, such as Red’s Classic Barbershop in Indianapolis. Red’s was voted as one of “The Manliest Barbershops in America” by Men’s Health Magazine for its ‘30s classic barbershop style, offering straight-razor shaves, shoe shining, and beverages from an old-time soda machine.

Indiana is home to more than 350 barbers acting as the state’s experts in men’s culture, sophistication, and style according to the US Department of Labor – and this doesn’t even include shop owners and other independently employed barbers and stylists. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development expects the number of licensed barbers in the state to grow by over 6% through 2020, as the demand for professional grooming services for men continues to grow.

For a quick guide on how to become a licensed barber in Indiana, follow these steps:

Complete a Minimum of 1500 Hours of Barber Training
Submit an Application for an Indiana Barber License and Examination
Pass the National Barber Written Licensing Examination
Begin your Career as a Licensed Barber and Renew your License Every Four Years
Consider Opening your Own Barbershop

If you’re ready to become a part of this classic, American culture and start your career as a professional barber in Indiana, you will first need to be licensed by the Indiana State Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners. The Board regulates the different examination and education licensing standards for barbers, cosmetologists, and manicurists working in Indiana. As a barber, you will specialize in the cutting, styling, and designing of men’s hair and facial hair.



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

The Indiana Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners requires that your barber training school provide you with at least 1500 hours of education, including courses and practical training in the following areas:

  • Scientific Fundamentals for Barbering, Hygiene, and Bacteriology
  • The Histology of Hair and Skin
  • The Structure of the Head, Face, and Neck
  • Elementary Chemistry
  • Cutting, Shaving, Arranging, and Dressing Hair
  • Study of Skin Diseases under a Certified Dermatologist

Final Practical Examination

Finally, the Indiana Board requires that your barber school administer a final examination that tests your skills and practical knowledge of the barbering curriculum by demonstrating your ability to perform barbering services.

You will be allowed 3 tries to pass this exam, and must receive a score of 75% or higher in order to be considered for an Indiana barber license.

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Step 2. Submit an Application for an Indiana Barber License and Examination

If you are at least 18 years old, or 17 with a high school diploma, and you have completed 1500 hours of barber training, you may now submit your application for an Indiana barber license by examination. This application will allow you to take the final barber licensing exam and receive your Indiana barber license.

To apply, all you need to do is submit the following application information to the Board:


If you hold a license from another state or jurisdiction, the Indiana Board will allow you to apply for an Indiana barber license based on examination. To do this, you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Submit Application for Barber License by Reciprocity
  • Include a License Certification from Original Licensing Agency
  • Provide Proof of 1500 Hours of Barber Training
  • Provide Original Examination Scores (must be above 75%)
  • Pay $100 Reciprocity License Fee

You may submit your application for examination or your application for reciprocity to the Indiana Board at the following address:

State Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners
Professional licensing Agency
402 West Washington Street, Room W072
Indianapolis, IN 46204



Step 3. Pass the National Barber Written Licensing Examination

Once the Board approves your application, you will need to pass the barber licensing exam. You will schedule this exam directly with the testing vendor, Pearson VUE. Before you take this exam, make sure that you read the Indiana State Board Candidate Handbook.

Written Exam

This final, licensing exam is a written, or theory, exam, which costs $45 to schedule. The written exam is offered in both English and Spanish. For this exam, you will get 135 minutes to answer 110 multiple-choice questions. These questions concern barber theory subjects, including the following:

  • Rules, Regulations, and Safety Procedures
  • Hair and Scalp Structure and Care
  • Shaving and Beard Design
  • Skin Care
  • Haircutting and Hairstyling
  • Chemical Services

You may schedule your written licensing exam at any of the following Pearson VUE locations:

  • Evansville
  • Fort Wayne
  • Indianapolis
  • Terre Haute
  • Chicago
  • Lansing
  • Merrillville

You will get your score immediately after taking the exam. Once you pass these exams, the Indiana Board will issue you your barber license. The Board issues licenses electronically. If you would like an actual, physical license card, you may purchase one online.



Step 4. Begin your Career as a Licensed Barber and Renew your License Every Four Years

As a barber in Indiana, you get to look for jobs at local barbershops or at salons that hire barbers to serve their male clients. Some of the top-rated barbershops in Indiana include the following options:

  • Red’s Classic Barbershop Co – Indianapolis
  • Chad’s Barbershop – Indianapolis
  • Bloomington Barber Shop – Bloomington
  • Classic Barber Shop – Carmel
  • Matt’s Barbershop – Greenwood
  • V’s Barbershop – Fishers

You will need to renew your Indiana barber license by August 1st every four years. To do so, all you will need to do is submit the $40 renewal fee and either a paper renewal form or the online renewal form.



Step 5. Consider Opening your Own Barbershop

If you want to open your own barbershop, where you get to customize the atmosphere and culture of the shop, the Indiana Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners allows you to do so by qualifying for a shop license. To obtain a barbershop license, which the Board refers to as a beauty culture salon license, all you need to do is apply by simply completing the following steps:

If you want to advance your barbering career even further, you can consider becoming a barber instructor. To do so, you need to be at least 18 years old and complete the following steps:

Barber Salaries in Indiana

Barbers in Indiana made slightly more than their colleagues in the rest of the country in 2013. Their median salary was $25,875 according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. These barbers made more money than indicated here, because this figure does not take tips into account, and customers generally tip their barbers.

The level of experience of barbers greatly affects their salaries, since experienced barbers are better able to please their customers. Barbers in Indiana who were experienced made 1.7 times more than those who were new to the profession. Those in the 90th percent salary bracket earned $30,957 on average as compared to $17,909 for those in the 10th percent bracket.

Barber salaries in Indiana by city:

Indianapolis – $35,000
Fort Wayne – $34,000
Evansville – $41,000

Job Growth Levels for Barbers in Indiana

As is the case nationally, the number of barbers is increasing in Indiana. Their ranks will increase by 6.2% over the ten-year period ending in 2020.

New jobs for barbers are generated by increasing demand for their services and from the need to replace barbers who will retire from the field. A total of 85 jobs a year should be available for barbers during this time frame.

Nearly three quarters of these jobs in Indiana will be replacement positions to fill vacancies created by the exit of barbers from the profession. The remaining 25.9% of these jobs will come from growth in the field of men’s hair care and tonsorial artistry.

Employment Level and Locations of Barbers in Indiana

In 2010, 3,455 barbers had jobs in Indiana. Most of Indiana’s metropolitan barbers were located in Indianapolis. At least 500 barbers had their licenses in this city according to Indiana Online Licensing. Fort Wayne had the next highest amount of actively licensed barbers:

Fort Wayne – 214
Gary – 127
South Bend – 61
Evansville – 51
Bloomington – 27

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