Barber Schools and License Requirements in Montana

A growing number of people in the United States have turned their backs on traditional corporate jobs and are looking for careers that will allow them to be creative, socially involved, and plot their own course in life. Barbers are able to express their creativity with their expertise in hair and facial hair care, while also providing a local community service that is always in need. Barbershops can also serve as a communal meeting place for men where the conversation is just as important as the haircut and shave.

In order to work as a barber in Montana, you must be licensed through the Montana Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists. There are currently about 600 barbers licensed in the state of Montana, the vast majority of which are self-employed.

Complete your Education from a Board Approved Barber School
Earn your Montana Barber License
Begin your Career as a Barber in Montana and Consider Opening your Own Shop
Maintain your Licensure by Renewing it Biannually



Step 1. Complete your Education from a Board Approved Barber School

The first step that you must take towards becoming a barber in Montana is completing a barber school program from a state approved barber school. Before enrolling in such a program, you must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent.

During the course of your education, you will be required to complete at least 1,500 hours of training under a currently licensed barber.

Your barber college will provide theoretical coursework and practical training in:

  • Scientific Fundamentals of Barbering
  • Hygiene and Bacteriology
  • Histology of the Hair
  • Massage and Manipulation
  • Elementary Chemistry relating to Sterilization
  • Structure of the Head, Face, and Neck
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Step 2. Earn your Barber License

There are two options for earning your barber license in the state of Montana, examination and endorsement. Before applying for either, you must be at least 18 years old, submit an application for licensure, and an $80 application fee.

Licensure by Examination

Before you are eligible to take the barber licensure examination, you must complete at least 90% of your training at an approved barber school program. Your instructor must verify your completion of your level of schooling. With the application, you must also include:

  • A copy of your birth certificate or driver’s license to verify your age
  • A copy of your high school diploma or GED equivalent
  • A confirmation of hours from your barber school

Once you have applied for examination, you must pass the Board approved barber exam, administered by DL Roope Administrations Inc., with at least a 75%. The test has both written and practical sections that will cover the following topics:

    • Written
      • Scientific concepts – 40% of test
      • Facial and shaving services – 15% of test
      • Hair care services – 20% of test
      • Chemical services – 25% of test


  • Practical
    • Set up and client protection
    • Shaving with a straight razor
    • Haircutting
    • Chemical waving
    • Hair lightening/coloring
    • Chemical relaxing

A more complete breakdown of the written and practical portions of the exam is provided by DL Roope Administrations Inc. Exams are offered in the cities of Missoula and Billings at regular intervals throughout the year and can be found on the Board’s website.

Licensure by Endorsement

In order to earn your license by endorsement, you must submit the following items with your application for licensure in Montana:

  • Proof of age, such as a copy of driver’s license or birth certificate
  • Copy of high school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Verification of licensure from every state you have ever been licensed in as a barber

Applicants for licensure for endorsement must also pass Montana’s Board approved barber exam with at least a 75%, as described above, unless you are an actively licensed barber in good standing, that has already completed the 1,500 hour training requirement to earn your previous license.



Step 3. Begin your Career as a Barber in Montana and Consider Opening your
Own Shop

After passing examination or earning your endorsement, you will be able to begin your career as a fully licensed barber in the state of Montana. Being a barber gives you a variety of options for your place of employment. You can work at a barbershop, salon, or beauty shop as an employee, or you can open your own barbershop.

One of the most attractive aspects of becoming a barber is the ability to be your own boss. In fact, nearly 83% of barbers in Montana are self-employed, according to the Montana Department of Labor & Industry.

If you are interested in opening your own barbershop, complete the following steps:

  • Submit a barbershop application form
    • Include an $85 application fee and a $150 initial inspection fee
  • Submit a floor plan/blueprint that shows the entire layout of the shop
  • If you are taking over from a previous owner, you must provide the Board with a letter from the previous owner validating the sale and the removal of the previous license



Step 4. Maintain your Licensure by Renewing it Biannually

The last step that you must be sure to complete is maintaining your barber license by renewing it. You must renew your individual license biannually between January 2nd and March 1st. The renewal fee for individual licenses is $80.

The renewal period for barbershops is between May 1st and July 1st. Barbershop licenses must be renewed annually for an $85 fee. Renewals can be completed online through Montana’s Online License Renewal site.

There are currently no continuing education requirements for barbers in Montana.

Barber Salaries in Montana

The occupational demand for personal care and service professionals, such as barbers, continues to grow in Montana.

According to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, workers that fall under this career category can anticipate approximately 600 annual job openings between 2012 and 2022. As of 2013, personal care and service workers, like barbers, were earning an average salary of $23,939 a year and a median salary of 23,430 a year as of May 2011.

Wage and salary figures provided by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry do not include tips awarded to barbers by their clients. As such, all occupational wage statistics should be viewed as a base pay amount.

Not all barbers receive salary pay. Instead, most barbers working part-time jobs are compensated with hourly wages in addition to commission. In May 2011, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry reported that personal care and service workers, such as barbers, were earning an average wage of $11.89/hr.

In that same year, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry determined that the average low-end mid range wage for professionals within this occupational group was $9.80/hr. Comparatively; the average high-end mid-range wage was $14.01/hr. Those earning at the median wage level received close to $11.27/hr.

Regional Salary and Wage Averages for Barbers in Montana

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has created the following data table to showcase the salary and wage averages among personal care and service workers, such as barbers, working in the Southwestern nonmetropolitan region of Montana in 2013:

Area name
Annual mean wage
Southwestern Montana nonmetropolitan area
Estimate not released

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