Whether a client wants a short, professional cut; or a lengthy, designed beard, professional barbers are able to make it happen with style and elegance. As a barber, you get to be the expert in men’s style, helping your clients look their very best.
New Mexico is a great place to settle down into your barbering profession. It is home to The Barber’s Shop, located in Albuquerque, which was voted as one of the “Manliest Barbershops in America” by Men’s Health Magazine for it’s unique old-fashioned barbershop ambiance blended with modern sensibility.
To start your career as a professional barber in New Mexico, you will need to become licensed through the New Mexico Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists, which regulates the licensing requirements for cosmetologists, manicurists, tattoo and body artists – and barbers. As a barber, you will specialize in the art of trimming, cutting, and styling men’s hair, beards, and moustaches.
For a quick guide on how to become a licensed barber in New Mexico, follow these simple steps:
Step 1. Graduate from a 1,200-Hour Barber Training School Program
The first step toward a license is graduating from a barber training program. The New Mexico Board requires that you complete a program of 1,200 training hours. The Board also requires that the school meet the following training hour criteria:
- Barbering Theory – 75 hours
- Sterilization, Sanitation, Bacteriology – 75 hours
- Shampoo, Rinses, and Scalp Treatments – 75 hours
- Chemical Rearranging – 200 hours
- Hairstyling – 150 hours
- Hair Coloring – 125 hours
- Hair Cutting and Beard Trimming – 250 hours
- Facials – 175 hours
- Salon Business, Retail Sales – 50 hours
Once you complete this education, you have 24 months to apply for a New Mexico barber license. If you do not apply within 24 months, your training hours may become void. If this happens, you will need to complete another 150 hours of remedial education.
Step 2. Submit an Exam Application to Professional Credentialing Services
As long as you are 17 or older, have complete high school, and have completed barber training school, you may apply to take the licensing exams. You will apply directly to Professional Credentialing Services (PCS) for these exams. To do so, you will need to submit the following information and materials:
- Download and Read PCS Candidate Handbook
- Submit Online Application through PCS
- Attach copy of your driver’s license
- Submit PCS training affidavit (notarized by your barber school)
- Submit New Mexico Transcript of Training (notarized by your barber school)
- Attach 2 passport-sized photos
- Submit examination fees
Step 3. Pass the Practical, Theory, and Jurisprudence State Board Exams
Once the application for examination and fee are received by PCS, you will be notified of your eligibility to take the licensing exams. There are three licensing exams you must pass for a New Mexico license: the national practical exam, the national theory written exam, and the state law written exam. You will take the national exams with PCS. You must pass each of these exams with a score of 75% or higher in order to obtain your license.
National Practical Exam
Once you are approved, PCS will mail you a Practical Exam Admission Notice. This notice allows you to schedule and take the practical exam. Although you will take the practical exam with Professional Credentialing Services (PCS), the exam itself was created by the National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC). NIC provides candidate information bulletins for each exam. Make sure to download the barber practical exam Candidate Information Bulletin before taking the exam.
For the practical exam, you will need to bring your own kit and mannequin or model. You will have a set amount of time to complete different barbering services, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Set Up and Client Protection
- Shaving with a Straight Razor
- Chemical Waving
- Hair Lightening
- Chemical Relaxing
- Candidate Summary and Final Cleanup
National Theory Exam
Once you are approved by PCS, you will receive a Theory Authorization to Test Letter, which will allow you to schedule your exam. You will need to schedule this exam with PSI Services. Before you take the theory exam, you will want to download and read through the barber written exam Candidate Information Bulletin. You will be given about 90 minutes to answer questions on the following barber subject areas:
- Infection Control and Bacteriology
- Methods of Infection
- Electricity and Light
- Skin Histology
- Draping Procedures Related to Facial and Shaving Services
- Hair and Scalp
- Facial Treatments – Massage and Facial
- Shaving Procedures – Tools and Equipment
- Client Consultation
- Chemical Services
State Law (Jurisprudence) Written Exam
The jurisprudence exam is a multiple-choice, closed-book exam that focuses on New Mexico laws, rules, and regulations. You will have a 2-hour time limit to take the exam. To complete this exam, follow these steps:
- Download and Take the New Mexico Jurisprudence Exam
- Sign the statement certifying that you did not use any references
- Sent the exam to the Board for review
You may send your completed exam to the New Mexico Board at the following address:
New Mexico Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists
P.O. Box 25101
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
After you pass the PCS exams, PCS will email the New Mexico Board your passing score results, and they will email you your results and a License Form. Once you mail this license form to the Board, you will be issued your first New Mexico barbering license.
Step 4. Begin your Career as a Barber in New Mexico and Renew your License Annually
Licensed barbers in New Mexico may look for job openings at local barbershops, at salons that offer barbering services, or they may even rent a chair or open their own barbershop!
If you’re looking for some quality barbershops in New Mexico, consider some of the following options:
- Ace Barber Shop – Albuquerque
- Cutting Edge Men’s Hairstyling – Santa Fe
- Nob Hill Barber Shop – Albuquerque
- Premier Edge Barbershop – Albuquerque
- The Barber’s Shop – Albuquerque
As a licensed barber in New Mexico, you will need to renew you license each year. The New Mexico Board will send you a renewal packet in the mail before your license expires. When they do so, you may renew your license online and pay the $50 renewal fee.
Barber Salaries in New Mexico
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions provides 2013 salary information for barbers in the state. These figures are on the low side, however, since they do not factor in tips, which could contribute as much as an additional 25% to a barber’s take-home pay.
New Mexico’s licensed barbers had a higher median salary than most barbers nationwide, earning $27,860 as of 2013. This was more than 11% higher than the national median in this field.
The barber salaries in New Mexico did not differ much depending on level of experience. In contrast to much of the country, entry-level barbers in New Mexico earned an average salary that was very nearly the same of those with experience. Experienced barbers in the state earned an average of $27,840, while those new to the profession averaged $26,830.
Employment Prospects for Barbers in New Mexico
Most of New Mexico’s barbers are self-employed. Slightly more than three quarters of the 902 barbers licensed in New Mexico in 2012 fell into this category.
New Mexico’s analysis of job trends predicts an increase in barber jobs of 1% a year over the ten-year period ending in 2022. This should generate a total of 82 new jobs over this time frame, which does not account for those who are self-employed.
A number of New Mexico’s barbers originally started out in other professions. In fact, 283 changed their occupation to become a barber over the five-year period preceding 2013. While they came from a diverse array of occupations, the highest percentage of transfers were women coming from the field of hairdressing, hairstyling, and cosmetology.