Barber Schools and License Requirements in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Family and Job Services indicates that Ohio is home to a large number of self-employed barbers, with 1,190 of the 1,480 barbers licensed in the state being self-employed as of 2012. This spells out amazing opportunity if you want to open your own barbershop, work on your own schedule, and create an original atmosphere for men’s style, relaxation, and professionalism. If you prefer the idea of working in an established shop, Ohio is home to award-winning salons, such as Kings Court Barbers in Cincinnati, which was voted Best of Cincinnati 2011, 2012, and 2013 by CityBeat Magazine.

You will begin your career as a barber in Ohio by becoming licensed with the Ohio State Barber Board. This Board regulates the exam and education standards for barbers in Ohio. As a barber, you get to specialize in the study, art, and practice of styling hair and facial hair.

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

Complete 1800 Hours of Training in an Ohio Barber School
Submit an Application for Board Licensing Exams and Licensure
Pass the Ohio Board Written and Practical Licensing Exams
Start your Career as a Licensed Barber in Ohio and Keep your License Current



Step 1. Complete 1800 Hours of Training in an Ohio Barber School

Your first step toward becoming a licensed barber in Ohio is graduating from a barber training program. The Ohio Board requires that this program deliver at least 1800 hours of theoretical, scientific, and practical training, including training on the following subjects and competencies:

Theoretical (100 hours) –

  • Scientific Fundamentals of Barbering
  • Hygiene and Bacteriology
  • Histology of the Hair
  • Structure of the Head, Neck, and Face
  • Elementary Chemistry
  • Diseases of the Skin
  • Barber History
  • Barbering Law in Ohio
  • Salesmanship, Advertising, etc.
  • Barber Ethics and Shop Management

Scientific Barbering Practice (200 hours) –

  • Facial Treatments
  • Shampoo Treatments
  • Tinting
  • Bleaching
  • Facial Shaving
  • Haircutting I, II, III
  • Straightening and Relaxing
  • Permanent Waving
  • Hairpieces
  • Barber Implements

Practical (1200 hours) –

  • Facial Treatments
  • Scalp Treatments
  • Shampoo Treatments
  • Tinting
  • Bleaching
  • Facial Shaving
  • Haircutting I, II, III
  • Shop Management

The Board only requires you to complete 1800 hours of training before you can apply for a license. However, after you attain a license, you may always return to school for advanced training. Staying in the know on the best hairstyling and facial hair trends will both impress and please your clients, who come to you as the expert in men’s style.

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Step 2. Submit an Application for Board Licensing Exams and Licensure

Once you graduate from an Ohio barbering school, your school will give you the Ohio State Application for Examination and Licensure. This application serves two purposes: to permit you to sit for the licensing exams and to permit the board to issue your license upon completion of the exams. Along with the application, you will need to submit a $120.00 application fee.

Once the Board receives your application, they will notify you your exam date, time, and location. You will take the exams according to the Ohio Board’s exam schedule.


If you currently hold a barber license in another state, and you want to transfer your license to Ohio, you may do so through reciprocity. To apply for reciprocity, you must be able to prove that your barber school training was equal to Ohio’s 1800-hour training requirement. If so, then you will be able to apply for an Ohio license by reciprocity by completing the following steps:

  • Fill out Reciprocity Application
  • Submit Barber School Certification
  • Attach 2 Current Photos
  • Attach copy of Birth Certificate
  • Submit Copy of Current Barber License
  • Pay $300 Application Fee

You will be able to submit all application materials to the Ohio Board at the following address:

Ohio State Barber Board
77 S. High Street 16th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215



Step 3. Pass the Ohio Board Written and Practical Licensing Exams

Both of the licensing exams are proctored and graded by the Ohio Board. You will need to pass a written exam and a practical exam.

Written Exam

The written exam will focus on all subject matter that you learned in barber school. You will be tested on barbering subjects including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Infection Control and Bacteriology
  • Sterilization, Disinfection, and Sanitation
  • Hair and Scalp Disorders
  • Electricity and Light
  • Skin Histology
  • Facial and Shaving Services
  • Hiarcutting and Styling

For references, you may study the following publications:

  • Milady’s Standard Textbook of Professional Barbering, 2006
  • Milady’s Standard Textbook of Professional Barber-Styling, 1999

Practical Exam

For the practical exam, the Ohio Board will grade you on your ability to perform the following barbering services:

  • Conducting a Professional Shave
  • Giving a Rolling Cream Massage
  • Performing a Haircut
  • Giving a Scientific Scalp Massage
  • Shampooing the Hair
  • Professional Hairstyling
  • Final Sanitation

Once you pass these exams, the Ohio Board will issue you your Ohio barbering license.



Step 4. Start your Career as a Licensed Barber in Ohio and Keep your
License Current

Licensed barbers in Ohio may find word at professional barbershops or at professional salons and spas that hire barbers. If you’re looking for some of Ohio’s top-rated barbershops, consider some of the following options:

  • Off the Top Barber Shop – Columbus
  • Longview Barber Shop – Columbus
  • Kings Court Master Barber – Cincinnati
  • Main Street Barber Shop – Broadview Heights
  • Adam’s Barber Shop – Cleveland
  • Quintana’s Barber and Dream Spa – Cleveland Heights
  • The Irish Barber – Rocky River

If you want to join over 1000 other barbers in Ohio and step-up your career, you can open your own barbershop! Opening your own barbershop allows you to determine the style, focus, and culture of your store. You can open a barbershop by applying for an Ohio barbershop license.

To obtain this license, you must first be a licensed barber, and then you may complete the following steps:

Once you submit this documentation, you will be issued a barbershop license, and you will be able to create your own haven of masculine style and relaxation.

Your barber license will expire on August 31st of even numbered years. When the expiration date approaches, the Ohio Board will send you a renewal form in the mail. You will need to fill out this renewal form and send it back to the Board with a $110 renewal fee.

Barber Salaries in Ohio

The salaries for barbers in Ohio were about the same as those in the rest of the country. The median salary for these professionals in 2014 was $25,763 according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Barbers in Ohio generally make much more than reported here, because this figure does not take tips into account. Tipping is customary and usually adds 10 to 25% to the take-home pay of these barbers.

Barber salaries in Ohio by city:

Columbus – $39,000
Cleveland – $36,000
Cincinnati – $38,000
Toledo – $35,000

Ohio Barber Salaries by Experience Level

Since experienced barbers can do a better job of taking care of their customers, they usually have much higher salaries than barbers who are just starting out. This is the case for barbers in Ohio. Experienced barbers in the state earned $10,504 more on average than entry-level professionals in this field. These average salaries were $28,766 and $18,262, respectively.

The salaries of barbers in Ohio varied depending on where they were located. Those in northwest Ohio had a median salary that was 88.8% of the state’s average. It was $22,888.

There was less of a difference in the salaries of experienced versus entry-level barbers in northwestern Ohio than in the state as a whole. Experienced ones earned $27,019 on average, while those who had just entered the workforce earned an average $18,034.

Job Growth Levels for Barbers in Ohio

In fiscal year 2011, there 8,435 licensed barbers in Ohio. Three hundred and eighty-five new Ohio barber licenses were issued that year.

The number of barbers in Ohio will increase by 0.5% in the ten-year period ending in 2020. This level of growth in the demand for the services of barbers will generate one job a year on average in Ohio. However, a large number of barbers are expected to stop practicing in the state. This is expected to generate 38 jobs a year.

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