As a barber, you get to practice the old, classic art of barbering to help your clients look and feel their best. As of 2013, over 200 barbers licensed in Oklahoma, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, not including shop owners or other independent proprietors. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission estimates that the number of jobs for personal appearance workers is expected to grow 18.76% between the years 2008 and 2018 to meet growing demand for hairstyling and barbering services.
Further, Oklahoma is home to men’s grooming lounges such as Elephant in the Room, located in Tulsa, which has been featured in TulsaPeople, The Journal Record, The Business Journal, and more. This new type of barbershop specializes in creating a relaxing, modern, and sophisticated atmosphere. The booming growth in personal appearance careers, as well as the unique barbershops that are opening in Oklahoma, indicate great opportunity if you’re considering starting a barbering career in the state.
To learn how to become a licensed barber in Oklahoma, follow the steps in this guide:
|Graduate from a 1500-Hour Oklahoma Barber School|
|Pass the Oklahoma Board Licensing Exams|
|Submit an Application for Individual Barber Licensure|
|Start your Career as a Licensed Barber and Renew your License Annually|
Beginning your career as a barber in Oklahoma all starts with the Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering. The Board oversees the licensing requirements for cosmetologists, manicurists, estheticians, and barbers. As a barber, you will focus on the art and science behind styling hair and facial hair.
Step 1. Graduate from a 1500-Hour Oklahoma Barber School
Your first step toward attaining an Oklahoma barber license is graduating from a barber school. In order to register at a barber college in Oklahoma, you will need to submit a Student Registration Application to the Oklahoma Board.
The Board provides lists of both public and private schools. At schools like these, you will complete training classes on subjects that include:
- Safety Measures
- Barbershop Management
- Wig Styling and Hairpieces
- Oklahoma State Laws and Rules
If you cannot attend barber school, and you would like to complete an apprenticeship instead, you will first need to submit proof and explanation to the Board. If the Board approves you for an apprenticeship, you will then need to be trained under a licensed instructor in a licensed establishment for a minimum of 3,000 hours.
Step 2. Pass the Oklahoma Board Licensing Exams
Before you may apply for your license, you will need to pass the Oklahoma Board’s two licensing exams: the written exam and the practical exam. In order to register for these exams, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Submit the Oklahoma Barber Exam Registration Application
- Pay the $35.00 Examination Fee
The written exam will be a 90-minute, multiple-choice exam, covering your barber theory knowledge. The exam will test you on information including, but not limited to, the following:
- Infection Control
- Client Consultation
- Draping for Facial and Shaving Services
- Chemistry and Electricity
- Treatment of Hair and Scalp
- Haircutting Methods and Procedures
- Shaving Procedures
- Facial Hair Design
For the practical exam, the Board will grade your ability to perform barbering services. Barbering services that may be tested on include the following:
- Set Up and Client Protection
- Shaving with a Straight Razor
- Basic Facial
- Final Cleanup
Once you pass these Board exams, you will be able to apply for your license.
Step 3. Submit an Application for Individual Barber Licensure
After you have completed and passed the licensing exams, you have 1 year to apply for your license. You may apply using a paper or electronic application. To apply for an Oklahoma barber license, simply complete the following steps:
- Submit the Paper Application for Individual License or Apply Online
- $25.00 Initial Barber Application Fee
Once the Board receives your completed application, it will be processed, and you will receive your barber license.
If you are the holder of a barbering license from another state, you may apply for an Oklahoma barber license through reciprocity. To do so, you will need to submit the following information:
- Application for Domestic Reciprocity License
- A Current Photograph
- $65.00 Application and License Fee
- Current Certification of License
- Application for Foreign Reciprocity License
- Outline of Barber Curriculum
- Current Photograph
- Proof of Eighth Grade Completion
- Proof of Current License
- Current Social Security Number
Finally, if your training does not equal the Oklahoma Board’s training requirements, or if your out-of-state license has been expired for 5 years, or if you do not fully meet the requirements for reciprocity, you will need to submit the Reciprocity Exam Registration Application and take the Oklahoma Board’s licensing exams.
Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering (OSBCB)
2401 NW 23rd, Suite 84
Oklahoma City, OK 73107
Step 4. Start your Career as a Licensed Barber and Renew your License Annually
As soon as you get your barber license, you can start looking for barbering jobs throughout Oklahoma. Barbers may find employment at barbershops, salons or day spas that hire barbers, or through opening their own barbershops.
Top barbershops in some of Oklahoma’s most populated cities include:
- The Barber Salon – Oklahoma City
- The Braniff Hair Co. – Oklahoma City
- Barber Shop Tulsa – Tulsa
- Mingo Barber Shop – Tulsa
- Elephant in the Room: Men’s Grooming Lounge – Tulsa
If you want to take your career to the next level, consider opening up your own barbershop. When you open your own shop, you get to choose the feel, style, and culture that best represents you and the type of client you would like to serve. In order to do this in Oklahoma, you need to apply for an establishment license. To apply, submit the following:
- Submit Barbershop Establishment License Application
- Pay $50.00 Application Fee
Your Oklahoma Barber license will expire on the last day of June month each year. The Board will send you a renewal application, and you will need to submit this application with the $25.00 renewal fee.
Barber Salaries in Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s 230 licensed barbers earned an average salary that was three percent higher than the national average in 2013. That year, the average barber salary in Oklahoma was $28,560 according to the state’s Employment Security Commission.
The take home pay of Oklahoma’s barbers is likely to be substantially higher than reported here, because the official salary figures do not take tips into account. Gratuity can increase take-home pay by as much as 10 to 25%.
Experienced barbers generally command substantially higher levels of pay than those who are new to this practice. In fact, barber salaries in Oklahoma varied by 257% depending on level of experience. The most experienced barbers earned $43,670 on average, while those new to the field earned an average of $17,010 in 2013.
Barber salaries in Oklahoma by city:
Oklahoma City – $35,000
Tulsa – $36,000
Norman – $36,000
Employment Growth Projections for Barbers in Oklahoma
The number of licensed Oklahoma barbers is expected to increase by 7.18% between 2012 and 2022. An additional 90 jobs should become available in Oklahoma during this ten-year period due to growth in the field, and this doesn’t include those who go into business for themselves.
The combination of growth in the barber and tonsorial artist fields with the need to replace professionals who will enter retirement should generate 40 new jobs a year on average in Oklahoma.
Barbers are classified as members of the personal care service occupational category. Slightly more than 3% of Oklahoma’s workers were in this category in 2012. Barbers represented just 2.4% of the personal care services workers in Oklahoma that year.