Barber Schools and License Requirements in Rhode Island

As a place that invokes classic style and traditional masculinity, Rhode Island is a wonderful place to start your career as a barber.

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and training expects the number of hairstylist and barbering jobs to grow quickly between 2012 and 2022 to meet growing demand, with almost 1000 new barbers expected to enter the men’s grooming industry during that time period.

For guidance on how to meet the Rhode Island barber license requirements and begin your career in Rhode Island, follow these steps:

Graduate from a 1500-Hour Rhode Island Barber Training Program
Submit a Rhode Island Barber License Application
Pass the Rhode Island Written and Practical Licensing Exams
Start a Career in Rhode Island’s Barbering Industry
Renew your Rhode Island Barbering License Biannually

To begin your barbering career in Rhode Island, you will first need to be licensed through the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) after satisfying licensing requirements enforced by the Rhode Island Board of Hairdressing and Barbering (Board). This Board regulates the different licensing standards and requirements for body piercers, cosmetologists, estheticians, manicurists, tattoo artists, tanning facilities, hairdressers, and barbers. Barbers may work with the styling, cutting, and designing of all hair, though they traditionally focus on men’s hair and facial hair.



Step 1. Graduate from a 1500-Hour Rhode Island Barber Training Program

Your first step toward a Rhode Island barbering license is graduating from a barbering school in the state The Board requires your school to provide you with at least 1500 hours of theoretical and practical barbering training.

These hours may include, but are not limited to, the following barbering subjects:

  • Tapered and Styled Haircutting
  • Shampooing
  • Waving
  • Honing and Stropping
  • Facial Massage
  • Hair Coloring
  • Mustaches and Beards
  • Shaving
  • Sanitation and Infection Control

Apprenticeship Option

If you want to complete a barber apprenticeship to fulfill your educational requirements, you will need to become registered as a barber apprentice with the Rhode Island Board. You do this by submitting the Rhode Island Barber Apprentice Application. Once registered, you will need to work full-time under the direct supervision of a licensed barber for two full years. After this two-year period, you will need to submit an affidavit from your employer, proving that you have been working full-time as an apprentice barber for those two years.

The Rhode Island Board allows you to mix formal education and apprenticeship experience, as well. If you want to do this, you will need to complete 1000 hours of training at a barbering school, along with a minimum of 840 hours of on-the-job training. These 840 hours of on-the-job training must be conducted as a registered barber apprentice, and you must take at least six months to complete it.

Enter Zip:


Step 2. Submit a Rhode Island Barber License Application

After you have completed barber school, you will need to submit an initial barber license application to the Rhode Island Board. This application will serve two purposes: it will notify the board of your eligibility to take the licensing exams, and it will serve as your application for the barbering license. To submit the application, complete the following steps:

  • Submit the Rhode Island Barber License Application
  • Attach Recent, Passport Photograph
  • Submit Copy of Birth Certificate
  • Attach High School Transcripts
  • Send Official Transcripts from Barbering School
  • Pay $25.00 Application Fee (made payable to RI General Treasurer)


If you have completed 1500 hours of barber school and have passed written and practical licensing exams in another state, you may qualify for a Rhode Island license based on endorsement. To apply for this, you will need to submit all of the above application material, along with

  • Copy of Out-of-State License
  • License Verification Sent Directly from Previous Licensing Board

You may submit all application materials to the Board at the following address:

Rhode Island Department of Health
Board of Hairdressing & Barbering
Room 104, 3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908-5097

Once the Board receives the above information, you will be issued a one-time, 90-day, temporary license. This license will allow you to work while the Board is scheduling your licensing exams.



Step 3. Pass the Rhode Island Written and Practical Licensing Exams

Now that you have submitted your application, will need to pass the Rhode Island licensing exams. The Rhode Island Board will attain and administer the exams, which were created by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC). To be considered by the Rhode Island Board for a license, you will need to pass both the NIC written and a practical exam with a score of 70% or higher.

Written Exam

The written exam is a 90-minute, multiple-choice, theory examination. It will test your knowledge on barbering subjects including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Infection Control and Safe Practices
  • Tools and Implements
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Chemistry
  • Electricity and Light
  • Hair and Scalp Disorders and Structure
  • Draping Procedures for Facial Shaving Services
  • Facial Treatments
  • Shaving Procedures
  • Hair Design
  • Client Consultation

Practical Exam

The practical exam will require you to bring your own kit and model or mannequin, and to show your ability to perform barbering duties. You will be tested on your capacity to complete the following barbering tasks:

  • Set Up and Client Protection
  • Shaving with a Straight Razor
  • Haircutting
  • Basic Facial
  • Final Cleanup and Summary

Once you pass these exams with the Rhode Island Board, you will be issued your initial barbering license.



Step 4. Start a Career in Rhode Island’s Barbering Industry

With formal training and a license in barbering, you are able to work as a barber stylist or hairstyle and color technician in a barbershop or salon that hires barbers. Some of the best barbershops in Rhode Island are starting to work more evening hours, to accommodate Rhode Islander’s busy schedules.

If you are looking to secure a job with one of the best-rated barbershops in Rhode Island, consider some of the following options:

  • Bitar Barber Shop – Cranston
  • Top Notch Barbershop – Warwick
  • Peters Barbershop – Bristol
  • RJZ Barbershop – Woonsocket
  • Maria’s Barber Shop – North Kingstown
  • All American Barber Shop – Middletown



Step 5. Renew your Rhode Island Barbering License Biannually

Your license will expire on September 30th every other year. The Rhode Island Board will mail you a renewal form on or before September 1st of your renewal year. You will need to submit this form and the renewal fee back to the Board, or you will need to renew online.

The Rhode Island Board does not ask barbers to complete continuing education in order to renew their licenses. However, taking advanced barbering courses is a helpful way to increase your earning potential. Advanced courses will keep you on the cutting edge of men’s style, barbering products, and business techniques that will all prove beneficial to an excelling barber.

If you are looking to advance your Rhode Island barbering career, you can open and manage your own barbershop. You will need to first obtain a Rhode Island shop license. Once you have been a licensed, practicing barber for one year, you may apply for this shop license. To do so, complete the following steps:

  • Submit Hair Design Shop License Application
  • Submit Proof of Barbering License for One Year
  • Submit $170.00 Application Fee

Barber Salaries in Rhode Island

The number of licensed barbers in Rhode Island is expected to grow by 8.3% in the ten-year period ending in 2022 according to the state’s Department of Labor & Training. A number of additional jobs will become available during this time period due to the need to replace barbers who will leave the field to enter retirement.

Eighty-three new Rhode Island barbers received licenses in 2012 according to the state’s Office of Health Professions Regulation. When added to the 438 professionals who renewed their licenses that year, Rhode Island had 514 licensed barbers active in 2012.

At $30,344 a year, the median barber salary in Rhode Island’s major cities was 21.3% above the national median according to November 2014 figures from, which compiles salaries based on current job ads.

Rhode Island barbers are likely to earn even more than this, because such salary figures do not take tips into account.

Barber salaries in Rhode Island by city:

Providence – $44,000
Warwick – $45,000
Cranston – $44,000

Factors that Impact a Barber’s Salary in Rhode Island

Barber salaries in Rhode Island differed 2.2 fold depending on whether these professionals had experience or were just starting out. The average salary for experienced barbers was $42,187, while those new to the field earned $19,042 on average.

More than 96% of all US barbers worked in the personal care services industry in 2013 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. They made up 2.24% of all personal care workers in the US.

While only 0.2% of the country’s barbers worked in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, these professionals were paid 1.33 times more than those in the personal care services industry.

Back to Top