Barber Schools and License Requirements in South Carolina

Employment rates in South Carolina are higher than the national average, according to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. Even further, South Carolina is home to old-fashioned barbershops that create the perfect atmosphere for styling hair, beards, and moustaches. Paul’s Barbershop, which is known for vintage Koken Triumph barber chairs, checker boards, pool tables, 1900’s solid oak church pews, and Paul’s original 1950’s Marvy #55 barber pole. South Carolina shops like these specialize in keeping the classic American barbershop alive today.

Before you can begin your stable, rewarding career as a barber in South Carolina, you will need to become licensed through the South Carolina Board of Barber Examiners. This Board enforces the licensing standards for barbers throughout the state, defining barbers as those who specialize in cutting, styling, and trimming hair.

For guidance on how to become a barber in South Carolina, complete the following steps:

Graduate from a 1500-Hour South Carolina Barber Training Program
Submit Application for South Carolina License and Examination
Pass South Carolina Theory and Practical Licensing Exams
Explore Career Options and Keep your License Current



Step 1. Graduate from a 1500-Hour South Carolina Barber Training Program

Start by filling out a Student Permit Application to register as a student barber in South Carolina. To meet the South Caronia licensing requirements, your barber school must offer at least 1500 hours of courses and practical training that covers the following subjects:

  • Hygiene and Good Grooming – 45 hours
  • Professional Ethics – 30 hours
  • Bacteriology and Sanitation – 35 hours
  • Implements – 8 hours
  • Shaving – 10 hours
  • Men’s Haircutting – 450 hours
  • Cutting and Styling Curly and Over-Curly Hair – 150 hours
  • Mustaches and Beards – 15 hours
  • Shampooing and Rinsing – 50 hours
  • Hair and Scalp Treatment – 35 hours
  • Facial Treatments – 15 hours
  • Razor Haircutting – 45 hours
  • Hair Waving and Curling – 50 hours
  • Permanent Waving – 150 hours
  • Men’s Hairpieces – 25 hours
  • Disorders of the Skin, Scalp, and Hair – 35 hours
  • Anatomy and Physiology – 10 hours
  • Shop management – 35 hours
  • Retailing – 35 hours
  • Licensing Laws – 5 hours
  • History of Barbering – 5 hours
  • Orientation and Introduction of School Policy – 5 hours
  • Honing and Stropping – 8 hours
  • Chemical Hair Relaxing – 40 hours
  • Hair coloring – 90 hours
  • Electricity and Light therapy – 5 hours
  • Chemistry – 90 hours
  • Testing – 24 hours

Alternately, the South Carolina Board of Barber Examiners also allows you to complete on-the-job training. To do this, you would need to find a licensed, qualified barber training instructor, and you would have to work directly under the instructor for 12 months. The approximate number of training hours you would need to attain is 1,920.

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Step 2. Submit Application for South Carolina License and Examination

The South Carolina Board has allowed Professional Credential Services (PCS) to proctor the licensing exams. Because of this, you will need to submit your application for license and examination directly to PCS. To submit this application, complete the following steps:

All of the paper application materials will need to be sent to PCS at the following address:

Attn: South Carolina Barbering
P.O. Box 198768
Nashville, Tennessee  37219‐8768

Once all of your application materials are received by PCS, you will be approved for testing. You will receive an authorization letter for each test in the mail.


If you hold a barbering license in a different state, the South Carolina Board will allow you to apply for a license through reciprocity under certain conditions. If your previous licensing state required barbering training school and passing the national exams, you may submit an application for a license based on reciprocity. To do so, just complete the following steps:

  • Submit Barber Reciprocity Application
  • Letter of Certification from Previous Licensing State
  • Two Notarized Statements from Licensed Barbers Indicating
  • $140.00 Application Fee

You will submit all reciprocity application materials to the South Carolina Board at the following address:

South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
Board of Barber Examiners
Post Office Box 11329
Columbia, SC 29211-1329



Step 3. Pass the South Carolina Theory and Practical Licensing Exams

You will receive a Theory Authorization to Test letter for the theory exam, and you will receive a Practical Exam Admission Notice for the practical exam from PCS. You will need to bring both of these testing admission materials with you to the exam.

Theory Exam

Once you receive your authorization to test letter, you may schedule the theory exam online with PSI Services. This theory exam will be a multiple-choice, written or online exam, and it will contain questions on the following barbering subjects:

  • Infection Control and Safety
  • Immunity
  • Facial and Shaving Services
  • Skin Histology
  • Hair and Scalp Disorders
  • Hair Care – Scalp and Hair Analysis
  • Electricity, Chemistry, and Light
  • Haircutting and Styling
  • Elements of Design

Practical Exam

You will have requested a date and time for your practical exam when filling out the online application. You will need to bring your own kit and model with you to this exam. This exam will require you to complete the following barbering tasks:

  • Set up and Client Protection
  • Shaving with a Straight Razor
  • Haircutting and Blow Drying
  • Thermal Curling
  • Final Summary and Cleanup

Once you pass these exams, PCS will email your scores to the South Carolina Board. The Board will issue your barbering license within 30 business days.



Step 4. Explore Career Options and Keep your License Current

As a licensed barber in South Carolina, you have multiple different work options. You can look for jobs at barbershops, at salons, rent a chair in an established shop, or create your own unique barbershop experience. Some of South Carolina’s favorite shops are located in Columbia:

  • Fades & Arches Barbershop
  • Paul’s Barbershop
  • Carolina Barbershop
  • Off Post Barber Shop
  • Carolina Barber Shop

To open your own barbershop you will need to obtain a South Carolina barbershop license. To apply for this license, simply complete the following steps:

The South Carolina barber license expires on June 30th of the renewal year. You will have a renewal notice mailed to you by the Board around May 1st. To renew, all you need to do is return this form and the $125.00 renewal fee to the Board.

Barber Salaries in South Carolina

Nineteen barber jobs were advertised online in October 2014 according to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. Nearly half of the seven barber jobs advertised on November 2014 were available in Charleston. Richland had the second highest number of advertised positions.

The state of South Carolina requires a license from its Board of Barber Examiners for all those interested in becoming a barber in the state, which requires meeting training and examination requirements. This board reinstated a requirement for prospective barbers to pass a test on shaving with a straight razor starting in 2014.

Barber salaries in South Carolina by city:

Columbia – $41,000
Charleston – $40,000
North Charleston – $39,000

Expected Earnings for South Carolina’s Barbers

The average 2013 barber salary in South Carolina was $23,600 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It indicated that salaries in South Carolina were nearly twice as high for experienced barbers.

Experienced barbers in South Carolina earned an average of $32,160, while those new to the field earned $16,690 on average.

Charleston area barbers earned an average of $2,070 to $3,600 more than the average for the state as a whole, depending on their income bracket. Their average salary was $25,900, while the most experienced earned $36,760 on average, and entry-level barbers earned $19,030.

South Carolina’s barbers are likely to earn more than these figures indicate, because official salary statistics for these professionals do not factor in tips from customers.

The BLS provides additional details on 2013 barber salaries in the Charleston area:

Area name
Annual mean wage
Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville SC
Estimate not released

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