Barber Schools and License Requirements in South Dakota

South Dakota is home to traditional barbershops with modern flare like The Man Salon, which was voted the number one barbershop in Sioux Falls by The Man Salon offers a traditionally masculine lounging area, filled with leather club chairs, big screen HDTVs, peanuts, drinks, hot towel treatments, and more.

Review the steps in this guide to learn how to become a barber in South Dakota:

Graduate from a 1500-Hour Barber Training Program
Apply for a License to Practice as a Registered Barber
Pass National Theory and State Practical Licensing Exams
Exploring Career Options as a Licensed Barber in South Dakota

In response to growing demand for barbering services in South Dakota, the number of hairstylists is expected to increase by 12.2% between 2010 and 2020, according to the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation.

If you’re ready to start your own barbering and hairstyling career in South Dakota, you will first need to achieve licensure through the South Dakota Board of Barber Examiners. The Board defines barbers as those who provide haircutting, hairstyling, facial shaving, and other hair services to the general public.



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

Your fist step is graduating from a South Dakota barber training program. The Board requires that your training program provide at least 1500 hours of barber training in the following subjects:

  • Scientific Fundamentals for Barbering
  • Hygiene
  • Bacteriology as Applied to Barbering
  • Structure of the Head, Face, and Neck
  • Elementary Chemistry
  • Sterilization and Antiseptics
  • Diseases of the Skin and Hair
  • Massaging and Manipulating
  • Haircutting
  • Shaving
  • Arranging
  • Dressing, Coloring, Bleaching, and Tinting Hair

After you complete this program, you will be eligible to submit the application for your exam and South Dakota barber license.

Enter Zip:


Step 2. Apply for a License to Practice as a Registered Barber

If you are between the age of 16½ and 18, you will need to apply for a license as a South Dakota Apprentice Barber. To be licensed as an apprentice barber, you will need to have completed a barber training program, the licensing exams, and gained work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed barber for one full year. Once you have completed those steps, you may receive a certification as a registered barber.

However, as long as you are at least 18 years old, are a citizen of the U.S., and have met the educational requirements, you may submit an application for the South Dakota registered barber examination and license. To submit this application, all you need to do is complete the following steps:

You will submit this application to the South Dakota Board at the following mailing address:

South Dakota Board of Barber Examiners
810 N. Main Street, Suite 298
Spearfish, SD 57783



Step 3. Pass National Theory and State Practical Licensing Exams

The South Dakota Board has two different licensing exams that you will need to pass, including the written exam and the practical examination. You must pass both of these exams with a score of 75% or higher in order to receive your barber license.

National Written Examination

The national written exam will be administered by the Board. The exam itself was created by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC). This exam will be a 90-minute, written exam that tests your knowledge on the following barber subject areas:

  • Electricity and Light
  • Skin Histology
  • Shaving Procedures
  • Facial Hair Design
  • Sanitation and Infection Control
  • Chemistry
  • Hair and Scalp Disorders
  • Facial Treatments
  • Head Shaving
  • Hairpieces

State Practical Examination

The South Dakota Board holds these practical exams two to four times each year, depending on how many barber applicants there are. You will be scheduled directly with the Board for this exam, and it will grade your ability to perform the following barber tasks:

  • Sanitation
  • Dying Hair
  • Rolling Hair
  • Haircut and Style
  • Facial Shave

Once you complete both of these exams with a score above 75%, all you will need to do is pay the final licensing fee at the location where you take your practical exam. After the South Dakota Board receives this fee, you will receive your South Dakota barber license.



Step 4. Exploring Career Options as a Licensed Barber in South Dakota

Once you receive your South Dakota barber license, you may look for jobs at local barbershops or salons that hire barbers as hairstylists, rent a chair at your favorite shop or even open your own shop independently. If you’re looking for some great local barbershops, consider some of the following options in South Dakota’s fastest growing cities:

  • Vern’s Barber Shop – Rapid City
  • Occars – Rapid City
  • The Man Salon – Sioux Falls
  • Earl’s Barbers – Sioux Falls
  • Southway Barber Shop – Sioux Falls
  • Jerry’s Barber Shop – Sioux Falls
  • Grange Avenue Barber Shop – Sioux Falls

If you are ready to move forward in your barbering career, you can open your own barbershop. In doing this, you get to blaze the trail by determining your own style and theme for the shop. To open your own shop, you must have a barbershop license, which you can acquire by completing the following steps:

Even though you are the registered owner of a barbershop, you will need to continue renewing your barber license if you wish to work as a barber.

Your license must be renewed by June 30th each year. To renew your license, you may submit a renewal form with the $75.00 barber renewal fee attached.

Barber Salaries in South Dakota

The average barber salary in South Dakota was $27,000 in November 2014 according to, which shows an aggregation of salaries based on advertised jobs. This figure is likely to underestimate the level of take home pay of South Dakota’s barbers, because salary values such as these do not take tips into account.

Barber salaries in South Dakota varied depending on qualifications. Recent 2014 job postings showed an average of $19,000 for a barber in South Dakota, while listings for an “experienced barber” were 1.6 times higher at an average of $31,000.

Barber salaries in South Dakota by city:

Sioux Falls – $33,000
Rapid City – $32,000
Aberdeen – $37,000

Qualifying to Work as a Barber in South Dakota

All barbers in South Dakota must have a license from the state’s Board of Barber Examiners to practice in the state. Even licensed barbershop owners must have an additional barber’s license to practice. If they do not possess such a license, they must have a licensed barber working all hours their shop is open.

The South Dakota Board of Barber Examiners’ official November 2014 roster listed 206 barbers as being licensed to practice in the state. South Dakota offers the option for barbers in other states to obtain a South Dakota barber’s license if their home state has a reciprocal agreement. Interestingly, a number of barbers licensed in South Dakota listed their place of residence in other states, according to the Board’s roster.

Nearly half of all of the country’s barbers are self-employed. More than 96% of US barbers work in the personal service care industry providing services to customers. A small percentage work for employment services or in hospitals that specialize in substance abuse or psychiatric care. The average barber salaries are generally higher for those who work in hospitals.

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