Texas is home to two of the “Manliest Barbershops in America” according to Men’s Health Magazine. The first, Big Kat’s Tattoo and Barbershop in Houston, specializes in classic cuts form the ‘40s and ‘50s and offers an old-fashioned atmosphere, hot lather and hot towel shaves – and even tattoos! The second, Birds Barbershop, located in Austin, offers a free beer with every haircut, video games, and sometimes, DJs and live performances. The free beer and easy-on-your-wallet cuts are probably why Birds regularly services more than 15,000 customers monthly throughout their five Austin franchises.
Barbers are the experts of men’s style, invoking the spirit of traditional masculinity. As a barber, you will specialize in the cutting, styling, and trimming of hair, beards, and moustaches. If you’re ready to begin your career as a barber in Texas, you will first need to become familiar with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) and the Texas State Board of Barber Examiners, which are the agencies responsible for regulating the education and exam requirements for barbers throughout the state.
For guidance on how to meet the Texas barber licensing requirements and how to become a licensed barber in Texas, follow the steps in this guide:
Step 1. Graduate from a 1500-Hour Texas Barber Training Program
To be eligible for licensure in Texas, you must first complete 1500 hours of barber training. To do so, fill out the Barber Student Permit Application and submit it to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Once you have a student permit, you will be able to enroll in a barber training program.
The Texas State Board of Barber Examiners requires that your training include the following required courses:
- Texas Barber Laws and Rules
- Hygienic Bacteriology
- Science of Barbering
- Histology of the Hair, Skin, Muscles, and Nerves
- Skin and Hair Disorders
- Facial Treatments
- Hair Weaving
- Servicing of Wigs
- Structure of the Head, Neck, and Face
- Elementary Chemistry
Once you graduate, your barber training school will send your notification of completion to PSI Services, the Texas licensing exam testing vendor.
Step 2. Pass the Texas Practical and Theory Licensing Examinations
The Texas Board uses PSI Services as a testing vendor for the barber licensing exams. You will receive a PSI eligibility postcard once you have met all of the Texas licensing eligibility requirements. On this postcard, you will receive instructions on how to register for and schedule your exams with PSI Services.
Before you register, you will need to read the Texas Barber Candidate Information Bulletin. Once you do that, you may register for and take two exams to be licensed as a barber in Texas: the written exam and the practical exam.
The written exam is a 100-minute, computer-based exam that costs $55.00 to schedule. It will test your knowledge on barber service subjects, including the following:
- Sanitation, Disinfection, Sterilization
- Shampooing and Conditioning
- Hair Coloring
- Nail Care/Skin Care
- Texas License Requirements
- Chemical Waving
- Haircutting and Hair styling
The written exam is offered in the following Texas cities:
- Corpus Christi
- El Paso
- Fort Worth
- San Antonio
The practical exam is 180 minutes long, and it will cost $78.00 to schedule. You will need to bring your own supply kit, model, and mannequin to this exam. The exam will assess your ability to perform the following barber services:
- Blow Dry
- Hair Shaping
- Shaving Service
- Facial Service
- Chemical Service
- Permanent Waving
The practical exam is offered in the following Texas locations:
- San Antonio
- DFW Metroplex
- Greater Houston Area
- El Paso
Once you pass both of these exams, PSI Services will report your passing scores to the Texas State Board of Barber Examiners.
Step 3. Attain an Initial Barber License from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
Once you have completed the education and exam requirements, you will need to contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to attain an initial barber license application, which is not available online. You may contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation by calling (800) 803-9202, visiting www.tdlr.texas.gov, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will need to return this application, along with a $55 application fee to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Once they process and accept your application, they will issue you your Texas barber license. You may return the application to the following address:
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
PO Box 12157
Austin, Texas 78711-2157
If you hold a barber license from another state, you may qualify to attain a Texas barber license through reciprocity. You will need to make sure that the licensing requirements for your previous license match or supersede the Texas licensing requirements. If so, you can apply for a reciprocity license without taking the Texas examinations by completing the following steps:
- Submit Barber License by Reciprocity Application
- Attach Copy of your Out-of-State License
- Submit a Letter of Certification from Out-of-State Licensing Agency
- Submit $110.00 Reciprocity Licensing Fee
You will submit all reciprocity application materials to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation at the above mailing address.
Step 4. Start your Career as a Barber in Texas
As of 2014, the Texas Board has changed their policy, so that you may rent a booth in a barbershop for no fee. If you are interested in renting a booth or chair in one of the best barbershops in Texas, consider the following options:
- Birds Barbershop – Austin
- The Elite Barbershop – New Braunfels
- Wooten Barber Shop – Austin
- Best Little Barber Shop – Houston
- The Good Life Barber Shop – Austin
To advance your career as a barber in Texas, you can open your own mini barbershop or full service barbershop. In doing this, you get to control the look, feel, and style of your shop and create a unique experience for your clients. You will have to keep your barber license active even after attaining a shop permit.
Step 5. Renew your Texas Barber License Biannually
You will need to renew your barber license every two years. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation will send you a renewal packet in the mail, but if you do not receive one, you may renew your barber license and submit the $55 renewal fee online.
Even though the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation does not require you to complete continuing education credits to renew your license, taking advanced barber courses is a great way to enhance your barbering ability. These courses will keep you on the cutting edge of the latest in men’s styling services and styling products.
Barber Salaries in Texas
Occupational employment statistics published by the Texas Workforce Commission show that there were 5,290 barber jobs in 2010, and that number was expected to increase by 11 percent by the year 2020. There are approximately 155 job openings every year.
Barbers in the state are licensed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which requires candidates to complete 1,500 hours (nine months) at one of the more than 50 barbering schools located in the state.
Comparing Texas Barber Salaries with National Averages
Barbers in Texas tend to earn more than the national average as shown here:
Clients usually tip barbers, which adds considerably to their overall income. Most tips are between 15 and 20 percent.
Barber Salaries in Texas by Experience and Location
The Texas Workforce Commission lists 2014 statewide salary figures for barbers as follows:
The following shows barber salaries for different areas of the state. Note that the “Capital Area” includes the capital city of Austin and several surrounding cities/towns while “Tarrant County” holds Fort Worth and is one of the 12 counties that make up the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area. North Texas encompasses Dallas, Fort Worth, Wichita Falls and several other manor cities.
Differences in Barber Salaries in Various Cities and Metropolitan Areas
US Department of Labor figures show that barbers in Wichita, Texas earned the second highest salary in the field nationwide
The following table describes barber salaries for large cities and metropolitan areas in Texas (BLS 2013).