Barbers are licensed hair care professionals that specialize in sophistication and style. West Virginia is home to such classic modern shops such as Tops Off Barbershop Salon and Spa in Charleston, which embodies both the cutting-edge trends in the barber industry and the nostalgic, old world barbershop feel. This shop offers cuts, waxing, and even a massage service to maximize comfort and relaxation. In a place that supports contemporary-classic barbershops like this, West Virginia is a great place to start your barbering career.
Before you start your career as a barber in West Virginia, you will first need to be licensed by the West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists. The Board regulates license requirements for barbers, cosmetologists, aestheticians, and nail technicians throughout the state. As a barber, you will specialize in the cutting, styling, and designing of men’s hair.
For guidance on how to become a licensed barber in West Virginia, follow these simple steps:
Step 1. Graduate from a 1200-Hour West Virginia Barber Training Program
Your first step toward attaining a West Virginia barber’s license is graduating from a Board-approved barber school. To be registered as a barber student in West Virginia, you must complete the following steps:
- Submit Student Registration Form
- Include Copy of High School Diploma or GED
- Include Copy of Social Security Card
- Include Recent Photograph
- Include Government Issued ID
- Include TB Test and Health Certification
- Pay $25.00 Registration Fee
The Board requires that your barber college provide you with 1200 hours of theoretical and practical barber training. These hours must meet the following Board requirements:
General Professional Information – 100 hours
- Professional Development
- Effective Communication
- Business Management/Ownership
- State Law
- Sanitation and General Infection Control
- First Aid
Introduction to Barbering – 3 hours
- History of Barbering
- Professional Image
Science of Barbering – 350 hours
- Infection Control
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Electricity and Chemistry
- Disorders of Skin, Hair, and Scalp
Professional Barbering – 747 hours
- Treatment of Hair and Scalp
- Shaving and Facial Hair Design
- Men’s Haircutting and Styling
- Men’s Hair Replacements
Step 2. Apply with D.L. Roope for Barber Licensing Examinations
Once you complete your barber education, you will be able to apply for the West Virginia licensing examinations. You will apply for these exams directly with the testing vendor, D.L. Roope Administrations. To submit an application, all you need to do is complete the following steps:
- Obtain Application from School
- Submit Online Application
- Select Examination Week
- Include 2×2 Photograph
- Include Copy of Photo Identification Card
- Pay $99 Examination Fee
- Pay $10 Online Registration Fee
Once you submit your application, you will receive information on scheduling and taking the licensing exams.
Step 3. Pass West Virginia Written and Practical Barber Licensing Examinations
Now that your application has been approved, and you have a time, date, and location for your exams, you will need to take and pass the two West Virginia licensing examinations: the written exam and the practical exam.
Before you take the written exam, make sure to download and read the Barber Theory Exam Candidate Information Bulletin. The written exam will be multiple-choice, and you will have 90 minutes to complete it. Be prepared to answer barber theory questions concerning the following subject areas:
- Scientific Concepts – 30%
- Hair Care Services – 50%
- Facial Hair Services – 10 %
- Skin Care and Facial Services – 10%
While you are taking the written exam, you will also take the West Virginia State Law examination. You will have 30 minutes to complete this portion of the written exam, and it will cover the West Virginia Barber and Cosmetology laws, rules, and regulations.
For the practical exam, you will first need to download the Barber Practical Exam Candidate information Bulletin, which has general and important instructions for the exam day. This physical exam will require you to bring your own kit, supplies, and mannequin head. With those supplies and the mannequin head, you will have three hours to perform the following barber services:
- Set Up and Client Protection – 10 minutes
- Haircutting – 30 minutes
- Shaving with a Straight Razor – untimed
- Candidate Summary and Final Cleanup – untimed
You must pass each exam with a score of 70% or higher in order to be eligible for the West Virginia barber license. Your exam scores will be posted to the D.L. Roope website 7-10 business days after you complete the exam. You will need to print a copy of your results letter within two weeks of the results being posted, since you will not receive a hardcopy in the mail.
Step 4. Submit Application for Initial License Registration
Once you have successfully passed the licensing exams, you will be able to submit your final application for a West Virginia barber license. To do this, simply complete the following steps:
- Compete Initial License Application
- Include Official Barber School Transcripts
- Include Copy of High School Diploma or GED
- Include Copy of Passing Letter for Licensing Exam Results
- Include Copy of TB/Health Certificate
- Include Passport-Sized Photo
- Include Photo ID
- Include Copy of Social Security Card
- Pay $35.00 License Certification Fee
Once the West Virginia Board receives and approves your application, they will issue you your initial West Virginian barber license!
Step 5. Start your Career as a Barber in West Virginia
Now that you are licensed as a barber in West Virginia, you can begin looking for work! To work in an established barbershop, you may rent a booth or otherwise work on commission.
To rent a booth, submit a booth/chair rental registration form, and pay the $15.00 application fee. Once the Board approves your application, you will be given a booth rental certificate, and you will be able to work in local barbershops such as these:
- Spadafore Barbering and Styling – Fairmont
- Tops Off Barbershop Salon and Spa – Charleston
- Drive In Barber Shop – Southeast Charleston
- John’s Barbershop and Stylists – Morgantown
- Frank’s Campus Barber Shop – Huntington
To open your own shop, you will need a shop license. To obtain this license, you must complete the following steps:
- Complete Shop Opening and License Application
- Submit $90 Application and Inspection Fee
- Post the Shop Opening Letter from the Board
- Conduct Shop Opening Inspection
- Print out and Post Shop Rules and Regulations
Step 6. Renew your West Virginia Barber License Annually
You will need to renew your West Virginia barber license by January 1st of each year in order to keep working as a barber. To renew your license, you will need to complete at least 4 hours of continuing education each year. The Board may audit these credits, so you should keep documentation of your continuing education courses, subjects, dates, and credit hours.
As the renewal date approaches, the West Virginia Board will send you a renewal notice and application. If, however, you do not have your renewal application, you may simply send a note to the Board with the following information:
- Statement that you wish to renew your barber license
- Current barber license number
- Social security number
- Your current address
- Your phone number
- $35.00 renewal fee
You will also need to renew your booth rental certificate each year. This license should be renewed by July 1st, and will require a $15.00 renewal fee.
Barber Salaries in West Virginia
Becoming a barber in West Virginia involves completing 1,200 hours of training at an approved school and passing a barbering test in order to become licensed to practice. All license applicants must also have a TB screening. There are 18 approved schools for barbering scattered in cities throughout the state.
How Much Does a Barber Make in West Virginia?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have West Virginia occupational wage tables for barbers per se; however, the following are their West Virginia listings for “Personal Care and Service – all Others.”
Barber salaries are significantly affected by tips which generally average 15 to 20 percent of the cost of the service.
Barber Salaries in Various West Virginia Cities
According to survey data gathered by the online salary site, salary.com, barbers earn the following annual salaries in five major West Virginia cities.
The following is a Bureau of Labor Statistics table of personal care worker salaries for large cities and metropolitan areas in West Virginia.