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Regardless of whether you are trying to obtain a cosmetology license to become a hairstylist or a barber in your state of residence, one of the most important things to remember is the importance of testing. It does not matter where you live, your state board has an exam that you must pass in order to obtain the cosmetologist license that you desire. And furthermore, you should keep in mind that different preparation is needed for the different types of exams. If you would like to become a barber in your state of residence, you will have to take the barber licensing exam. On the other hand, if you would like to become a hair stylist, you will have to take the hair styling cosmetology test. So be sure to study as much as you can whether you are taking a hair styling or barber exam, as your knowledge of the subject matter will be tested on all of the specific issues of your desired profession. In any case, before you take these exams, it is important to remember the requirements you must meet, including the age and education prerequisites. Once you meet these requirements, you can learn more about how to prepare for the exams administered by the board of barbering and cosmetology in your state in the sections below. You will learn all about the two best ways to get yourself ready for the state cosmetology test, including using study guides and employing the help of practice tests.

Hairstylist and Barber License Study Guides

One of the best ways to prepare for the barber or hair stylist exam in your state of residence is to print out a study guide. Regardless of your location in the US, there are cosmetology study guides available for your benefit, with specific information on the license you want to obtain in your state. All you need to do in order to obtain these hair stylist study guides is go online and perform a quick search. Within minutes you should be able to find a comprehensive guide that features all of the important information you need to study in order to pass the barber exam. But, you must remember to access information on the cosmetologist license that is specific to your state, because the materials and guidelines for testing may vary from one location to the next. And, the last thing you want to do is study the wrong material.

When it comes to what is typically found on a hair stylist exam study guide, the information will vary depending on the kind of cosmetology license you are applying for. If you want a hair stylist license, the information on the hair stylist study guide will be different from that found on the barber exam study guide. For the hair stylist exam study guide, you can expect the following topics to be covered:

  • Services for clients
  • Sanitation procedures and safety
  • Makeup, facial and hair removal
  • Laws and rules, both legal and ethical
  • Manicuring and pedicuring

The reason that so many different topics are covered in the hair stylist study guide is because states typically do not have a specific license for hair styling. It is simply a specialty found under the general cosmetology license. But, that does not mean that the study guide and test will not feature their fair share of information and questions on hair-related procedures. All study guides for hair stylists will have sections on scalp care, hair care, waxing, chemical relaxing, styling and lightening, coloring and shaping for hair.

On the other hand, an applicant preparing for his or her barber exam should expect his or her study guide to focus more on the following topics:

  • Barber laws and regulations
  • Safety and sanitation
  • Hair styling and cutting
  • Hair structure
  • Shaving and trimming
  • Shampooing and chemical procedures

In any case, once you feel confident in your abilities, you can take the necessary steps to register for the official exam. Most states will allow you to do this online by setting a date and choosing your desired cosmetology license. Others require you to submit a request by mail or by phone. But if you are not yet ready for the test, consider this next preparation method.

Hairstylist and Barber License Practice Tests

By taking the time necessary to go over your state’s hair stylist or barber test study guide, you are improving your chances of passing your state’s cosmetology exam greatly. However, this should not be where your preparation ends. In order to make sure that you give yourself the absolute best chance of passing the cosmetologist test that is administered by your state’s board of cosmetology, you should also take hairdresser and barber exam practice tests, depending on the career path that you are pursuing.

Concerning what appears on hair stylist and barber written exam practice tests, the content will depend on the kind of license that you are pursuing. In most states, the hairstyling and barbering are two separate professions and thus come with separate exams. Therefore, they come with different practice tests as well. Applicants who are trying to obtain a barber license, for instance, will not encounter questions on specific information that a hair colorist would have to know and vice-versa. But what both of these practice tests will have in common is that they both show the prospective hair professional the exact format in which his or her official board of cosmetology exam will be presented. Furthermore, both types of exams typically take their barber exam practice questions from reputable study guides.

Once you have taken enough barber exam practice tests to know the material inside and out, you can register for your state’s applicable exam. Just keep in mind that when you go to take the barber exam or the test to become a professional hairdresser, you will be asked to present certain documentation. Typically, you will be asked to show a proof of your ID that shows your photo, name and signature. Driver’s licenses and state ID cards are good examples of acceptable documents. Also, you will not be allowed to bring in certain items, such as purses and dictionaries (unless you speak a foreign language and require assistance). Beyond these requirements, always be sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam, in order to wake up early to study again, have a good breakfast and get to the exam facility with plenty of time to spare.

Frequently Asked Questions

In order to obtain a hairstylist license or a barber license, you will need to pass either a hairstylist exam or a barber exam, depending on which area you want to practice.
You may be required to complete hair and barber schooling before you can apply to take the state board exam to obtain either a hairstylist license or a barber license.
Before you can take the state-board exam to obtain either a hairstylist license or a barber license, you may need to complete a certain amount of school hours, which varies from state-to-state.
Depending on which state you reside in, there may be two different exams in order to receive a hairstylist license and/or a barber license.
In order to schedule an appointment to take the state board exam to receive a hairstylist or barber license in your state, you can contact the cosmetology school you attended. is a privately owned website that is not affiliated with any government agencies.