Texas – Barber

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations Barbering (TDLR) exams: Free practice test, and everything you need to know

Your time at Barber school is nearly at an end. Where did the time go?

It seems like just yesterday you enrolled in Barber school. And you still remember how nervous you were before your first class.

But during that time you’ve learned to shave like a pro, and you now know exactly how to cut, color, and style men’s’ hair.

Yes, it’s been an intense journey. But now, you’ve nearly finished Barber school.

And that’s exciting, right? You are SO close to starting your dream career!

But before you rock up at your first job, shears in hand, you’ll need a Barbering license. And that means you need to pass the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations Barbering exams.

Now, if you’re anything like the students we speak to every day, you might be feeling a little worried about taking your exams.

In fact, the whole process can feel overwhelming, there’s so much to think about!

Well, don’t worry: On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about scheduling and preparing for your exams, answers to all the most common questions, and a free practice test to check you’re prepared!

Go straight to the practice test

Table of Contents:

The process of registering for (and passing!) your Texas Barber exams

For the last few months, you’ve probably thought of little else but school.

And that’s hardly surprising. After all, being a Barber is a highly skilled job.

Not only do you need all the talent of an artist, but you’ve got to learn all about the biology of the hair and scalp too. Then, you’ve got to know how to handle chemicals and understand how to keep your clients’ safe at all times.

It’s a tall order, and that’s before we even think about the customer service skills you’ve been busy building!

So, given how busy you’ve been, it’s no surprise that the TDLR exams can kind of… sneak up on you.

But, don’t worry if you’re feeling a little confused: we’ll walk you through the process step by step. Starting with…

Step 1: Check you’re eligible to take the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations Barber exams

In Texas, Barbers must hold a ‘Class A Barbering License’. This license qualifies the holder to offer a full range of barbering services, from facial shaving to cutting, styling, and chemically treating hair.

In order to get your Class A Barbering  license, you must:

  • Pass a written and practical examination
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent qualification OR
  • Have taken an ‘ability-to-benefit’ test administered by a certified testing agency AND
  • Be at least 16 years old AND
  • Have Completed 1,500 hours of instruction in a Texas Barber school OR
  • Hold a valid Texas Cosmetology license and have completed 300 hours of instruction in Barbering through an approved training program

However, you do not need to meet all of these requirements before you take your written test.

So, in order to be eligible to take the written exam set by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations, you must have completed 1,000 hours of your Barber program.

Once you meet this threshold, your school will contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation on your behalf.

Now, you can’t take your practical exam just yet, but you can move on to the next step:

Step 2: Schedule your written exam

Once you have completed your minimum 1,000 hours of study, you will receive an email for the Department of Licensing and Regulations, with instructions on how to schedule your written exam.

All exams take place at PSI centers, and the easiest way to schedule your exam is via the PSI website.

To do this you will need to:

  1. Log onto the PSI website and create an account (making sure your name and email address match those on file with the Department of Licensing and Regulations)
  2. Select your exam (it is important that you select the correct exam at this point as slightly different licenses exist for Barbers who wish to offer limited or additional services)
  3. Enter the ID number (this can be found in the email the TDLR sent, instructing you on how to schedule your exam)
  4. Enter your zip code and select your examination center
  5. Choose from the available dates
  6. And finally, make a payment of $50 using a credit or debit card

A step by step walkthrough of this process, including pictures, can be found here.

Alternatively, you can schedule your exam:

Once you have booked your exam, be sure to make a note of the time and date so that you don’t miss your slot!

Step 3: Arrive at the exam center on exam day

You should arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes before your scheduled examination time to allow time to sign in and familiarize yourself with the exam process.

This will also allow for any delays you encounter due to traffic, or public transport issues which is important because, if you arrive late, you will not be allowed to sit your exam and your fees will be forfeited.

If you are late, you will need to reschedule your exam and will have to pay again.

When signing in at your test center, you must produce 1 form of identification (ID).

The identification must be a VALID form of government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, state ID, or passport book. The identification must contain the following biographical information:

(1) printed name

(2) photograph

(3) signature

(4) date of birth

(5) expiration date

Temporary licenses or IDs will be accepted only if they are accompanied by either the expired/invalid license or another form of photo ID.

Current public high school IDs are also valid when accompanied by a photocopy of the TDLR student permit. However, if you have graduated from high school, your ID is only valid until August 31 of that year.

Current community college and junior college IDs are also valid government-issued IDs and require only your printed name, photograph, and date of birth.

Passport cards are not accepted (although Passport books are accepted, cards do not hold enough information on their own).

In the interest of security, and to prevent cheating, you will not be allowed to bring any of the following items into your test with you:

  • Electronic devices
  • Bulky or loose clothing
  • Hats or headgear (except those worn for religious reasons)
  • Bags or purses
  • Notebooks or reference books
  • Food and drink
  • Writing implements
  • Good luck charms

When you arrive at the examination center, you will be told where to leave your bags and other personal items. Then, before you enter the examination room, you will be asked if you have any prohibited items and may be asked to empty your pockets.

Then, it’s time to take your exam!

Step 5: Take the written exam

In Texas, the written barber exam is completed entirely via a computer. So, when it is time to take your exam, you will be directed to a computer terminal.

Then, once you have been directed to your seat, you will be prompted to confirm:

  • Your name
  • Identification number
  • And the examination you are sitting

You will then be given 15 minutes to complete an introductory tutorial. This tutorial includes sample questions, but the time you take on this task doesn’t impact the amount of time you’ll have to complete your test.

When your test begins, you will have 90 minutes to answer 85 questions on:

  • Licensing and Regulation (7 questions)
  • Sanitation, Disinfection, Sterilization, and Safety (25 questions)
  • Hair and Scalp Care (4 questions)
  • Haircutting and Hairstyling (12 questions)
  • Hair coloring (8 questions)
  • Chemical Texture Services (10 questions)

A full breakdown of the topics included can be found here.

You will also be given 10 minutes to answer 8 questions that do not count towards your final grade. These questions are used to improve the exam for future students.

Step 6: Get your results

As soon as you complete your first exam, your results will appear on your computer screen. Then, an official score sheet will be printed for you to take away with you.

In order to pass your written exam, you must score at least 70%. And if you fail, you will need to book your test again.

However, If you do fail the first time, try not to be too disheartened. If you fail your exam, a diagnostic showing which questions you struggled with will show on screen, allowing you to concentrate your revision on your weaker subjects.

Step 7: Schedule your practical exam

Once you have passed your written exam and completed 1,500 hours of school, you are ready to take your practical test!

As with your written exam, eligibility for the practical exam will be sent to the TDLR by your school. You will then receive an email prompting you to book your test.

All exams take place at PSI centers, and the easiest way to schedule your exam is via the PSI website.

To do this you will need to:

  1. Log onto the PSI website
  2. Select your exam
  3. Enter your  ID number
  4. Enter your zip code and select your examination center
  5. Choose from the available dates
  6. And finally, make a payment of $72 using a credit or debit card

A walkthrough of this process, including pictures, can be found here.

Alternatively, you can schedule your exam:

Then, once you have booked your exam, make a note of the time and date so that you don’t miss your slot!

Step 8: Arrive at the test center

Arriving at your test center to take your practical exam will involve following much the same process as when you took your written examination.

On the day of your exam, you should arrive 30 minutes early, and you will be asked to sign in (don’t forget, if you’re late, you won’t be allowed to sit your exam and will forfeit your fee!).

However, there are some differences you should be aware of:

  • Students taking practical examinations are expected to wear closed-toe shoes. If you don’t meet this requirement, you will not be allowed to sit your exam and your fee will be forfeited
  • You will be expected to bring some supplies with you
  • And, you will be expected to bring a model with you

Your model should:

  • Be over the age of 16 (parental permission is required if your model is under 18)
  • Have current, government-issued photo identification with date of birth, such as a driver’s license, at the examination site
  • Not assist you in any way or speak to you during the examination
  • Have clean skin and be free of skin disease
  • Be willing for you to perform procedures on them
  • Sign a Model Affidavit form upon arrival at the examination site
  • And they must leave the examination facility once participation is completed.

The supplies you’ll need for your practical exam are split into two groups depending on whether they need to be labeled.

The following equipment should not be labeled:

  • Abrasives/nail files and buffers
  • Blow dryer
  • Bowl for water (optional)
  • Clips
  • Combs
  • Cotton/cotton pads/facial tissues
  • Cuticle pusher
  • Disposable applicators
  • Disposable blade straight razor (with blade)
  • Electric curling iron
  • Gloves
  • Drape(s)
  • Endpapers
  • Finger bowl
  • Hairbrush
  • Haircutting clippers
  • Haircutting shears
  • Head draping
  • Mannequin stand or tripod
  • Mannequin head
  • Neck strips
  • Paper towels
  • Permanent wave rods
  • Protective cotton
  • Tint brush, bowl or bottle
  • Towel

The following supplies should be clearly labeled in English:

  • 30×30 kit labeled as “Pre-sanitized, Clean or Disinfected”
  • Astringent, freshener, or toner
  • Blood exposure kit/ first aid kit
  • Cleansing product
  • Cuticle remover
  • EPA approved disinfectant or simulated product
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Massage product
  • Protective cream
  • Non-aerosol Shaving cream
  • Simulated product for chemical services (e.g. gel, cholesterol)
  • Simulated product for permanent wave service (e.g., water)
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Trash bag(s)

Be sure to label your products properly, as failure to do so may result in the loss of points.

And finally, the following equipment will be provided for you:

  • Brooms and dustpans
  • Covered trash cans
  • Mounted wall clock
  • Work stations/ manicure table with chairs

Step 9: Take your practical exam

After you have signed in and put away any prohibited items (like your bag and phone etc.), it’s time to take your practical exam!

The examination will last for 3 hours and 29 minutes, and you will be given verbal instructions by your examiner before your test begins.

At the start of your exam, you will be given 10 minutes to set-up and disinfect your workspace.

Then, you will be asked to demonstrate the following:

  • Manicure – Time Allowed: 22 minutes
  • Professional Shave – Time Allowed: 42 minutes
  • Blood Exposure Incident – Time Allowed: 12 minutes
  • Facial – Time Allowed: 17 minutes
  • Haircutting – Time Allowed: 37 minutes
  • BlowDrying and Thermal Curling – Time Allowed: 22 minutes
  • Chemical Application Preparation – Time Allowed: 10 minutes
  • Permanent Wave – Time Allowed: 17 minutes
  • Single Process Color Retouch – Time Allowed: 10 minutes
  • End of Examination Disinfection – Time Allowed: 10 minutes

Your examiner will read detailed instructions before each stage of the exam begins, and they will let you know when your time for each task is running out.

If you would like to read about each task in more detail, a full breakdown can be found here.

Once your exam is finished, you’ll be directed to take a seat to wait for your results. This should only take 5-10 minutes.

Step 10: Get your results

After 5-10 minutes, you will be given a printed score report. The passing grade for your practical exam is 70% (115 points out of 163).

If you have passed your practical exam, you are now a qualified Barber. Congratulations!

However, if you didn’t score 70% or higher, you’ll need to book your test again.

Step 11: Get your Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations Barber license!

Now that you’ve passed both your written and practical exams, the only thing left to do is to get your license!

And that means completing an application form.

The form for applying for your license isn’t available online. So, you will need to contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to get an ‘initial barber license application’ form.

You can contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation by:

Once you have received and completed your application form, you should return it along with an  application fee of $55, to:

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation

PO Box 12157

Austin, Texas 78711-2157

The most common reason for not getting your license is failing your written exams: the pass rate in Texas is only 45.07% for the theory exam and 93.30% for the clinical exam! However, students who use our Barber Exam Preparation Package has a pass rate of 98.5%!

Frequently asked questions about the Texas Barber exams

How do I apply for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations examinations?

When you have reached the required number of study hours, your school will contact the TDLR. The TDLR will then send you instructions for booking your exams via PSI.

I can’t make the date/time of my examination. What should I do?

If you need to reschedule your examination, you must give at least 2 days’ notice. If you don’t give a minimum of 2 days notice, you may forfeit your exam fees.

How much does it cost to take the Texas Barber exams?

  • Written Test – $50
  • Practical Test – $72

Where do the examinations take place?

In Texas, your Barber exams will take place inside PSI test centers.

How many hours of practical work do I need to qualify for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations examinations?

To take their written exam, Barbers in Texas must have completed:

  • 1,000 hours of study in a Barber school

And to take their practical exam, Barbers in Texas must have completed:

  • 1,500 hours of instruction in a Barber school

Can I complete my hours through an apprenticeship instead of attending Barber school in Texas?

No, the state of Texas does not currently allow Barbers to qualify via apprenticeships. Instead, they must complete a barbering program delivered by a recognized Barber school.

Can I take the State Board examinations before I’ve completed the required hours?

You can take the written exam after completing 1,000 hours.

However, you are not eligible to sit the practical examination until all of your required hours are complete.

How long is the written Barber examination?

When you arrive at your exam center, you will have 15 minutes to complete a tutorial explaining how to sit your exam.

You will then have 90 minutes to answer 85 graded questions, and 10 minutes to answer 8 non-graded questions.

What’s the format of the written examination?

Your written exam will take place on a computer. And a breakdown of what each test includes can be found here.

If you want to familiarize yourself with the testing format, try out our practice test here.

How long is the practical Barber examination?

The practical examination lasts for 3 hours and 29 minutes.

What’s the format of the practical examination?

You will be given a set amount of time to demonstrate a range of the different skills needed to work as a barber in Texas.

Some of these techniques will be demonstrated on a model, whilst others will be conducted on a mannequin.

A full breakdown of what the exam includes can be found here.

What score do I need to pass each of the Texas Barber exams?

  • Written Exam – 70%
  • Practical Exam – 70%

What’s the pass rate for Texas Barber exams?

The pass rate for Texas Barber exams are:

Check if you’re on track to pass your exam by taking our free barber practice test.

Can I take my Barber examinations again if I fail?

Yes, but you must pass your written examination before you progress to your practical.

How long does Barber school take in Texas?

In Texas, the time it takes to complete Barber school varies. However, if you are studying full time, you can expect to qualify in around 9 months.

How do I transfer my Barber license to Texas?

If you meet certain requirements, you will be able to transfer your Barber license to Texas through an application for endorsement (this means that you won’t need to retake any exams).

To find out if you’re eligible for a Barber license in Texas, based on your existing qualifications and work experience, head over to the TDLR website.

Here you’ll find a breakdown of:

  • States where licensing requirements are similar enough to Texas for a license to be awarded regardless of work experience
  • States where a license plus 1 year of work experience is required for a Texas license to be awarded
  • And, states where a license plus 2 years of work experience is required for a Texas license to be awarded

Once you have established that your license is transferable, you will need to complete an application form which can be found here.

How do I get my Barber license in Texas?

To get your Barber license inTexas, you need to graduate from Barber school having completed 1500 hours of practical experience and pass two examinations (written and practical),

Once you have met all of these requirements, you will be issued with a license.

How do I renew my Barber license in Texas?

In the state of Texas, you must renew your Barber license every other year by filing an application with the TDLR.

Texas barbering state board exam practice test

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