There are many differences between being a barber and being a hairstylist. Barbers specialize in cutting and trimming men’s facial hair and hair, as well as the proper treatment and care of hairpieces. These are just a few of the skills you can learn at the right barber schools.

If becoming a barber sounds like a great career path for you, it all begins with the right school and a South Dakota barber’s license. There aren’t a lot of places to train in the state so you might need to go further afield to Michigan or TX.

south dakota barber schools are rare if not non-existent
South Dakota is lacking in barber training schools

Training Requirements For SD Barbers

The first step in your journey to becoming a licensed barber in the state of South Dakota is to complete a 1500-hour training program which is average barber school length in the US. These programs are designed to give you both theoretical and practical knowledge. What courses you take will depend on the program you choose, but you’ll cover topics ranging from the styling and clipping of hair, bacteriology, and even study chemistry and skin disorders, to help you keep clients safe, and provide the best possible care. Find the school closest to you below:

If you just want to get a taste of what it is like to be a barber try some free online classes in order to know if the profession is for you.


If you are over 18 years old, you may apply for a barber license right out of barber school. You must provide proof of a high school diploma or GED. If you are a little younger and have not graduated high school, you must gain work experience as an apprentice barber before you can be fully licensed by the state board. You will need at least a year of work experience before you become eligible for a full barber license.

Once you are eligible for a full barber license, you will need to pass the NIC written and practical exams. These exams are designed to test everything you would have covered in a classroom and anything you might need to know in your work at a salon or barbershop. You must bring your own kit and mannequin to the practical exam. Both exams require a 75% or higher grade in order to pass.

From Out-Of-State?

If you have a valid barber license in another state which is active, and in good standing, you may apply for a transfer to South Dakota. You will need to fill out the license application, and Verification of All Past/Present Licensure. You must also submit a current photograph, and ply the transfer fee.

License Renewal

To continue your work in South Dakota, you must renew your barber license every year by June 30th. You need to apply and pay the renewal fee by that date, or you will be required to submit additional fees to reinstate an expired license. No continuing education is required to reinstate a barber’s license, but it is strongly encouraged. Regularly attending trade shows, and improving your skills with new courses and training will help you give your clients the best treatment possible.


South Dakota is home to many traditional barbershops. According to the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, the number of barbers is likely to continue to increase for the foreseeable future.

With so many barbers reaching retiring age, you will find a space in the market for young, modern barbers to slide into traditional shops or open their own. And it all begins with that first job to build your client base.

Other SD schools for cosmetologists, estheticians, nail techs.

Did we miss any South Dakota barbering academies contact us to let us know.