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PCC Barber School Program Earns Praise

Gail Nichols (center) displays an award PCC's barber school program received from the N.C. Board of Barber Examiners in recognition of high passing rates on the state's barber licensing examination. Joining her are Altitude Academy's Angela and Rodney Bullock, who have played instrumental roles in the barber school's success.

GREENVILLE—The Pitt Community College barber school program was recently recognized by the N.C. Board of Barber Examiners for having one of the highest passing rates on the state’s barber licensing examination for the second consecutive year.

The Barber School at Altitude Academy, LLC, has recorded the state’s second highest passing rate on the apprentice exam, which consists of practical and written segments and can only be taken by students who have completed 1,528 classroom hours.

Gail Nichols, program coordinator for PCC’s barber school, says Altitude Academy instructors teach their students more than just how to cut hair and trim beards and mustaches. They incorporate business and life skills into their training as well, she said.

“This is a life-changing program for so many people,” Nichols said. “We have situations where individuals come to us with no self-esteem, confidence or support, but when they leave, they have a sense of accomplishment and the skills they need to make a living.”

Rodney Bullock, an Altitude Academy instructor, says he and his fellow barber school instructors are passionate about helping others.

“Our program helps our students see themselves as successful people,” Bullock said. “In the past year, four of our graduates have opened their own shops. We enjoy these relationships well after graduation, because they become a part of the PCC family.”

PCC’s barber school program enrolls students twice a year. Once students finish required classroom hours and pass the state licensing exam, they must complete a yearlong apprenticeship before they are eligible to take the registered barber exam to become master barbers.