How To Become A Hairdresser In Australia: A Complete Guide

Students want to know how to become hairdressers in Australia and how long it takes.


Are you a creative and friendly person who likes to stay updated with trends and has excellent manual skills? If yes, then pursuing a career as a hairdresser is the right choice for you.


With more and more people focusing on appearance and style, hairdressing has become a rapidly growing industry in Australia.


Therefore, finding work in this field is easy. Once you gain experience and shape your skills, you will get plenty of other job opportunities. You can also choose to become a self-employed hairdresser.


Read this blog to learn about becoming a hairdresser in Australia, apprenticeships, how long they last, how long it takes to become a professional hairdresser in Australia, and more.



1. What Is Hairdressing?


Hairdressing is expertise in various sectors, including social care, retail, health, and education. However, most hairdressers work in the beauty industry as mobile hairdressers or at a salon.



2. What Does A Hairdresser Do?


As a professionally trained hairdresser, you may expect to maintain your client's hair, including cutting, straightening, colouring, perming, treating, and more. You might also have to fulfil other requests like styling and blow-drying.


In the initial stages of the hairdressing apprenticeship, the hairdresser performs simple tasks and duties such as cleaning or maintaining the store, welcoming clients, rinsing or washing hair and taking bookings. You may also bring customers a glass of bubbly or make them tea.


The duties of a hairdresser may differ from one salon to the other. Here is a general list of requirements to get a better perspective of what essential duties a hairdresser performs:


  • Cutting or styling weaves or hair strands.

  • Conditioning, shampooing, and performing other hair treatments.

  • Braiding, adding weaves, hair extensions, and dreadlocks. 

  • Waving or permanently straightening hair. 

  • Offering advice on colouring, styling, or maintaining hair. 

  • Trimming or shaving beards/moustaches. 

  • Styling your client's hair with razors, scissors, or clippers. 

  • Keeping the work area and the instruments clean.


Apart from hard skills, hairdressing also involves "soft skills" or "interpersonal skills," which are necessary for providing excellent customer service. Here are some soft skills you need to have as a hairdresser.


  • Offer personal opinions or advice about your client's hair.

  • Actively listen to your client's requests and understand their exact requirements. 

  • Efficiently manage your time. 

  • Handle or take on criticism from the management or your clients. 

  • You must be able to read your clients' facial expressions or body language to meet their expectations.


Once you progress in your hairdresser career, without any doubt, you will discover your niche and eventually start focusing on specific areas. These might be styling for the fashion industry, becoming a shampoo technician, or working as a colour specialist.



3. What Qualifications Do You Need To Be a Hairdresser in Australia?


Even though you can immediately start working as an assistant at a local salon and get on-the-job training, qualifications will help you succeed.


Here are some of the certifications you require to become a qualified hairdresser in Australia:



Certificate I


This is the entry-level qualification for hairdressing in Australia. With Certificate I, you will be able to work semi-independently and gain personal experience in performing a specific task and managing people in the workplace. 


You will also learn more about different salon services like styling, cutting, colouring, and treating hair.


You can pursue this certification part-time or full-time at a vocational institution or college. You can also complete it via distance or correspondence learning. Below is a list of hairdressing techniques that you will learn when pursuing this qualification:


  • Coordinate salon services 

  • Dress, style, colour and cut hair

  • Sell hairdressing products and services

  • Maintain an efficient and clean workplace

  • Straighten, curl, or strengthen hair 

  • Prepare a customer for salon services

  • Coordinate with the salon team

  • Treat scalp and hair

  • Remove chemicals from clients' hair

  • Handle client schedules and make an appointment

  • Diagnose the client's scalp and hair conditions



Certificate II


Certificate II in hairdressing involves practical learning of skills required to become an efficient hairdresser. This qualification will teach you about organising teams and tools, selling products, styling hair, massaging scalps, handling stocks, and fixing chemically damaged locks.


If you want to start as an apprentice, Certificates I and II are all you need, depending on which Australian state you plan to work in. In South Australia and New South Wales, you must have a hairdressing apprenticeship or Certificate III to work as a hairdresser.



Certificate III


If you want to get into the professional level of hairdressing, you need to obtain Certificate III. With this certification, you will gain supervisory and technical skills to become a professional hairdresser. 


If you want to speed up the learning process, you can enrol on a hairdresser course with any TAFE institute near you or at a local RTO (Registered Training Organisation).


Becoming a hairdresser in South Australia or New South Wales requires a Certificate III. You can either choose to study part-time, full-time or via an apprenticeship.


Certificate III is vital if you want to become a salon manager and gain hands-on experience by training with study groups, workshops, and mentors.



Certificate IV or Advanced Certificate in Hairdressing


If you want to run your salon or become a salon manager, you can choose an advanced certification in hairdressing. This certification builds the skills and knowledge you obtained from previous certificates. You must have previous credentials to complete Certificate IV.


Once you complete this qualification, you can make crucial decisions and handle leadership programs and other operations with junior stylists. Also, you will be self-motivated to apply various principles and techniques across different functions and contexts.


Not only that, but you can also expect to receive a higher position with a higher salary.



Diploma in Hairdressing


Upon completing the Advanced Certificate in Hairdressing or Certificate IV, you can pursue a Diploma in Hairdressing, which allows you to improve your skills. Vocational institutions and colleges offer this course.


You can even take this course part-time or study it through distance learning, which means you can learn during your day job.



Workplace Traineeship or Assessment While Studying


Suppose you are already working part-time on the weekends or in the evening when studying at school. In that case, you can work full-time while receiving a certificate in hairdressing through a workplace traineeship or assessment. 


Make sure to talk to the salon manager before you go for this option.



Apprenticeship in Hairdressing


hairdressing apprenticeship is when you start working at a salon as an apprentice and simultaneously pursue a Certificate III qualification. It combines on-the-job hairdresser training and classroom study to provide you with the hairdressing skills you require to excel in your career.


Remember, if you want to work as a hairdresser in South Australia or New South Wales, you might have to undertake an apprenticeship. To complete an apprenticeship in hairdressing, you can apply at a college, and they will get you a placement, or you can find a salon on your own.



4. Where To Study Hairdressing In Australia?


Whether you are looking to study a hairdressing course for international or domestic students, there are plenty of educational institutions. 


Here is a list of reputable and best institutions in Australia where you can study hairdressing courses and begin your career in a few years:


  • Charles Darwin University - Certificate III in Hairdressing 

  • Melbourne Polytechnic - Hairdressing Course

  • Headmasters Melbourne - Certificate and Diploma Courses in Hairdressing

  • Canberra Institute of Technology - Certificate III in Hairdressing 

  • Brisbane School of Hairdressing - Certificate and Diploma Courses in Hairdressing

  • TMG College Australia - Certificate III in Hairdressing

  • Victoria University - Certificate III in Hairdressing

  • Vibe College for Hairdressing and Barbering - Certificate and Diploma Courses in Hairdressing

  • Toni & Guy Melbourne School of Hairdressing - Certificate III in Hairdressing

  • Chisholm Institute - Certificate III in Hairdressing

  • Academies Australasia - Certificate II & III in Hairdressing

  • Biba Academies Hair School - Certificate III and Apprenticeship Training in Hairdressing

  • Academia - Certificate III in Hairdressing

  • International Career Institute - Diploma / Advanced Diploma in Hairdressing

  • Hairdresser Course TAFE New South Wales - Certificate III in Hairdressing

  • Hairdresser Course TAFE Tasmania - Certificate III in Hairdressing

  • Hairdresser Course TAFE Queensland - Certificate III in Hairdressing

  • Hairdresser Course TAFE South Australia - Certifications, Apprenticeships, and Traineeships.


Most institutes and universities in Australia provide payment plans for students with a limited budget. You can also choose cheaper hairdressing courses online in Australia to help you develop your skills from home.


After completing the first two levels of certification, you can start working at a local salon or discuss on-the-job training or an apprenticeship with the salon manager.



5. Career Opportunities in Hairdressing


When you become a certified hairdresser, you can explore plenty of job opportunities in the hairdressing field. You can build a solid portfolio to work at resorts, spas, salons, and the film and television industry. 


Additionally, you can start personal hairdressing for celebrities, weddings, photoshoots, and fashion shows. Apart from that, when you complete all levels of hairdresser training, you can get a Diploma in salon management.


Here are a few other roles that hairdressers can specialise in as their career progresses:


  • Beauty Therapists: You can expand your skill set to provide several beauty treatments like spray tans, make-up application, and hair removal. Becoming an overall beauty therapist will enable you to add value to your current hairdressing customers or help you work with other beauty salons or day spas.


  • Retail and Sales: Hairdressers pick retail and sales and become professional at selling and recommending hairdressing products and services to customers. In addition, they can sell hair products or other stock in bulk to departmental stores or salons. Most of these roles primarily focus on sales but may also incorporate merchandising, marketing, and customer satisfaction research.



6. How Long Does It Take To Become A Hairdresser?


Hairdressers can start their careers at a salon as apprentices. Usually, it takes around three or four years for apprenticeships to complete. 


On the other hand, you can also become a professional hairdresser by pursuing a hairdressing qualification like Certificate III from a vocational institute or an RTO (Registered Training Organisation). This might take around one year to complete via full-time study.



7. How Much Does A Hairdresser Make?


The number of qualifications you have will determine the amount of income you will earn as a hairdresser. Hairdressing in Australia is a highly-paid job, particularly in the beauty industry, where there is a high demand for hair artists.


Other than that, wages may vary depending on the experience you have and on your employer. All in all, there are endless opportunities in the hairdressing industry, and it is entirely up to you whether you want to freelance, work at a salon, or open your salon. Below is a rough estimate of how much you can earn as a hairdresser based on your certification level and your skills:


  • Certificate I - 18 AUD per hour

  • Certificate II - 20 AUD per hour

  • Certificate III - 23 AUD per hour

  • Certificate IV - 30 AUD per hour



8. Final Words


Now that you know how to become a qualified hairdresser in Australia, you are ready to take the plunge and achieve all your goals. 


Hairdressing is a rewarding career choice that may take a lot of time to master. Still, once you start giving the customers their desired hairstyles, everything will be worth the effort.


Always remember, you will never find a shortcut towards success. With continuous practice and hard work, you will become a successful hairdresser in a short time.


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