What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Hairdresser?

Ici - Become A Hairdresser

Hairdressing is an exciting industry – you get to meet different people, work around the world, and choose from a range of different career paths like salon, fashion, stage, glamour photography, TV or film. Hairdressing is a fast-growing industry, with more people focusing on their style and appearance. This means you’ll have plenty of job opportunities.

While you can start at a local salon as an assistant and learn on the job, you’ll bemore employable in the long-term and increase your chances of success if you’re qualified. So here are the qualifications you need to become a successful hairdresser.

Certificate in Hairdressing

When you complete theICI Diploma in Hairdressing, you’ll be capable of taking initiative and making sound judgements across a range of technical and management functions. You’ll also gain personal responsibility and be able to work semi-independently when performing hairdressing tasks or organising other people in the workplace.

You can take the certificate either full-time or part-time at a college or vocational institution or via distance learning (aka correspondence learning). After you finish it you can take the Certificate II in Hairdressing.

This qualification introduces you to the basics of hairdressing, including how to:

  1. Prepare a client for salon services
  2. Coordinate salon services
  3. Remove chemicals from a client’s hair
  4. Make appointments and handle client schedules
  5. Sell products and services
  6. Diagnose a client’s hair and scalp conditions
  7. Treat hair and scalp
  8. Cut hair
  9. Dress and style hair
  10. Curl, straighten or strengthen hair
  11. Colour hair
  12. Coordinate the salon team
  13. Maintain a clean and efficient workplace
  14. Receive and consult with clients.

Certificate II in Hairdressing

The Certificate II in Hairdressing teaches you the skills you need to practice as a hairdresser. If you want to work at a salon, this qualification (plus the first certificate) may be all that’s required of you, depending on which state you live in. For New South Wales and South Australia, you’ll need to have a Certificate III or Apprenticeship in Hairdressing to work as a hairdresser.

Certificate III in Hairdressing

With this qualification, you’ll gain the technical and supervisory skills you need to be a professional hairdresser. This means potential employers will consider you to have a solid skillset, which is highly desirable. It’s also essential if you want to be a salon manager.

If you want to work as a hairdresser in New South Wales or South Australia, you may need to complete a Certificate III in Hairdressing. You can choose to study it full-time or part-time or through an apprenticeship.

Certificate IV / Advanced Certificate in Hairdressing

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If you want to be a salon manager or to open your own salon, you’ll especially have to take the ICI Advanced Diploma in Hairdressing. It’s designed to build on the knowledge and skills you obtained from the previous certificates, but you could enrol into it without having completed lower ranked qualifications.

Upon completion of the qualification, you’ll have plenty of self-motivation and be able to apply a range of techniques and principles across different contexts and functions. You can expect to be involved in planning, making important decisions, and leadership or guidance roles in relation to workplace products, services, operations, or procedures. You can also expect to receive a higher salary and position.

Apprenticeship in Hairdressing

An Apprenticeship in Hairdressing is when you work as an apprentice at a salon and study a Certificate III at the same time. It combines classroom-based learning and on-the-job training to give you the hairdressing skills you need to succeed.

If you want to work as a hairdresser in New South Wales or South Australia, you may need to complete an apprenticeship. You can find a salon on your own where you’ll undertake your apprenticeship, or you can apply to your college and they’ll find you a placement.

Workplace assessment / traineeship while studying

If you’ve started working part-time at a salon in the evenings or on the weekends while studying at school, you could take a full-time job while gaining a certificate in hairdressing via workplace assessment. If you choose this option, make sure to discuss it with the salon manager.

Diploma in Hairdressing

After you complete the Certificate IV or Advanced Certificate in Hairdressing, you can take the Diploma in Hairdressing, which enables you to further your skills. It can be offered part-time at a college, vocational institution, or via distance learning. This means you can study for and complete it around your day job.

Start your hairdressing career today

The International Career Institute’s Hairdressing Stylist course provides you with the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals. It’ll also give you the knowledge and skills you need to become an expert in cutting, styling, colouring, salon management, and more. Kick-start your career in hairdressing with ICI today.

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.