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Hairdresser

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Summary of occupation

Hairdressers cut, colour, shape, style, straighten, perm and care for people's hair. They talk to their clients about what they require and make suggestions about styles that would suit a client’s face, lifestyle and personality. When they have finished creating the hair style, the hairdresser may also suggest products such as shampoos, conditioners, gels, moose or wax products that will help in maintaining the cut. They may also perform minor administrative duties, such as taking bookings and payment for services.

ANZSCO description: Cuts, styles, colours, straightens and permanently waves hair, and treats hair and scalp conditions.
Alternative names: Hair Stylist
Specialisations: Barber
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Hair dressers need:

  • a keen eye for detail
  • good eye-hand co-ordination
  • excellent people skills, with an ability to listen and follow instructions
  • no skin allergies (ideally)
  • stamina to stand on your feet for long periods of time
  • punctuality and reliability
  • the ability to work under pressure and handle difficult clients
  • good personal presentation and hygiene.
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Working conditions

Hairdressers tend to work in hairdressing salons with other hairdressers, in beauty salons or in retail beauty stores with salons attached. Their work environment is frequently very busy and quite noisy. Some hairdressers choose to work solo, either from their own home, or visiting people at their homes. Hairdressers can also be employed to work on location, and film or television sets.

Hairdressers should be prepared to work on weekends and evenings. They spend a lot of time dealing with clients and the public. Since it is important for hairdressers to be up to date with new trends and styles, they may also attend extra training and seminars.

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Salary details

Hairdressers can expect to earn between $679.90 and $799 per week, ($35 354.80 and $41 599) depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. 

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Tools and technologies

Hairdressers use a wide array of tools and materials to style hair. They use scissors and razors to cut hair, and brushes, combs, clips, hairdryers, straightening irons, hair rollers and curling tongs to shape and style hair. Often, hairspray, wax, moose and gel is used to help the hair keep its shape. Hairdressers care for hair with shampoos, conditioners and treatments. They use chemicals and dyes to temporarily or permanently colour, straighten or curl hair, which they mix and apply with brushes and other tools. Since they work with a lot of chemicals, they are often required to wear gloves and aprons. If hairdressers work freelance, they may require a car to visit clients. They also have to carry various cutting and styling tools.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a qualified hairdresser, you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in hairdressing. The apprenticeship usually takes 36 months to complete. 

You may improve your prospects of gaining an apprenticeship by completing a traineeship as a salon assistant. The traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship. 

You may also improve your prospects of gaining an apprenticeship if you complete a Certificate II in Hairdressing offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Hairdresser Video Hairdresser Occupation

Hairdressers cut, colour, shape, style, straighten, perm and care for people's hair.

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