How to become a professional make-up artist

professional make-up artist

Honestly, who hasn’t dreamt of becoming a part of Hollywood at some point?

Unlike others who dreamt of walking the red carpet however, your ambitions were always backstage – specifically, in the make-up room!

Completing a beauty therapy course doesn’t just open you up to opportunities in salons – it can also help you break into countless other roles, and not just in the beauty industry.

There’s always something to love about the beauty industry. From stylish waves and bob cuts, to flawless make-up and eye-catching nail art, everyone wants to become more beautiful.

Working in the beauty industry is a rewarding career as your work proves to help others feel good and more confident about themselves.

Level up your skills with our beauty therapy courses and hairdressing courses.

Is being a make-up artist a good career?

It’s crucial that you have a passion for what you’re studying – however, it’s also important that you consider your options once you graduate.

Beauty therapy and hairdressing can help you access all sorts of opportunities – and not just the obvious ones, like working in a salon, hairdresser or barber shop.

One such pathway is becoming a make-up artist – these specialists are in high demand in a number of different sectors.

Long story short, there are plenty of opportunities waiting for you in a range of different niches:

  • Television and screen make-up
  • Bridal make-up
  • Runway and catwalk make-up
  • Editorial make-up
  • YouTube / Influencer make-up
  • Photography

Beyond the salon, you’ll have various opportunities that you can use to shape your career the way you want it.

Of course, all of this hinges on getting the right training to begin with! 

Can you be a self-taught make-up artist?

Like any other professions, make-up application and design is a career that begins with the right training and certifications.

While you can be self-taught, just remember that:

  1. There’s a lot less consistency when you self-train
  2. A certificate sets out certain minimum requirements and standards
  3. Many places won’t hire an applicant without a certificate

Your passion for beauty, trends, and make-up brands is a great starting point for becoming a professional make-up artist, but teaching yourself isn’t enough if you want to break into this competitive industry.

One of the biggest reasons is that beauty therapy and hairdressing are about more than just practicing your technique – a lot of theory goes into your training as well.

Teaching yourself, it’s easy to miss some of this – when you enrol in one of our courses however (say, a Certificate 3 in Hairdressing or a Cert 4 in Beauty Therapy) you’ll be trained in both practice and theory.

And of course, don’t forget the mandatory placement in a real-world salon.

You won’t get that when you’re self-taught!

What kind of education do you need to be a make-up artist?

Okay, so training is crucial if you want to become a professional make-up artist. We’re on the same page there – now for the nitty-gritty details.

Specifically, what sort of education and training you’ll need to break into the role!

Before you become a professional make-up artist in Australia, you will need to complete an industry-recognised Certificate.

This course will provide you with specialised training in various make-up techniques, as well as see you completing a mandatory work placement that’ll put your skills to the test in a real-world work environment. 

Depending on your skill level as well as what direction you want to take your career in, there are a number of courses open to you:

What skills are required to be a make-up artist?


There’s a reason they’re called make-up artists, after all!

Make-up and hairdressing are a form of art that need a creative eye to match the right colours and determine the right fit for facial features and skin types. 


It’s all about the client, and what look they want to achieve – as such, if you’re going to succeed, you need to be an excellent listener and communicator. While you’re there to guide and offer expert insight, remember that the client gets the final say.

Ensure an open dialogue – the last thing you want is a communication breakdown leading to a dissatisfied client!

A good eye for details

When it comes to hair or skin, even the smallest of details can completely change how a person looks.

If you want to thrive in this career, you’ll need to have a very good eye for these little things!

Time management 

The beauty industry is a high-pressure space – you won’t have the luxury of being able to take your time with a client.

You’ll need to refine and finesse your techniques to ensure you can complete a high-quality job in an allocated amount of time.

This is also a critical skill to help you schedule appointments and roster on staff if you wish to own or run your own salon.

Take your passion for beauty to the next level with Academia’s beauty courses

Thanks to the Victorian’ government’s Skills First program, each of our hairdressing and beauty courses in Melbourne are prescribed government funded courses, allowing eligible students to study without worrying about tuition.

Certificate III in Hairdressing (SHB30416)

Get your start here!

Acquire technical hairdressing skills such as hair cutting, design, styling, hair colouring, and more! In addition to the basic skills, you’ll also learn about effective communication, customer service and health and hygiene – all of which you’re going to need to pursue a career in hairdressing.

Learn more about the Certificate III in Hairdressing.

Certificate IV in Hairdressing (SHB40216)

Complete your Certificate III in Hairdressing, and you’ll have the opportunity to take your skills to the next level and see you working with senior hairdressers and technical advisers.

Learn more about the Certificate IV in Hairdressing.

Diploma of Salon Management (SHB50216)

Starry-eyed for a future of owning and managing your very own salon?

This diploma includes 20 weeks of on-campus training and a 20-week internship in a salon. During this time, you’ll be trained not just in practical skills, but also management techniques, finances, planning and more!

Learn more about the Diploma of Salon Management.

Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy (SHB40115)

Provide various salon services to clients as well as other beauty treatments such as skin and facial care.

Learn how to design and apply make-up in various settings and apply safety and hygiene practices.

Learn more about the Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy.

Diploma of Beauty Therapy (SHB50115)

Planning on operating a spa or salon? Build your leadership skills and apply sustainable work practices at your salon or spa by enrolling in a Diploma of Beauty Therapy.

In addition to a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the various salon services you can provide to your clients, you’ll also learn essential management and business ownership skills.

Learn more about the Diploma of Beauty Therapy.

Explore our beauty courses today in Melbourne!

Take your skills and knowledge in hairdressing, make-up and beauty therapy to the next level with the help of Academia.

Wherever you want to take your career, we train and help aspiring hairdressers and make-up artists to become experts in their field with a wide range of not only courses, but also strong working connections with real-world employers who can help you:

  • Gain experience
  • Make connections
  • Network

And thanks to our medium-sized institution, you get the best of both worlds – the resources of a larger institution, and the personal one-on-one attention of a smaller one.
Have questions? We’d be glad to help – contact us on (03) 9671 4755 or get in touch online.