How to become a hairdresser in Australia: 4 must-know facts

There are plenty of good reasons to be a hairdresser.

You have the passion, an eye for beauty and, of course, the skills to prove it.

You love to combine different tones and shades of hair colours, spend hours scrolling through Instagram to find inspo photos, and you can’t get enough of compiling a look book of hairstyle trends that you want to try out.

Of course, if you want to pursue a career in hairdressing, you will need to master the fundamental skills of haircutting, design, styling, and hair colouring first.

And you can’t just learn everything on YouTube – with something as hand-on as hairdressing, you need to learn through practice, with guidance from professionals. You’ll also need work experience and a portfolio to pave your way towards becoming an expert.

All of this requires a formal education and proper training process.

So, what does this process look like?

Fact #1: You need to be qualified to be a hairdresser in Australia

There are two pathways open to aspiring hairdressers in Australia in order to work in a salon or barbershop. The first (and more traditional method) is through an apprenticeship, where you’ll spend 3 years learning your “trade”.

Increasingly however, many salons and employers will require you to complete Certificate III in Hairdressing before hiring.

How long does it take to be a hairdresser?

Certificate III in Hairdressing for example has a duration of 50 weeks. Similarly, the Diploma of Salon Management has a 52 week duration – or one year.

If you have completed your Cert III and wish to pursue the Cert IV, this will take an additional 26 weeks, or roughly six-and-a-half months. 

These courses are provided by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), with a standardised curriculum that’s recognised nation-wide.

As you can imagine, these pathways can be a lot shorter than the apprenticeship route, which may take up to three or four years.

Fact #2: It isn’t all practical learning

Hairdressing is hands-on work – as such, a lot of the training you go through is equally as practical and hands-on.

Of course, there’s still an element of classroom involved, even in something as manual as hairdressing.

This can include things like:

  • Safely using chemicals and bleach
  • Environmentally-sustainable work practices
  • Hygiene practices
  • Identifying hair and scalp conditions

Each of these are all things you’ll need to do as a hairdresser or stylist – they’re also things that are taught in classroom settings.

Fact #3: Hairdressing is a free government-funded course (if you live in Victoria)

As part of the Skills First funding scheme, there are a wide number of Victorian government funded courses available that allow you to prepare for your future career without needing to pay a cent.

And hairdressing is one of them.

Thanks to this program, you’ll be able to learn from an experienced team of hairdressing professionals and get vital first-hand industry experience before you dive into the beauty industry.

And this also allows you to commence a free government funded course online, giving you more flexibility in creating your timetable around your life.

Government funded courses cover training costs and fees, allowing you to take the first step towards a fantastic career in the hair and beauty industry without breaking the bank.

What makes a great hairdresser? 

More hairdresser and hair stylist FAQs

How can a hair stylist be confident?

A lot of your confidence is innate – things like dealing with clients, resolving issues, and facing disputes.

However, a lot of it can come down to your skills that can be taught, as well.

Competent = confident. And by that, we mean if you’re competent in what you do, you’re going to feel more confident, simple as that.

And with the huge range of different skills you’ll learn as part of a hairdressing course, you’ll be confident enough to take on just about any job!

What is a level 4 hair stylist?

Simple: anyone who holds a Certificate IV in Hairdressing or equivalent beauty course in Melbourne.

This is an officially-recognised classification, used by the National Retail Association in determining Industry Awards and other important information.

As a Level 4 hair stylist, you’ll have further training in more sophisticated techniques, which you’ll be able to take on greater responsibilities and tackle bigger projects, as well as enjoy opportunities in more niche areas of the industry.

What skills does a hairdresser need?

What skills will you learn in each of our courses?

Certificate III in Hairdressing (SHB30416)

Learn the basics such as hair cutting techniques, hair design, hair styling, and hair colouring applications when you enrol in the Certificate III in hairdressing.

This course gives you in-depth knowledge about mixing and matching different hair colour shades, what brands to use, and how to successfully achieve a number of different styles to suit your clients’ requests.

You’ll also learn how to use a range of different tools, equipment and chemicals needed to look after people’s hair, as well as how to work as part of a salon team and apply effective communication, customer service, and hygiene tactics.

Learn more about our Certificate III in Hairdressing.

Certificate IV in Hairdressing (SHB40216)

Available after completing your Certificate III, this Certificate is exactly what you want if your goal is to take on higher-level responsibilities or tackle more complicated hairdressing jobs.

By taking this specialised course, you’ll also learn how to design and perform creative haircut styles, and even create your own by researching and applying your strong foundation of different hairdressing techniques!

Learn more about our Certificate IV in Hairdressing.

Diploma of Salon Management (SHB50216)

Hairdressers who want to take the next step and become salon managers or even open their very own salons and barbershops will need additional skills on top of their practical hairdressing skills.

And that’s exactly what this Diploma offers.

Combining 20 weeks of on-campus training plus a 20-week internship in a salon, this course focuses on providing the skills you’ll need to manage a salon’s operations ranging from business planning, to small business finance all the way to product and service development and beyond.

Learn more about our Diploma of Salon Management.

Explore our beauty courses in Melbourne today!

Take your skills and knowledge in hairdressing to the next level with the help of Academia. 

If you’re interested in a Diploma of Beauty Therapy course in Melbourne or any of our other hairdressing and beauty therapy courses, get ready for a rewarding career in your chosen field with Academia.

Academia is an accredited and recognised educational institution, providing quality education through a mixture of classroom learning, practical training, and work placements.

Contact our friendly counsellors and advisers, and we’ll be glad to assist you: