What they do

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.

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.

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.

How do I become one?

Education and training

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

You may improve your prospects of gaining an apprenticeship by obtaining a salon assistant qualification. The Certificate II in Salon Assistant is offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

You can also undertake a traineeship as a salon assistant. The traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.