Hairdresser Training - Which Course is Right for You?
Hairdressing is an exciting industry to work in. Between meeting different clients and taking on many challenges – you can guarantee that no two days will be the same. Hairdressing is a skill of course and if you want to become a stylist, you will need to undergo some hairdresser training courses and gain some qualifications. There are several different routes you can go down, and you’ll find a detailed guide to them below.
The stages of pursuing a hairdressing career
The college route
Best for: Those wishing to study full or part-time in an education environment
Some students may prefer to undertake a hairdressing course as part of a classroom at their local college. Many colleges offer hairdressing qualifications that can be obtained full-time or part time. Full time courses require around 15 hours of study a week over the course of a year, while part-time courses could take up to two years to complete. Studying through a college is one of the simplest ways to achieve the NVQ Level 2 or 3 qualification that is required by most employers. During your studies you will be taught the basics of hairdressing, as well as customer service and will be assessed regularly on your skills. Many newer colleges exist as working salons, which will require students to offer services and work in a real salon environment in order to get the best experience to help post-college.
Best for: those who want to learn in a real-life salon environment and learn skills on the job
An apprenticeship is an excellent way to gain experience in hairdressing. You will gain experience of working with clients from the beginning and learn more about the day to day work of a salon. Being an apprentice means that you’ll be able to earn during your hairdresser training, but this will be at the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices which is currently £3.50 an hour. You will still need to undertake assessment in order to gain your hairdressing qualifications, and the salon hosting your apprenticeship will give you the time to do so. If you undertake your apprenticeship through a body like the London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy, you will also receive further support after your apprenticeship period ends. The Government also has resources for applying for apprenticeships and further details of what’s involved in the scheme
Fast-tract hairdresser training with top salons
Best for: Those who want to begin their hairdressing career quickly and in a short amount of time
If you want to become a hairdresser quickly a fast-track course could be the right option for you. This is particularly suited to those who are currently working or have little time to complete a course. Well-known salons such as Saks, Toni and Guy and Vidal Sassoon all offer intensive courses taught by salon professionals who will show you the basics of hairdressing. Course durations last anywhere from 5 days for an introduction to a certain skill through to 8-week courses to cover all of the fundamentals of hairdressing and barbering. These courses rarely come with a recognised qualification at the end, but you could use the skills learnt to then take your NVQ assessments. Intensive courses tend to be more expensive than other forms of training and can cost anywhere from £3,000 upwards.
The higher education route
Best for: Those who want a career in the media
More and more universities and higher education institutions are offering degrees and diplomas in theatrical hair and make-up. There’s a wide selection of courses available that will teach you how to become skilled in creating looks suitable for different purposes. The courses can last between 1 and 3 years and the majority will offer a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree upon successful completion of the course. This is an excellent option to consider if you’re interested in working in film, TV or fashion. You'll also get the chance to experience student life. Undertaking a course at a higher education institution will help you to gain experience and contacts within the industry and enjoy an interesting learning environment.
Additional and specialist courses
Best for: Qualified hair stylists looking to brush up on their skills
- Styling Afro-Caribbean hair
- Hair extensions
- Braiding and plaiting
- Avant garde hair
- Blow drying
- Hair-up courses and more
Selecting which courses you take depends on the services you're planning to offer your clients. Many employers will cover the costs of these courses or you may wish to pay for them yourself as part of your professional development. Top institutions offering a variety of hairdressing courses include the London Hair Academy and the Hair and Beauty Academy South West. Other academies are scattered around the country, usually run by hair professionals with years of experience in the industry
Best for: Those wishing to learn the basics of hairdressing at home
Online courses in hairdressing exist, but as hairdressing is a very practical career – it is not recommended for your foundation training. Online hairdressing courses can supplement your learning, but if you want to be recognised in the industry you will still need to obtain your NVQ qualifications. Hairdressing Training from JISC offers a number of valuable online resources to help you succeed in your hairdressing qualifications, with different module guides available. These guides are often used within classroom environments as a guide and are a useful way to help you prepare for your assessments.
Hairdresser training requires a lot of enthusiasm, initiative and patience. Professionalism is required at all times, particularly when training in a salon environment. Be prepared to study hard and practice a lot of techniques many times over to help you become a skilled hairdresser. Once you’ve qualified you can start looking for work in this creative and fast-paced industry and begin your career as a professional stylist.
Here at Salon Talent, we can help you find your dream career. Search our latest vacancies and start taking your hairdressing training to the next level today.