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How to become a hairdresser in Australia: careers in beauty therapy

How to become a hairdresser in Australia: careers in beauty therapy
Hairdressers cut, colour and style their clients’ hair, provide hair and scalp treatments, and perform reception and sales tasks in a salon setting. Most hairdressers begin their careers as junior apprentices in hairdressing salons and progress in their field to become colourists, stylists, senior stylists and managers. They establish good relationships and rapport with their clients and can enjoy busy, varied and long careers.

Being a hairdresser: daily duties

Hairdressers wash, cut, style, perm, straighten and colour their clients’ hair. They recommend and perform scalp and hair treatments and can also recommend and sell hair products to allow clients to maintain hairstyles between visits. Hairdressers can undertake reception and administrative tasks such as answering phones, setting appointments, maintaining client records and handling payments.


  • Discussing client expectations
  • Washing, cutting and styling hair
  • Performing scalp and hair treatments
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Building rapport with clients

Being a hairdresser: skills for success

As hairdressers work with a range of people from a variety of backgrounds, they need to have effective communication skills, including the ability to communicate clearly, listen to client requests and follow detailed instructions. A creative flair is also essential, as well as an understanding of how different styles and colours will work for an individual. Good customer service and administrative skills are essential, as well as a technical aptitude for the various tasks a hairdresser has to perform.
  • Outstanding communication skills
  • Creativity
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Attention to detail
  • Administrative skills

Specialised roles within hairdressing

Hairdressers can specialise in a variety of ways as their careers progress. They can take their experience in product recommendations and move into sales roles, or broaden their skill-sets to include other beauty therapy techniques. Experienced hairdressers often move into salon management roles or own their own salons.
  • Retail and sales
    Hairdressers who move into retail and sales roles build on their expertise in recommending and selling products to clients. They sell bulk stock and new hair products to salons and department stores These roles are sales-focused but can also include marketing, merchandising and customer satisfaction research.
  • Beauty therapist
    Some hairdressers expand on their skill-sets to deliver a range of beauty treatments such as make-up application, spray tans and hair removal. Sometimes they do this to value-add to their hairdressing clients, other times they use it to move into work in day spas and beauty salons.
  • Salon management
    Experienced hairdressers can move into management roles – either carrying out the day-to-day management of a salon on behalf of an owner, or opening their own business. They are responsible for staff and budget management, property leases and maintenance, marketing, advertising and purchasing stock.

Educational pathways for hairdressers

The majority of hairdressers begin their careers with an apprenticeship, although it is possible to move into hairdressing with a certificate or diploma in hairdressing acquired through a vocational course.
  • Start your career
    Take an introductory course to learn the ins and outs of salon life.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Targeted courses will help you to further your beauty therapy career.
  • Build your resume
    Take your career in beauty therapy to the next level by mastering new skills.
  • Industry requirements
    You may be able to improve your employment opportunities and potential salary rates by joining a professional association or industry body.
  • Finding Work
    Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your beauty therapy career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
  • Employment Prospects
    There is a large demand for hairdressing services in Australia, meaning there is low unemployment in this field. Hairdressers often enjoy flexible hours.

Resources for Hairdressers

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