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Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects Openings 5 years to November 2019: 25,001 to 50,000
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: < $920 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
Brief Most people have 'bad hair days', but fortunately we have hairdressers to fix that problem!

There are currently around 4,300 hairdressers employed in South Australia. Over half are employed full-time and most work in the personal and other services industry. Most persons in this occupation are female and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. This occupation has a younger age profile with less than a quarter of hairdressers aged 45 years or older.

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TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Hairdresser

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Although hair fashions and styles change every year, the role of the hairdresser remains constant. Using their creative flair and technical skills, they help us to look our best by cutting, styling, or chemically altering the hair. Salons first consult with their client to determine what they would like to have done. This provides an opportunity for the hairdresser to offer professional advice about flattering styles and determine lifestyle needs (does the client want a high or low maintenance hair style?). They also need to analyse the customer's hair and scalp condition and suggest appropriate treatments. After the consultation, the hair is usually shampooed and conditioned and cut using scissors and razors with different types of blades chosen for the desired effect, be it a blunt cut, layered or a dramatic 'number two' haircut. Hair is then styled and blow waved using blow dryers and styling solutions.

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Education Requirements

To become a qualified hairdresser, you must complete a hairdressing apprenticeship. TAFE SA suggest that it is a great idea to complete a vocational education certificate to help improve your chances of gaining such an apprenticeship. Currently 79% of hairdressers have a certificate III or IV. Although 16% of hairdressers have no post-school qualifications it is recommended that students that wish to give themselves the best opportunity for employment in the industry undertake further study.

The industry recommends that those students keen to work in this occupation get as much work experience in salons as possible. This could involve anything from washing hair to sweeping floors.

TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Certificate IV in Hairdressing. Pathways include the Certificate II and III in Hairdressing.

SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

Career Path

Once you have completed your apprenticeship, you may continue working with your current employer or seek work elsewhere. After gaining your qualification, you need to think about developing a broad range of business skills should you ever wish to consider the challenge of starting your own business. Teaching opportunities, either at TAFE, or with other registered training organisations, also exist. Projected employment growth is expected to be well below average, despite industry concerns that there is an unmet demand for skilled qualified hairdressers. The growth of 'backyard hairdressers', some of whom are not fully trained, has also contributed to a drop in employment opportunities for full time apprentices.


Personal And Other Services

Nature of the Job

Hairdressers cut, style, colour, straighten and permanently wave hair with chemical solutions, and provide clients with hair and scalp treatments.

In most salons, the senior hairdressers and the apprentices who are in the later stages of their apprenticeships cut and style hair. Apprentice hairdressers undertake routine tasks in the initial stages, assisting senior hairdressers with client preparation, shampooing, application and removal of simple hairdressing treatments, and sterilisation and maintenance of equipment. As apprentices gain experience they carry out more complex tasks under supervision.

Although creative skills are utilised in this job, essentially hairdressing is a learned trade. Something which should encourage more males to take up apprenticeships! ''Sometimes the changes we make as hairdresser are not so much cosmetic as engineering ones,'' says the owner of a local Hair & Beauty Salon.

Typical Physical Working Environment

Hairdressers should be able to follow instructions and have a keen eye for detail. Being knowledgeable about past and current hairstyles will help them to create many different styles and cater to customers of all ages. Good eye-hand coordination is also important when working with scissors and razors. Hairdressers must also keep their work environment and themselves well presented. All equipment must be kept in good working condition and sterilised after each use. Stocktaking and attending seminars to keep up with new products and techniques are also part of the job. Hairdressers need to be able to promote haircare products so that clients can keep their hair in the best possible condition.

It may seem clichéd but many a secret or woe has been exchanged between hairdresser and customer. According to one hairdresser, more people go to a person with a nice disposition rather than someone with great hairdressing skills. Hence it is a job which requires excellent interpersonal skills. ''You have to be able to get on with people. It is a very personal and intimate job. Apart from the medical professions, it is the only job where you are licensed to touch someone!''.

Typical Occupational Example

The majority of hairdressers are employed in ladies', men's or unisex hairdressing salons. They may also be employed as beauty consultants, sales representatives or stylists in the fashion, film, theatre or advertising industry. There are some opportunities to travel overseas. For example, in the past couple of years, hairdressers have gone to Taiwan to train Chinese hairdressers in the latest hairdressing techniques.

For further information, contact:

Hair & Beauty SA
Phone: (08) 8271 1355

Earning Potential

Apprenticeship salaries are in the $22,000 range, qualified hairdressers and managers can earn up to about $30,000 per year. There is certainly the opportunity to start your own business and or move interstate and or overseas where you may become a hairstylist to the stars.

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online