Make-up Artist

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: 10,001 to 25,000
Salary Range
Median weekly earnings: < $920 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
Do images of beautiful women with flawless complexions spring to mind when you think of make-up artists? Then, you're only seeing part of their role. They also use make-up to create a variety of special effects and images.
There are approximately 79 make-up artists working in South Australia. Most make-up artists are female, but it is an occupation that more males are becoming interested in and showing a flair for. Employment is largely part-time and most work in the Adelaide metropolitan area. Majority of those employed are in the 25 - 34 years age group.

TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Make-up Artist

Accredited (Award)

  • Make-up artists apply make-up to film, television or stage performers to enhance or alter their appearance, or to create special effects. Stanley Ipkiss, the hilarious but hideous looking character played by Jim Carrey in 'The Mask,' is a perfect example of the creative talent of a make-up artist. Many make-up artists also do special occasion make-up for brides, photographic models and 'belles' of the school ball. It is an occupation that relies heavily on the creativity of the practitioner. A good make-up artist should be artistic and understand bone structure. After all, you're transforming a person's face. For example, the mouth may need reshaping to make it more attractive visually.

    Artistic and Creative

  • To gain employment in this highly competitive industry, it is critical to have completed a reputable make-up artistry course and to have attained solid work experience. You can build your experience by working for a cosmetic company, a beauty salon or an amateur theatrical company.

    TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy. Pathways include the Certificate II in Retail Make-up and Skin Care and Certificate III Program in Beauty Services (Specialising in Make-up).

    Still unsure? Then try a short course also offered through TAFE SA such as Design and Apply Make-Up or Makeup Done Well for All Ages. Check the website for the full list of short courses.

    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.

  • Opportunities for employment in theatre, television, dance and film and video companies are limited in this very competitive and tiny industry. Many make-up artists work on a freelance basis and do make-up for special occasions, such as weddings and school balls. Freelance make-up artists will have to 'see' themselves as a small business and really sell their skills in order to generate work. This is an occupation where establishing contacts is critical. While its important to be very good at what you do, its also very helpful to know someone who can give you that all important break.

  • One make-up artist says its essential to create a look that is consistent with the type of production. ''News presenters have to be groomed and sleek. Their make-up is fairly serious,'' she says. Once a client is in the make-up chair, a make-up artist removes any previous make-up and cleans a person's skin. The next step is the application of fresh make-up. This can take anywhere between thirty minutes to several hours, depending on the type of make-up that's required.

    Special effects such as ageing, creating someone with an illness, giving someone a monster-like appearance, or adding the odd scar or bruise, can take several hours. For example, it would take about 40 minutes to do a media presenter's hair and make-up. Many make-up artists are also skilled in hairdressing, many of these workers believe hairdressing skills are a must for make-up artists working in the television industry.

  • Excellent communication skills are a must as a make-up artist, as you'll work closely with many different people. Clients must feel confident about your work, as they are trusting you to make them look good.

  • Make-up artists are armed with tricks, tips and tools of their trade. Every imaginable brush - blush, lip and eye-shadow, as well as concoctions to help your make-up last longer, can be found in their invaluable and expensive make-up kit. They also reapply make-up during commercial or production breaks, when necessary. Make-up artists mostly work in a make-up room, or on location. Their work environment can get busy and stressful and they may be required to work long hours.

    Another make-up artist, says she was drawn to the occupation because of the perceived glamour. ''I wanted to be creative and to work with people in a glamorous environment. But, there are many unglamorous moments, like getting up at 5 am for a photo shoot. ''I was drawn to the occupation because she wanted to help make people feel more beautiful.

Further Information

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