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
Projectged job openings are high
Qualified full time wage between $33,000 and $42,000
Source 2019
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.

TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Hairdresser

Accredited (Award)

  • 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.

    Artistic and CreativeInfluencing and Personal Contact

  • 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 III in Hairdressing and Certificate III in Barbering. Pathways include the Certificate II in Salon Assistant.

    Still unsure? Then try a short course also offered through TAFE SA. 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 clich├ęd 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!''.

  • 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