How to Become a Hairdresser in Australia: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re wondering what it’s like to be a hairdresser and what awaits you once you’re  qualified, the news is positive.

Hairdressers, also known as hair stylists, can enjoy a creative and flexible career with the right skills, knowledge and training. And given that the industry is tipped to grow by  9.3% in Australia, you can feel confident that your skills will remain in high demand. 

This guide covers all aspects of how to become a hairdresser, including qualifications, salary and what a day in the life of a hairdresser is really like. With this advice in mind, you’ll be more prepared than ever to launch your new career.

Hairdressing wage Australia


A day in the life of a hairdresser

Congrats—you’re now a qualified hairdresser! So, what can you expect on an average day? Once your training is complete and you’ve built up your experience, here are a few things you might do in your new role as a hair stylist. 

  •   Engaging with customers and providing excellent customer service
  •   Providing services like haircuts and colouring
  •   Styling hair using various tools and products
  •   Offering advice on the best styles, treatments and products to use
  •   Helping clients achieve their hair goals
  •   Building long-term relationships with your customers
  •   Keeping your workstation and the salon clean and hygienic
  •   Making bookings at your salon
  •   Staying up to date with the latest hair trends
  •   Marketing your hairdressing skills on social media


Does hairdressing sound like your dream career? The myriad ways you can use your new talents make it even more appealing to pursue.


Hairdresser career options: which one is for you?

With an accredited hair cutting course under your belt, you can begin to explore new job opportunities. And one of the most significant upsides to working as a hairdresser is that your skills can be applied just about anywhere, including roles like: 

  • Hair stylist or hairdresser
  • Salon owner or manager
  • Colour technician or specialist
  • Cutting specialist
  • Wedding and event hair stylist
  • Film and television hair stylist
  • Celebrity hair stylist
  • Cruise ship hairdresser
  • Freelance hairdresser
  • Haircare brand representative
  • Social media influencer
  • Personal hair stylist for hire
  • Industry trainer


Looking for even more? Some hairdressers decide to pursue barbering instead or plan to offer both kinds of services to their clients. If so, becoming a barber could be more up your alley.


Which hairdressing courses do you need to start work?

Unlike other trades, hairdressers don’t need a license to work, but they must complete a Certificate III in Hairdressing. Thankfully, you have more than one way to get that done, depending on the mode of training you choose. 

Certificate III in Hairdressing

This fast track hairdressing course is comprehensive, taking just 18 months to become qualified and ready for work. You’ll learn theory and practical hairdressing skills under the guidance of expert trainers. Once complete, our graduates go on to work in salons, start their own businesses at home or pursue any avenue of hairdressing they choose. 

Demi International’s courses are based on school terms, so you can balance work, life and study thanks to a more flexible delivery mode. You’ll be on campus two days a week and complete self-supported study for seven hours a week over six terms, with the course offered at all six Demi International campuses.

Hairdressing apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are suited to people who want to combine hands-on learning in a salon environment with a slower pace of practical and theoretical study. Choosing this path means you’ll learn on the job, under the guidance of an employer, and either attend a formal training academy one day per week or receive your training on-site with an RTO like Demi International. 

How long is a hairdressing apprenticeship?

Taking this route means committing to training for three years (full-time) or four to six years (part-time).  Although it’s delivered at a slower pace and under your employer’s guidance, you can earn an apprenticeship wage as you train. For some, taking a fast-track hairdressing course is the better option. 

Hairdressing apprenticeship pay rates

Considering an apprenticeship? Your earnings will be slightly less while you’re learning. Under the Hair and Beauty Award for apprentices, you’ll be paid around $13.09 an hour for juniors and $20.95 an hour for adults during your three years of training. So, there’s even more to consider when weighing up the best study route.


Take your career further with a Diploma in Hairdressing

Want to improve your skill set and take your experience even further? Some students bundle their qualifications with a diploma in a hairdressing-related field. Depending on your ultimate career goals, there are a few valuable courses you could pursue. 

One of the most popular ways to combine courses is with a Diploma of Salon Management and Certificate III in Hairdressing. At Demi International, you can complete both courses with Queensland Training Award’s Small Training Provider of the Year, giving you the best foot forward in starting your own business. 


What’s the average hairdresser’s salary in Australia?

With a job that offers creativity and flexibility, money isn’t always your number one concern. But it’s nice to know that hairdressers have the potential to earn a good income, too. 

Like all industries, a hairdresser’s salary depends on where and how they work and how many years of experience they bring to the table. According to Seek, a newly qualified hairdresser’s salary can be up to $55,000, with income increasing as their skills and experience grow. Likewise, a salon manager earns up to $75,000, and a hair colourist earns $65,000, so the income for each role varies.


Which hairdressing skills are essential?

Hairdressing is more than just providing cuts and colours for clients. In addition to your expert technical skills, many other soft skills will give you everything you need to excel as a hairdresser. They include: 

  •   Passion: Although a cliché, passion is crucial in hairdressing. And being passionate about delivering the best hair for your clients and what’s trending will help you immensely.
  •   Excellent communication: As a hairdresser, you’ll meet people from all walks of life. Knowing how to communicate effectively, respectfully, and kindly is essential.
  •   Attention to detail: This craft requires expert care and attention when dealing with people’s hair. Ensuring you consistently deliver your best work will help you go far as a hairdresser.
  •   Creativity: As a hairdresser, you’ll use your flair for design and creativity every day, whether creating showstopping looks, building your portfolio or marketing your services.
  •   Dexterity: Your hands are your livelihood as a hairdresser, and you must move quickly with good hand-eye coordination to juggle the many tasks involved. The more qualified you become, the easier this will be.
  •   Time management: Hairdressers must be flexible and manage their time effectively. You’ll work on a tight schedule with conflicting appointments and sudden changes, so you must be ready to go with the flow.


In addition to these skills, finding a mentor can be valuable for pushing yourself even further. They’ll provide you with guidance and advice and can be instrumental in the early stages of your career. Once you feel ready, creating a professional portfolio to showcase your talents is another great step towards success.


Get excited about your new career

Demi International is proud to deliver leading qualifications in hairdressing, salon management, and more. Want to learn how to become a hairdresser? Speak to our Course Advisors to find the best pathway for you.

Picture of Chelsey Harris

Chelsey Harris

Chelsey has operated her own business in Far North Queensland, CK Hair Mobile Hairdressing & Makeup. Her career has seen her working with several Australian celebrities including Christine Anu.

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