How Long Does It Take to Become Hairdresser?

Starting a career as a hairdresser is an exciting journey that many people dream of pursuing. But how long does it really take to become a hairdresser? Let’s break down the timeline and steps involved in this rewarding profession.

Becoming a hairdresser can take anywhere from 9 months to 2 years, depending on the type of program you choose to pursue. Here is a detailed outline of the process to become a professional hairdresser:

Research Different Hairdressing Programs

When considering a career in hairdressing, it’s essential to explore the various educational paths available to become a skilled professional. Some options to kickstart your journey include enrolling in cosmetology school, attending beauty school, or participating in an apprenticeship program. Each of these programs offers unique benefits and can lead you to a successful career in the industry.

Cosmetology school provides a comprehensive curriculum that covers a wide range of beauty services, including hair styling, skincare, and nail care. On the other hand, beauty school focuses primarily on hair cutting, coloring, and styling techniques. If you prefer a more hands-on approach, an apprenticeship program allows you to learn directly from experienced professionals in a salon setting.

It’s crucial to research each program thoroughly to determine which option aligns best with your career goals and learning style. Consider factors like program duration, cost, location, and reputation in the industry. By exploring these different avenues, you can make an informed decision that sets you on the path to becoming a successful hairdresser.

Decide on a Program That Fits Your Needs

Choosing the right hairdressing program is a significant decision that can impact your future career opportunities. Before committing to a specific program, take the time to evaluate your priorities and requirements to ensure that it meets your needs effectively.

Cost is a crucial factor to consider when selecting a program. Evaluate tuition fees, additional expenses for supplies or tools, and potential financial aid options. Additionally, think about the location of the school or salon where the program is based. Is it convenient for you to commute? Does it offer a conducive learning environment?

Curriculum plays a vital role in your education as a hairdresser. Look for programs that cover a wide range of techniques, trends, and skills to prepare you for a successful career in the industry. Finally, reputation matters. Research reviews, talk to current students or alumni, and seek recommendations from industry professionals to gauge the quality and credibility of the program.

By carefully considering these factors, you can select a hairdressing program that aligns with your goals and sets you on the path to success in the exciting world of hairstyling.

3. Enroll in a Hairdressing Program

To become a hairdresser, the first step is enrolling in a reputable hairdressing program. Research schools in your area and evaluate their curriculum, reputation, and accreditation. Once you’ve chosen a program that suits your needs, you will typically need to complete an application form and provide any necessary documentation, such as high school transcripts or a GED certificate.

Financial aid options are often available for those pursuing a career in hairdressing. You can explore scholarships, grants, and student loans to help cover the cost of tuition, books, and supplies. Additionally, some schools may offer payment plans or flexible scheduling options to accommodate your budget and lifestyle.

Remember, choosing the right hairdressing program is crucial to your success as a hairdresser. Take the time to compare schools, visit campuses, and speak with current students or alumni to get a sense of the program’s quality and reputation. By investing in a comprehensive and reputable program, you’ll be well-prepared for a successful career in hairdressing.

4. Complete the Required Training Hours

Becoming a licensed hairdresser requires completing a set number of training hours. The exact number of hours varies by state, but typically ranges from 1,500 to 2,100 hours. These hours are divided between classroom instruction and hands-on practice, covering topics such as hair cutting, styling, coloring, and customer service.

Most hairdressing programs offer full-time and part-time scheduling options, allowing you to complete your training at a pace that works for you. Full-time programs can often be completed in 9-12 months, while part-time programs may take 18-24 months or longer.

It’s important to stay focused and dedicated during your training hours, as they provide valuable hands-on experience and knowledge that will prepare you for the licensing exam and your future career as a hairdresser. Be proactive in seeking out additional training opportunities, such as workshops or apprenticeships, to further enhance your skills and stay current in the ever-evolving beauty industry.

5. Pass the Licensing Exam

So, you’ve honed your skills, mastered the art of cutting and styling hair, and now you’re ready to take the next step – passing the licensing exam. This exam is like the final boss battle in a video game – it’s the last hurdle before you can officially call yourself a hairdresser.

To prepare for the licensing exam, study like your future career depends on it – because it does! Review your textbooks, take practice exams, and don’t be afraid to ask your instructors for help. Remember, this exam covers everything from sanitation and safety procedures to hair cutting techniques, so make sure you’re well-rounded in your knowledge.

When exam day rolls around, show up with confidence. You’ve put in the work, now it’s time to shine. Read each question carefully, take your time, and don’t second-guess yourself. Trust in your abilities and remember that you’ve got this!

And here’s a pro tip: practice deep breathing and visualization techniques to help calm your nerves before the exam. Remember, you’ve already proven yourself in the salon – now it’s time to prove yourself on paper. Good luck!

6. Gain Practical Experience Through Internships

Now, let’s talk about the importance of gaining practical experience through internships. Picture this: you’ve aced your training, passed the licensing exam with flying colors, and now you’re ready to dive headfirst into the world of hairdressing. But wait – there’s one more crucial step you shouldn’t skip!

Internships and on-the-job training opportunities are like the icing on the cake of your hairdresser journey. These experiences allow you to apply what you’ve learned in a real salon setting, fine-tune your skills, and learn from seasoned professionals in the field.

So, how do you find these golden opportunities? Network, network, network! Reach out to local salons, attend industry events, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Remember, the more hands-on experience you have under your belt, the more confident and competent you’ll become as a hairdresser.

And here’s a unique insight: consider volunteering at charity events or fashion shows to gain exposure and build your portfolio. Not only will you be giving back to the community, but you’ll also be showcasing your talents to a wider audience. It’s a win-win!

7. Continuously Improve Your Skills

Staying ahead in the hairdressing industry requires a commitment to lifelong learning. To excel as a hairdresser, continuously upgrading! skills. Attending workshops, seminars, and advanced training courses helps you stay current with the latest trends and techniques, keeping you competitive in the fast-paced world of hair styling. By dedicating yourself to ongoing education, you not only enhance your abilities but also build credibility and attract new clients seeking the latest styles and treatments.

8. Explore Specializations in the Field

The field of hairdressing offers diverse specializations that cater to different client needs and preferences. Consider narrowing down your focus by specializing in areas such as coloring, styling, or barbering. By honing your skills in a specific area, you can become an expert in that niche and attract a loyal clientele looking for specialized services. Pursuing a specialization can also lead to higher income potential and career growth opportunities, as you establish yourself as a go-to professional in your chosen field.

Additional Unique Insight: Master the Art of Balayage

Balayage has become a highly sought-after hair coloring technique, known for its natural-looking results and low maintenance upkeep. Mastering the art of balayage can set you apart as a skilled colorist and attract clients seeking this popular trend. Consider taking specialized courses and practice extensively to perfect your balayage skills and offer this in-demand service to your clients.

9. Networking and Building Your Clientele

Building a solid clientele base as a hairdresser is crucial for a successful career. To network effectively within the industry, attend hair shows, join professional organizations, and participate in local events to meet potential clients and industry professionals. Utilize social media platforms to showcase your work and engage with potential clients. Don’t be afraid to reach out to local businesses or influencers for partnerships or collaborations to expand your reach.

Additionally, providing exceptional customer service and creating a welcoming atmosphere in your salon will help you retain clients and receive referrals. Offering promotions and discounts to loyal customers can also help attract new clients and retain existing ones. Remember, word-of-mouth referrals are one of the most powerful marketing tools in the beauty industry, so focus on creating memorable experiences for every client.

10. Staying Inspired and Creative

To stay inspired and creative in your hairdressing career, continuously seek new sources of inspiration. Attend workshops, seminars, and trade shows to learn about the latest trends and techniques in the industry. Surround yourself with other creative individuals, whether it’s fellow hairdressers, artists, or designers, to exchange ideas and stay motivated.

Experiment with different styles, techniques, and products to keep your creativity flowing. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things – creativity thrives on taking risks. Remember, inspiration can come from anywhere, so stay open-minded and receptive to new ideas. By staying curious and constantly seeking new knowledge, you’ll keep your passion for hairdressing alive and continue to grow as a professional.

Additional Tip: Consider creating a vision board or mood board to collect images, colors, and textures that inspire you. Refer to it whenever you feel stuck or uninspired to reignite your creativity and motivation.

How long does it take to become a hairdresser?

Becoming a hairdresser typically takes about 9 to 12 months of training in a cosmetology school. During this time, you will learn various techniques such as cutting, coloring, styling, and customer service. Keep in mind that the exact duration can vary depending on the specific program and the state’s licensing requirements.

If you’re wondering about the first hairdressing academy, here’s an interesting fact for you: Did you know that the first hairdressing academy was established in London in 1919? It was called the London Institute of Hairdressing and offered courses in cutting, coloring, and styling hair.

When choosing a cosmetology school, make sure to research their program length, curriculum, and success rate of their graduates. Additionally, gaining real-world experience through internships or apprenticeships can further enhance your skills and marketability in the industry.

One unique insight to consider is that while formal training is essential, staying updated on the latest trends and techniques through workshops, seminars, and online courses can help you continue to grow as a hairdresser throughout your career. Continual learning and adaptation are key in this dynamic field.

Remember, becoming a hairdresser requires dedication, creativity, and a passion for helping others look and feel their best. Embrace the journey of learning and honing your skills, and you’ll be on your way to a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

  • Alex Mitch

    Hi, I'm the founder of! Having been in finance and tech for 10+ years, I was surprised at how hard it can be to find answers to common questions in finance, tech and business in general. Because of this, I decided to create this website to help others!