How Long Does It Take to Become a Hairdresser?

Are you interested in becoming a hairdresser? Discover How Long Does It Take to Become a Hairdresser, the necessary steps, and the factors that influence the duration of your journey to becoming a professional hairdresser.


Hairdressing is a creative and rewarding career path that allows individuals to express their artistic flair while helping others look and feel their best. If you’re considering a career in hairdressing, you might be wondering how long it takes to become a professional hairdresser. In this article, we will explore the journey to becoming a hairdresser, including the education, training, and steps involved. We will also address frequently asked questions to provide a comprehensive guide for aspiring hairdressers.

What is a Hairdresser?

Before we delve into the details of becoming a hairdresser, let’s start with the basics. A hairdresser is a professional who specializes in cutting, styling, coloring, and treating hair. They work in various settings, such as salons, spas, and barbershops, and cater to a diverse clientele. Hairdressers have a keen eye for fashion trends and possess the skills to transform hair into different styles to enhance their clients’ appearance.

How to Become a Hairdresser?

Becoming a hairdresser requires a combination of education, training, and practical experience. Here are the key elements involved in the journey to becoming a hairdresser:

Education and Training

To start your career as a hairdresser, you need to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills through education and training. This typically involves enrolling in a cosmetology program, which can be offered by vocational schools, community colleges, or dedicated cosmetology schools. These programs cover a wide range of topics, including hair cutting, coloring techniques, chemical treatments, and salon management.

Licensing and Certification

In most jurisdictions, hairdressers are required to obtain a license to practice their profession. Licensing requirements vary by location, but they generally involve completing a state-approved cosmetology program, fulfilling a certain number of training hours, and passing a licensing examination. Obtaining a license ensures that hairdressers have met the necessary standards to provide professional services.

Skills Required

Apart from the formal education and licensing requirements, certain skills are essential for a successful career as a hairdresser. These skills include:

  • Creativity and artistic vision
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Manual dexterity
  • Knowledge of current fashion and beauty trends
  • Ability to work with a variety of hair types and textures
  • Customer service skills

Now that we’ve covered the basics of becoming a hairdresser let’s explore the time it takes to embark on this exciting career path.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Hairdresser?

The duration required to become a hairdresser can vary depending on several factors. Here are some key aspects that can influence the timeframe:

Factors Affecting the Timeframe

  1. Education Program Length: The duration of the cosmetology program you choose will impact the time it takes to become a hairdresser. Programs can range from several months to a couple of years, depending on the depth of the curriculum and the number of training hours required.
  2. Apprenticeship vs. Traditional Education: Opting for an apprenticeship can provide an alternative path to becoming a hairdresser. Apprenticeships involve working under the guidance of an experienced professional, allowing you to gain hands-on experience while learning the trade. The length of an apprenticeship can vary, typically lasting from one to three years.
  3. Personal Commitment: Your dedication and the amount of time you invest in your education and training will significantly impact the time it takes to become a proficient hairdresser. Putting in extra effort, attending additional workshops, and actively seeking opportunities to enhance your skills can expedite your journey.

Considering these factors, let’s now explore a step-by-step guide to becoming a hairdresser.

Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Hairdresser

Step 1: Research and Explore

Before diving into a hairdressing career, take the time to research and explore the field. Learn about the job responsibilities, work environments, and potential career paths available in the hairdressing industry.

Step 2: Obtain a High School Diploma

A high school diploma or equivalent is generally required to enroll in a cosmetology program. Complete your high school education or obtain a GED to meet this prerequisite.

Step 3: Enroll in a Cosmetology Program

Search for accredited cosmetology schools or programs in your area. Compare their curriculum, reputation, and training hours. Choose a program that aligns with your goals and enroll in it.

Step 4: Complete the Required Training Hours

Attend classes, practical sessions, and demonstrations as part of your cosmetology program. Fulfill the required training hours, which can range from 1,000 to 2,500 hours, depending on the program and location.

Step 5: Pass the State Licensing Exam

Once you’ve completed the required training hours, you’ll need to pass the state licensing exam. Study the material covered in the exam and prepare diligently to increase your chances of success.

Step 6: Gain Hands-on Experience

After obtaining your license, seek opportunities to gain practical experience. Apply for internships or entry-level positions at salons to refine your skills and learn from experienced professionals.

Step 7: Stay Updated with Trends

The hairdressing industry is constantly evolving, with new trends and techniques emerging regularly. Stay updated with the latest developments by attending workshops, industry events, and continuing education programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a hairdresser?

The duration can vary depending on the education program and the path you choose. It can take anywhere from several months to a few years to become a hairdresser.

Can I become a hairdresser without going to school?

While formal education is not always mandatory, most jurisdictions require hairdressers to complete a state-approved cosmetology program and obtain a license.

What are the skills needed to become a hairdresser?

Skills required to become a hairdresser include creativity, communication, attention to detail, manual dexterity, and knowledge of current fashion trends.

How much does the hairdressing school cost?

The cost of a hairdressing school can vary depending on the location and the program. It’s best to research and compare different options to find one that fits your budget.

Do I need a license to work as a hairdresser?

In most jurisdictions, hairdressers are required to obtain a license to legally practice their profession.

What is the average salary of a hairdresser?

The average salary of a hairdresser can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and clientele. It’s advisable to research salary trends in your specific area.

Can I specialize in a particular area of hairdressing?

Yes, hairdressers can specialize in areas such as cutting, coloring, styling, or working with specific hair types. Specialization can enhance career prospects and earning potential.

What are the job prospects for hairdressers?

Job prospects for hairdressers are generally favorable, as people will always require hair care services. The demand can vary by location and economic factors.

How often do hairdressing trends change?

Hairdressing trends change regularly, influenced by fashion, pop culture, and individual preferences. Staying updated with the latest trends can help you meet client expectations.

Are there any risks or health hazards associated with hairdressing?

Hairdressing involves working with various chemicals and tools, which can pose certain risks. It’s important to follow safety protocols, use protective equipment, and maintain good hygiene practices.


Becoming a hairdresser is an exciting journey that requires dedication, education, and practical experience. The time it takes to become a professional hairdresser can vary depending on factors such as education program length, apprenticeships, and personal commitment. By following a step-by-step guide, obtaining the necessary skills, and staying updated with industry trends, you can embark on a rewarding career in hairdressing.

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