Hairstylist Training Updates

Course Outline Updates

Course Outline Updates

On September 1, 2019, a new Hairstylist Apprenticeship Program Course Outline and Record Book will be available in Alberta.

Technical training for the hairstylist apprenticeship program is expected to resume in early 2020. Until then, hairstylist exams for both periods will not change to reflect the new course outline. Apprentices will continue to challenge the exams from the old course outline. Exam counselling sheets are available on the Exam Preparation Centre.  Exams will reflect the new course outline once technical training resumes in 2020.

What's in the new Hairstylist Apprenticeship Program Course Outline?

Course outline updates include the latest hairstylist technology and techniques used across Canada. Apprentices will focus more on hair cutting and barbering in the first period. Topics focusing on chemical texturing, hair colouring and styling moved to second period.

When topics move from second period to first period, apprentices are responsible to study any gaps that might occur in their training. An example of these topics include: anatomy and physiology; workplace coaching skills; and salon operations, marketing products and services.

Work Experience Credit Changes

How has the on-the-job work experience credit changed for graduates from recognized diploma programs?

In the past, graduates of a recognized hairstylist diploma program would automatically be granted 1400 hours of on-the-job (OTJ) work experience credit when becoming a registered apprentice. The Hairstylist Provincial Apprenticeship Committee (PAC) has recently recommended employers may use a diploma graduate’s program transcript to determine OTJ credit when signing up and registering new apprentices.

This change in OTJ credit applies to diplomas/certificates issued from a recognized hairstylist training provider after April 10, 2018. Graduates issued a diploma/certificate from a recognized hairstylist training provider before April 10, 2018, will receive 1,400 hours of OTJ work experience credit.

Accommodations will be made for students who were enrolled with an approved private training provider prior to April 10, 2018.

Why did the Hairstylist PAC decide to change the work experience credit?
This change more closely aligns the amount of OTJ training hours required for certification regardless if a hairstylist received technical training from a standard apprenticeship program or successfully completed training from a recognized private training program.

The (PAC) acknowledges that private institutions offer students experience in a salon setting; however, the PAC felt that the individual training from a certified practitioner working directly in the hairstylist industry promotes a culture of mentorship and provides a more in-depth OTJ training experience.

Approved private trade school graduates will continue to receive credit towards their apprenticeship
Diploma program graduates that meet specific criteria are eligible to receive advanced standing for technical training that will apply towards completing the Alberta hairstylist journeyperson certificate.

Diploma graduates will receive advanced standing for both periods of technical training and six months of credit towards their apprenticeship program.
Graduates may choose to write their Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) examinations at their own pace or back-to-back after receiving their diploma/certificate.

When registering as an Apprentice, graduates can upload their diploma/certificate and transcript, online through, MyTradesecrets (MTS) web portal.

Will the removal of OTJ credit change an approved private training provider hairstylist program?
Approved private trade schools will still offer the same level of training that they currently offer, and graduates will earn technical training credit and a reduction in the total number of months towards their hairstylist apprenticeship program.

If approved private trade schools make changes to their existing hairstylist training programs, they are required to submit a new program recognition application for review by the Hairstylist PAC. Advanced Education’s Private Careers Colleges Branch will also require notification of any changes.

How can an employer issue credit towards a journeyperson certificate?
When signing up and registering apprentices, Employers can now use a program’s transcript and submit a Work Experience Recommendation letter recommending practicum hours over the minimum training requirement. Letters and transcripts can be submitted to an AIT Training Office or uploaded through an apprentice’s MTS account.


A PDF of this information is available here.

Pathways to Journeyperson Certification

Counting the hours to certification

Before earning a hairstylist journeyperson certificate an apprentice must complete a total of 3,500 hours.

Standard apprenticeship program
2,800 hours OTJ training
+ 700 hours technical training
= 3,500 hours

Approved private training program
2,800 hours OTJ training
+ 1,400 hours recognized training
- 350 hours (employer recommended credit)
= 3,850 hours

*Training outside of standard apprenticeship program requires 1.5x more hours of technical training to obtain certification.

Both pathways to certification have their advantages.
The standard apprenticeship program offers provincial and federally subsidized hairstylist focused training.
Diploma programs offer upfront hairstylist training with added in-depth content.

How do graduates apply to write their Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) exams?

1. Register to become an apprentice immediately upon securing employment
2. Go to MyTradesecrets
3. Create your online profile/account
4. Apply for a PLA with reference code from the approved private training provider
5. Pay for your PLA application online. (Payments can also be made at the nearest AIT office)
6. Write your PLA exam

 Requirements to become a certified journeyperson 

To work in the hairstylist industry, you must be either a certified journeyperson or registered apprentice. Requirements to register as an apprentice are:

  • finding an employer and registering as an apprentice; and then successfully completing all technical training requirements (20 weeks over two periods),
    • OR successfully completing the minimum training requirement at an approved private trade school, finding an employer and then registering as an apprentice.
  • successfully completing all required AIT examinations;
    • if graduated from an approved private trade school; successfully completing the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), and applicable AIT assessments.
  • working with a certified journeyperson to complete the OTJ training hours.

Apprentices who earn their journeyperson certificate are eligible to challenge the Red Seal examination. Red Seal examinations are scheduled by contacting a local AIT field office. There are no fees required to write the Red Seal examination.


A PDF of this information is available here.

COVID-19 Practical Examinations Update

Due to Alberta Health Services’ COVID-19 orders, revisions have been made to the process of hairstylist and barber practical examinations. The following changes have been made to ensure the safety of candidates, markers and staff during practical exams.

Examination candidates should be aware of following important information items.

  • All services must be demonstrated on candidate-supplied mannequin(s).
  • Live models will not be used for examination services.
  • The sequence of examination tasks has been updated to minimize the number of mannequins required.
  • One mannequin may be used throughout the entire examination, however, a different mannequin may be used for each or multiple demonstration(s).
  • If one mannequin is used, it must have at least shoulder-length hair at the start of the examination and have the appropriate hair-length for each applicable service.
  • Mannequins are not required to have facial hair.
  • Mannequin hair-type should be suitable for the required examination services. Synthetic and animal hair mannequins are not recommended for chemical processes.
  • The permanent wave chemical application has been changed to a water perm demonstration (Hairstylist qualification and 2nd period Exam).
  • Candidates will be screened when they arrive at the examination facility, and anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will be rescheduled for a later date examination.
  • Do not appear if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive in the last 14 days.
  • The COVID-19 situation is continually being evaluated. Models will not be re-introduced to examinations until it is determined safe to do so.
  • Your patience and cooperation is greatly appreciated.

For a pdf of this information, click here.

For information contact:                                          

Edmonton Client Service Office                                         Calgary Client Service Office