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An overview of the recent changes to the hairstylist apprenticeship training program is available here.


Hairstylists cut and style hair to suit the client's face and lifestyle; recommending home care maintenance to ensure each client always looks and feels his or her best.


  • shampoo, cut, trim, colour, perm and style hair, wigs, hairpieces and extensions,
  • shave, trim and shape beards and mustaches,
  • suggest appropriate styling aids or hairstyles, and
  • analyze hair and scalp and suggest treatment.

Hairstylists must keep their stations clean and organized. All equipment (scissors, combs, brushes and clippers) must be kept in good working condition and sterilized. Those who own or manage a salon also order supplies, pay bills, keep records, hire and supervise employees always encouraging the need for further education.

For more information regarding tasks and activities, please review the Trade Regulation.


Working Conditions

Hairstylists work indoors in a professional, clean environment, but must stand all day and sometimes work through their breaks. They may be required to work weekends and evenings and put in extra hours at peak times.


Skills and Abilities

Successful hairstylists are usually creative sales people who get satisfaction from styling hair to suit their client. They must:

  • enjoy people and be patient and helpful serving the public,
  • have the physical stamina needed to stand all day and sometimes go without breaks,
  • keep up to date with new hair fashions,
  • always look and dress professionally, and
  • stay updated on new supplies, equipment and technology.


Employment and Advancement

Most hairstylists work in beauty salons. Employment opportunities are concentrated in large and medium-sized urban areas, although many smaller communities support small salons. Part-time work is more common than in most other occupations.

Certified Hairstylists wage rates vary, but generally range from minimum wage to $25 an hour, or higher.

Hairstylists can move into other areas such as a colour or permanent wave technician who demonstrate new techniques at hair shows or in salons for staff, esthetics or nail technicians. Advancement is usually limited to managing a salon or owning and operating one's own establishment. You may also wish to become a salesperson for a beauty supply house.


Working in Alberta

To work as a hairstylist in Alberta, a person must be a registered apprentice, an Alberta-certified journeyperson, or hold a valid recognized credential.

Individuals possessing a valid recognized credential in Alberta are eligible to receive a Blue Seal business credential after completing the necessary requirements.


Apprenticeship Training

The term of apprenticeship for a hairstylist is 2 years (two 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1450 hours of on-the-job training and 10 weeks of technical training each year.  Click to view the Hairstylist FYI about new changes to the program.

  • An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the hairstylist trade and has the employer's recommendation may qualify for credit that could reduce the term of apprenticeship.
  • Individuals who graduate from an approved private trade school must register to become an apprentice immediately upon securing employment, as they cannot begin collecting hours of on-the-job training towards their minimum term of apprenticeship (12 months and 1450 hours) until their completed application has been submitted. Inquiries about credit for previously completed courses of study or work experience can be directed to an apprentice representative toll-free at 1-800-248-4823.
  • A person who has previous training or work experience in the trade and wants to determine their level of skill and knowledge for entry or advanced standing in an apprenticeship program may complete the online Prior Learning Assessment Application.  
  • A high school student can become an apprentice and gain credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time under the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

To learn the skills required of a hairstylist in Alberta and be issued an Alberta Journeyman Certificate, a person must:

Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates and may select apprentices from among their current employees.

For holders of an existing trade certificate, it can serve as your entrance requirement equivalency when registering in an additional trade.

  • complete the online Apprenticeship Application and Contract
  • pay the non-refundable application fee as part of the application process 
  • complete the required on-the-job training
    - during on-the-job training, apprentice hairstylists earn at least minimum wage. Usually, the pay increases as the training progresses.
  • complete all program requirements as identified in the Course Outline (updated 2019)
  • enroll in technical training
  • successfully complete all required (See Exam Counselling Sheets)
  • Technical Training Resource List
    • Each period of technical training requires apprentices to purchase specific resources and supplies.
    • Contact the training provider where you will be attending training for a complete list.

Apprentices involved in the Career and Technology Studies (CTS) stream in high school may be eligible for credit towards their apprenticeship first period training. 

Apprentices may attempt the Interprovincial Exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal.

When apprentices attend technical training, they are required to pay the applicable tuition fee and purchase course supplies.

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 1-800-248-4823.


Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program

A hairstylist who holds a valid trade certificate from Alberta or from another Canadian province or territory may apply to write the Interprovincial Exam and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal under the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program. The Red Seal is recognized throughout most of Canada.

To prepare for the exam see the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available resource materials.


Qualification Certificate Program

For a Qualification Certificate based on a recognized credential or work experience in order to prepare for the exam(s) please refer to the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available Resource Materials.

Time spent on supervisory or foreman duties, counter work, heading the tool crib, or on training course is NOT counted as 'hands-on' work experience.


Equivalency Program

A person who holds a valid recognized credential does not require an Alberta equivalency document to work in the trade in Alberta.

However, some employers may require Alberta documentation as proof that the holder is allowed to work in the trade or that the holder's credential is recognized.

Click for more information on the Equivalency Program.