Hairdressers work with their clients to provide hair and scalp treatments including cutting, washing, styling, colouring, straightening and permanently waving hair.

Barbers work with male clients to provide services including haircutting, styling, and head and facial grooming.

Where hairdressers are employed

Hairdressers work in women's, men's or unisex salons. They spend most of the day on their feet and are usually required to undertake shift work to fit in with salon business hours. They have a high level of public contact.

Barbers most often work in barber shops.

Depending on knowledge, skills and experience, self-employment is also an option.


Full-time hairdressers in South Australia generally earn less than $600 per week.

Graph of pay scales for Hairdressers

Job prospects

In 2011 there were 2,162 people employed full-time as hairdressers compared with 2,192 in 2006.

How to become one

You can become a hairdresser by completing a vocational education and training (VET) qualification in hairdressing. The following courses are available for those interested in pursuing a career in hairdressing:

  • Certificate II in Hairdressing
  • Certificate III in Hairdressing
  • Certificate III in Barbering
  • Certificate IV in Hairdressing
  • Diploma of Salon Management 

See courses related to this occupation.

Ask your career adviser about starting this training in school.

Licensing or registration requirements

In South Australia, there are currently no licensing or registration requirements for hairdressers.

Employers will require a minimum of a Certificate III education level or a trade certificate.

If you have experience but no formal qualifications, you may be able to have your skills assessed to the minimum education level required by industry through a Registered Training Provider authorised to deliver the relevant course.

Recognition of qualifications obtained outside Australia

If you have overseas gained qualifications and or experience as a hairdresser there are options for you to gain recognition to meet the industry requirements and standards

  • You may be able to have your skills assessed to the minimum education level required by industry through a Registered Training Provider authorised to deliver the relevant course.
  • You may be eligible to undertake a fast-tracked adult apprenticeship.
  • You may be eligible to apply to the South Australian Retail, Wholesale and Personal Services Training Advisory Group  - Hairdressing Panel. If your application is successful a Certificate of Recognition will be awarded through Regulation and Contract Management on behalf of the South Australian Training and Skills Commission. 

For information about assessment of overseas qualifications, and looking for work in Australia visit Recognition of overseas qualifications or contact Skilled Arrival Services on 08 8303 2420 or email

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Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.

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