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So you’ve recently decided you want to become a barber. What’s not to love about the flexible hours, creative outlet or social engagement? Maybe you feel mesmerized about being able to bang out a blurry fade or crisp lineup and love the idea of having the power to help people look good and feel great about themselves. Perhaps one day, you are even thinking of opening up your own barbershop or salon in Ontario.

If you are looking to get into hair and barber industry, chances are you are already researching on “how to get your Ontario Barber License” or perhaps were seeing where the closest barber school is to enroll for the “Ontario Barber Diploma”.

This article will help guide you in understanding what the Ontario government requires you to do and will ultimately answer the question of How to become a Barber or Hairstylist in Ontario. 

Before we dive deep, keep in mind that while most content available online is geared towards schools and requirements in the US, Canada operates much differently.  Moreover, training and education varies from province to province. The following guide is applicable only for residents of Ontario or for those who are looking to study and work as a barber or hairstylist in Ontario.

So let’s cut to the chase, how do you become a barber in Ontario? 

Spoiler Alert: 

There is no such thing as a stand alone Ontario Barber Diploma or an Ontario Barber License.  Moreso, if there is a program that is being offered not within a Private Career College and is: 

  • More than 40 hours or 
  • Costs more than $1000  

it would be run illegal according to the PCC (Private Career Colleges) and MTCU (Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities) – the official government bodies overseeing hair professionals in Ontario. 

Despite there not being a stand alone barber diploma program or barber license, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t need a license to work in Ontario. More importantly, if you ever want to open up a barbershop in Ontario, you’ll definitely want peace of mind in having all the required government documentation before you invest and operate. The last thing you want to happen is to be shut down due to non-compliance. 

How to Become a Barber or Hairstylist in Ontario

There are 6 stages you will need to complete in order to get your hair license in Ontario 

  1. Sign up and enroll at a registered school.
    Enroll and complete an approved diploma program that is at minimum 1500 hours and teaches both hairstyling and barbering at a college that is registered under the Private Career Colleges Act 2005. Once complete, these 1500 hours will go towards your 3500 training hours required in order to complete step 3.
  2. Get hired as an apprentice
    Once you graduate, you can now apply to work as an apprentice or commonly referred to as a junior barber or stylist with a licensed sponsor or Journeyperson.
  3. Register your apprenticeship
    Register your apprenticeship status at your local MTCU office. Here is a handy link to find the nearest apprenticeship office near you.
  4. Work, work, work, work, work.
    Continue to master your skills at your new job and complete a minimum of 2000 work hours under the supervision and mentorship of your sponsor. Generally speaking, if you are working full time for 40 hours a week (8 hours a day, 5 days a week), it will take you approximately one year.
  5. Test time!
    Once you show proof of your hair school diploma of 1500hrs and 2000hr on the job practical training (for a total of 3500 hours) you can now request to challenge your Q of A (Qualifications Assessment Examination).  You must pass this provincial examination with at least a 70% grade.
    It costs $100 each time you write the test for a total of 3 attempts. If you fail after the 3rd attempt, you will need to show proof of educational upgrade before you can get permission to write it again.
  6. Congratulations! 

Its official, all your hard work has paid off. You now join the ranks of professionals in the hair and barbering industry. Your credentials will open up doors to a multitude of career opportunities from working behind the chair – owning your own shop to working on the main stages as a platform artist. 

This is what your license looks like.  With it, you can now go to major beauty suppliers not open to the public and buy professional products and tools at industry prices. 

This is what your Certificate of Qualification looks like

And finally, just like doctors, lawyers, hairstylist and barbers – your name is now of public record and is searchable on the Public Register

(Helpful hint: new grads can also use the Public Register as a tool to search for registered sponsors when looking for employment) 

Have more questions?  Book a career planning session with one of our friendly career counselors call 905-461-3035.