How to Become a Hairstylist in Ontario

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"What's the fastest way to get there?"

If these past two years have taught us anything – it’s that people crave connection and that the desire to get one’s hair cut, coloured and styled is the quickest therapy and self-care one can ask for. 

While COVID has displaced many professions, it is evident that hair and beauty is in high demand and people are willing to go to great lengths to get their tresses trimmed (have you seen the controversy around black-market haircuts during the provincial-wide lockdown?).  Hair has proven to be essential and the demand for skilled hairstylists and colourists is projected to grow in the coming recovery years post-COVID.

For individuals who are interested in combining their good sense of style, manual dexterity and great interpersonal skills to help people look good and feel great – becoming a hairstylist is a fabulous career choice that is guaranteed to never go out of style. 

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6 Steps to Becoming a hairstylist in Ontario

This article will help guide you on how to get your hairstyling license in Ontario. Note that rules for working as a hairstylist are governed by the provincial government and vary from province to province across the country. 

The following guide is applicable for those who are looking to study, work or open a hairstyling salon in Ontario Canada.

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 hair school.

    Enroll and complete an approved diploma program that is at minimum 1500 hours and teaches hairstyling at a Ontario 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 stylist with a licensed sponsor or Journey person.
  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!
    It’s official, all your hard work has paid off. You now join the ranks of professionals in the hair industry. Your credentials will open up doors to a multitude of career opportunities from working behind the chair – owning your own salon boutique to working on the main stages as a platform artist.

    This is what your license looks like.  With it, you can now go to exclusive beauty suppliers to buy professional grade beauty products and colour at industry prices.

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The Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship

And finally, just like doctors and lawyers, you are on the list! Your name is now of public record and is searchable on the professional 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 905-461-3034.