Hairstylists cut and style hair to suit each client's face and lifestyle, and make recommendations about home care to ensure clients always look and feel their best.

Also Known As:Barber, Cosmetologist, Hairdresser
NOC Number(s):6271.1
Minimum Education:Apprenticeship Trade
Employment Outlook:Job openings: turnover plus new jobs due to above average growth in occupation in Alberta 2013-2017
Interests:I O S

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Duties | Working Conditions | Personal Characteristics | Education | Employment | Salary | Other Information | Related Occupations | Related School Subjects | Related Field of Study



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

Hairstylists must keep their station clean and organized. All equipment (scissors, combs, brushes, clippers) must be kept in good working condition and sterlized. Those who own or manage a salon also:

  • order supplies, pay bills and keep records
  • hire and supervise employees
  • encourage staff to learn new skills.

Working Conditions

Hairstylists work indoors in a clean environment. They 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.

Personal Characteristics

Hairstylists need the following characteristics:

  • patience and a desire to be helpful
  • physical stamina to stand all day and sometimes go without breaks
  • the ability to keep up to date with new hair fashions, supplies, equipment and technology
  • a professional appearance.

They should enjoy working with people.

Educational Requirements

To work in Alberta, a hairstylist must be ONE of the following:

  • a registered apprentice
  • an Alberta-certified journeyperson
  • someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate.

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentices must:

  • have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 10-2 and Math 10-3, or equivalent, or pass an entrance exam.
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates.  

The term of apprenticeship is two years (two 12 month periods) that include a minimum of 1,400 hours of on-the-job training and ten weeks of technical training each year. High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Applicants who have related training or work experience may be eligible for credit or certification.

Hairstylist apprentices may take the interprovincial exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training to earn a Red Seal (certification recognized in most parts of Canada).

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and is currently offered at

  • Delmar College of Hair and Esthetics Inc. in Calgary
  • Marvel College in Edmonton.

For more information, visit the Technical Training Centre on the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website.

Outside the apprenticeship program,  the following post-secondary institutions offer related training:

  • Academy of Professional Hair Design, a private vocational school in Red Deer, offers a 40 week Beauty Culture program. 
  • Artists Within, a private vocational school in Calgary, offers a full-time eight week Hair Design program. Applicants must be 19 years of age or have a high school diploma, or equivalent.
  • Beliza School of Hair Design, a private vocational school in Calgary, offers a 37 week Hairstylist program.
  • CLI College of Business, Health and Technology, a private vocational school in Edmonton, offers a 40 week Hairstylist program.    
  • DelMar College of Hair and Esthetics, a private vocational school in Calgary, offers a 36 week Hairstylist program. The entrance requirement is a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Est-Elle Academy of Hair Design Ltd., a private vocational school in Edmonton, offers a 39 week Beauty Culture program.
  • L.A. School of Hair Design (1989) Ltd., a private vocational school in Lethbridge, offers a 37 week Beauty Culture program. The entrance requirement is at least 33 credits with Grade 10 English and math or equivalent. 
  • Marvel College, a private vocational school in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer offers a 36 week Hairstyling program. The entrance requirement is a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Masters School of Hair Design, a private vocational school in Medicine Hat, offers a 39 week Beauty Culture program. The entrance requirement is Grade 10 or equivalent. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age. 
  • Northern Lights Academy of Cosmetology Ltd., a private vocational school in Grande Prairie, offers a 40 week Hairstylist program. Entrance requirements include Grade 10 or equivalent, a resumé, two letters of reference and a personal letter. Applicants must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Numa International Institute of Makeup and Design, a private vocational school in Calgary, offers a 12 week Hair Design program. The entrance requirement is a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • One Beauty Academy in Medicine Hat offers a 49 week Blended Hairstyling, Esthetics and Make-Up diploma program and a 39 week Hairstyling diploma program. 
  • Purely Inspired Academy of Beauty, a private vocational school in Lethbridge, offers a 40 week Hairstyling program and a 45 week Blended Hairstyling Makeup Esthetics program. Entrance requirements include Grade 10 English and Math 14, and an essay. 

For current information about programs, admission requirements and mature student admission policies, please check post-secondary calendars or websites.

Section revised October 2013

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 other occupations.

Hairstylists can move into related work such as demonstrating new colour or permanent wave techniques at hair shows or in salons for staff, esthetics or nail technicians, or become salespersons for beauty supply houses. Advancement is usually limited to managing a salon or owning and operating one's own establishment. Alberta certified journeyperson hairstylists who have the supervisory or management skills required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Hairstylists are part of the larger National Occupational Classification 6271: Hairstylists and Barbers. In Alberta, most people employed in this classification work in the Repair, Personal, Religious and Other Services industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Repair, Personal, Religious and Other Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 11,600 Albertans are employed in the Hairstylists and Barbers occupational group which is expected to have an annual above average growth of 3.5 per cent from 2013 to 2017 in Alberta. It is forecasted that about 406 new positions will be created each year in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. (Note: Since hairstylists form only a part of the larger occupational group on which this forecast is based, only a portion of the new positions created will be for hairstylists.)

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Section revised November 2013


Wage rates for certified hairstylists vary but generally range from $10 to $17 an hour plus benefits (2009 estimate). Apprentice hairstylists earn at least minimum wage. (As of September 1, 2013, the minimum wage in Alberta is $9.95 per hour for most jobs. For more information, see Alberta Employment Standards.) Usually the pay increases as training progresses. 

According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Hairstylists and Barbers occupational group earned on average from $12.75 to $29.09 an hour. The mean wage for this group was $19.32 an hour.

For more detailed information, see WAGEinfo.

Section revised August 2013

Other Sources of Information

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website:

EDinfo website:

Post-secondary institution calendars and websites (see Educational Requirements above)

Related Occupational Profiles
Career and Technology Studies Teacher
Make-Up Artist
Nail Technician

Related High School Subjects
Health, Recreation and Human Services (Cosmetology)

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
Personal and Food Services; and Trades, Industrial and Related Training

Produced May 2009
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For more information on career planning, occupations and educational programs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website at, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

The information contained in this profile was current as of the dates shown. Salaries, employment outlook and educational programs may change. Please check the information before making any career decisions.

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