Job description of a trainee hairdresser

Updated February 21, 2017

A trainee hairdresser is a hairdresser who is still in beauty school or a certified training program working and training to complete the program and receive a cosmetologist license. A hairdresser in training often works at a salon run by her beauty school.

How to Begin

A hairdresser trainee gets started at a beauty school. Look for a state-licensed barber or cosmetology school. Look for a training program that offers courses in basic cosmetology, features design, cutting, colouring and multicultural techniques. Some schools offer full time and part time courses, with full time courses primarily offered in the day and part time courses typically offered on weekends and evenings.

Prior Education

In order to enrol in beauty school and complete courses that would allow you to train as a hairdresser, you must be at least 16 years old and have a high school diploma or the equivalent. No other education or work experience is needed.

Nature of the Work

A hairdresser in training does the same thing that a regular hairdresser would do, just under the supervision of a teacher or supervisor at a beauty school. A hairdresser in training shampoos, cuts, colours, perms, blow-dries and styles hair. He will also give advise clients on how to care for their hair at home.


A hairdresser in training is generally not paid for her work. A hairdresser must complete a certain number of hours performing hairdressing functions in order to complete her schooling. To accomplish this, many beauty schools have salons that will charge clients a rate much lower than the going rate for services if they let trainees work on their hair. The money raised from services goes toward paying for supplies and costs of hair care, paying for the supervisor or teacher and the basic costs of running the salon. Although hairdressers in training do not receive a wage from the college salon, they are allowed to keep any tips they receive. Hairdresser in training generally receive tips that total ten per cent of the cost of services performed.

License Qualifications

All states require cosmetologists or hairdressers to be licensed. Qualifications for a license vary by state, but generally a person must be at least 16 years old, have a high school diploma or GED and have graduated from a state-licensed barber or cosmetology school. After completing a state licensed program, the applicant takes a state licensing examination that consists of a written test and a practical test of styling skills or an oral examination. A fee is usually required upon application for a license, and periodic license renewals may be necessary. Once you are officially licensed, you are able to work as a hairdresser.

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About the Author

Kallie Johnson began her writing career in 2009, contributing to various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She enjoys writing home and garden topics and considers herself an expert on do-it-yourself home improvement topics.