A Guide to Becoming a Stylist

The Successful Company

Whether you spent your childhood restyling all the dolls’ hair and makeup you could find, or you’ve become fascinated with different hairstyles and looks as you’ve grown up, becoming a stylist is your first step into what we guarantee will be an exciting, rewarding and dynamic career. Not only will you get to exercise your creativity on a daily basis, but you’ll also enjoy the fulfilling feeling that comes from helping other people feel good about themselves.

Ready to take that step? This simple guide to becoming a stylist should provide all the information you need to get started.

Key Skills

First things first, you need to be sure that a career in beauty or hairdressing is right for you. The very best stylists need to be:

  • Sociable and welcoming – As a professional stylist, you’ll be working with a huge variety of people from all walks of life – both as your colleagues and your clients. If you are sociable, friendly, amenable, patient, a good listener and love meeting new people, you’ll excel in this environment.
  • Creative and adaptable – Hair and beauty is art, demanding high levels of creativity, dexterity and coordination. From creating new styles to working with and adapting to a client’s brief, creativity will be one of your most crucial talents.
  • Organised and independent – Excellent timekeeping and organisation is vital to managing your daily workload and client lists.
  • Hardworking and committed – Starting out in the industry, you’ll need to be willing to work flexible hours and get stuck in to all sorts of jobs that need doing. The most successful stylists don’t rest on their laurels but keep working and creating every day!

Hair Gallery

Key Qualifications

Although there are no required qualifications to begin your career as a stylist, to give yourself the best chance of success, it’s a good idea to get at least a level 2 or 3 NVQ.

The Hairdressing NVQ is split into four levels:

Level 1An Introduction to Hairdressing. While a level 1 NVQ won’t be enough to get you a stylist job, it does equip you with some essential basic skills.

Level 2Hairdressing: Basic Skills. This is the minimum qualification you’ll need to secure a salon role.

Level 3 Technical and Supervisory Skills. This will give you the most well-rounded education and the best shot at landing a position in a salon.

Level 4Management Skills. This is a great qualification to get if you want to manage or open your own salon.

You can complete each level of your NVQ full-time, part-time or while taking part in an apprenticeship scheme like our Academy Education programme.

The Value of Apprenticeships

Most new stylists prefer to take part in an apprenticeship program as it enables them to learn and gain their qualifications whilst working, earning and getting practical on-the-job experience.

For example, our apprenticeship scheme can take you from complete beginner to professional level 2 NVQ-qualified hairdresser in as little as 34 weeks, with a well-balanced blend of study and practical experience. We even offer a special 50% discount on all of our other Academy Education classes for our NVQ level 2 students, so you can continue to learn and increase your experience while you’re with us. 


Apprentice Hairdressing

Career Progression

The best way to gain more responsibility and a higher salary is to keep learning! Taking your NVQ level 3 or 4 will give you a much better chance at securing more senior roles and commanding better pay.

There are also plenty of opportunities for further study if you want to learn a specialty or expand your skillset to make yourself more employable. Alongside our NVQ training, we offer a range of different workshops and courses from colour principles to men’s hairdressing, as well as specialist business courses to help you start out in management or get your new salon off the ground. 

Learn with Academy

Whether you’re just starting out and want to begin your NVQ training or you’re a professional stylist looking to learn new creative or business skills, Academy’s friendly and expert learning environment can help you succeed.

To find out more, take a look at our Academy Education programme or come along to our upcoming Open Evening in Hersham on Thursday May 24th. This will be a great opportunity to meet some of our fantastic apprentices, as well as our creative team who exhibit at shows every couple of months.

We look forward to seeing you!