Can you teach yourself to be a Hairstylist?

can you teach yourself to be a hairstylist

Technically you can teach yourself hairstyling. You can teach yourself to do just about anything these days! You may even be able to practice your self-taught skills on your family and friends. But as for teaching yourself to work as a hairstylist…well, that would be a no-no in Alberta, Canada.


However, if hair is your passion and you don’t mind going the extra mile, you may want to learn more about apprenticeship. The apprenticeship route to becoming a licensed hairstylist works for motivated people.

The Apprenticeship path will take you two years to complete. This includes a minimum of 1450 hours of on-the-job training and 10 weeks of technical training each year (20 weeks total). The benefit of this route is the cost effectiveness and the real life, hands on training.


1. Secure a job in a salon.

alberta beauty jobs

This could be getting hired as a salon technician, receptionist, or retail specialist. Your supervisor should be a Journeyman Hairstylist to train you and confirm your hours worked. You should mention your long term goals during your job interview to ensure you and your hiring manager are on the same page regarding your apprenticeship.

Keep in mind during your apprenticeship that your employer is incurring a timely and financial cost to train you. We recommend making yourself indispensable. For example, take on responsibilities abdicated by others. Consider yourself a student of every aspect of working in a salon. Even the menial labour that nobody else wants to do will prepare you for ultimate success.

2. Apply to be a Registered Apprentice

After securing employment, you may apply to be a Registered Apprentice in Alberta. Once you have completed your application and pay the registration fee, you may be issued an Apprenticeship Card and Blue Book (this is the official record log in which your worked hours are tracked).

As an Apprentice Hairstylist, you are able to buy product (no chemicals!) from salon distribution centres, and you are legally able to handle the tools of the trade.

3. On-the-job hours

Your on-the-job hours are divided into two twelve-month periods. During each period, you are expected to complete 1450 hours (this is 40 weeks based on 35 hours a week).

4. Technical training

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Your technical training is divided into Period One and Period Two. Both are 10 weeks in length (700 hours total). You may be eligible for financial benefits while in technical training. The average cost of tuition for both periods generally doesn’t exceed $2500. Tool kits would be available for learning purposes only, and it would be your responsibility to invest in your kit for your work experience.

5. Testing

Once your on-the-job training, technical training, and corresponding examinations (theory and technical exams for Period One and Two) are successfully completed, you are eligible to take the theory and technical exam for your Interprovincial Red Seal.


  • The Canada Apprentice Loan is an initiative of the Government of Canada to help complete your apprenticeship in a designated Red Seal trade. You can apply for up to $4,000 in interest-free loans per period of technical training. The money would be available to help with tuition, tools, equipment and living expenses, to cover forgone wages and to help support your family.
  • The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG) is a taxable cash grant of $1,000 per year, to a maximum of $2,000. This Grant helps registered apprentices get started in the designated Red Seal trades.
  • The Apprenticeship Completion Grant (ACG) is a taxable cash grant of $2,000. This Grant helps registered apprentices who have completed their training to become certified journeypersons in the designated Red Seal trades.
  • Canada Revenue offers a tax benefit for Tradespersons’ Tools Deduction . Apprentices may be able to deduct the cost of eligible tools bought to earn employment income as a skilled tradesperson.


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accredited beauty programs,alberta,canada,licensed beauty programs

Licensed vs. Accredited Beauty Training Programs

licensed vs accredited beauty training programs alberta canada

What is the difference between licensed and accredited beauty training?

Licensed beauty trainers have been vetted by the appropriate governmental bodies. Licensed programs are monitored to ensure they provide students with quality training that meets industry standards. Licensing also ensures student rights and money are protected because they must follow a set of standards. Licensing is synonymous with accreditation in the sense that they are vetted by the appropriate governmental bodies.

On the other hand, designated beauty programs have been licensed to teach, plus more. They have been deemed eligible to participate in government student loan funding. Also, accredited beauty programs can accept international students.

Are all beauty industry programs accredited and/or licensed in Alberta, Canada?

When it comes to esthetics and other specializations that would fall under esthetics, for example, lash extensions, the sad truth is most are not. Esthetics is not regulated in Alberta, Canada. As a result, many estheticians or other beauty experts unknowingly share their knowledge without having the proper license to teach.

Cosmetology is licensed however. This results in enough options of licensed and accredited training providers to choose from.

What about unlicensed beauty courses or programs?

Beauty programs and courses by unlicensed beauty trainers are not necessarily worse in quality. In fact, licensing bodies are very clear that licensing is not an endorsement of any particular trainer or program. However, it is also very clear that licensed beauty programs are vetted to an extreme by their licensing bodies.

There is a positive aspect to unlicensed trainers: They keep the costs of training down. Make sure you do the vetting if you are going to receive training from an unlicensed beauty trainer. Like we stated above, ‘unlicensed’ is not synonymous with ‘worse’.

Benefits of Licensed and Accredited Beauty Training

Licensing provides many advantages for training providers, for the students who graduate from your courses and programs, and industries themselves.

It’s pretty clear how accreditation benefits students; They attend a school that offers payment options.  As for the beauty industry, employers benefit when they hire graduates from licensed schools that they can trust. When schools produce well-trained students, the quality level in the industry overall rises.

Consumer protection

Students can take their complaints to the governing body and find a resolution. Unlike attending a course that is not licensed, the most the student can do is leave a negative review on yelp!

An added incentive for students related to consumer protection is that licensed trainers often help them find jobs as part of the licensing agreement. Last year, 79% of licensed trainers helped graduates find jobs as part of their training.


Beauty Industry Resources

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How do I become an accredited beauty trainer?

accredited beauty trainer

Occupations and Regulations by Province

The path you need to take to become an accredited beauty trainer in Canada depends on your province of residence and your beauty occupation. Canadian provinces differ in their regulation of certain occupations in the beauty industry.

Start by informing yourself of the regulations (if any) mandated by the designated regulatory bodies of your chosen occupation.

For example, trade certification for hairstylists is compulsory in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, and available, but voluntary, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, British Columbia, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut (Work BC, 2024).

On the other hand, only Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick regulate esthetics (Government of Canada, Job Bank, Labour Market Information, 2024).

Accreditation by province

In addition, Canadian provinces differ in their requirements when it comes to granting accreditation status to beauty training providers.

For example, Alberta has no shortage of beauty trainers in occupations within esthetics. Examples include nail instructors, PMU instructors, lash extension instructors, etc. This may be due to the fact that esthetics is not regulated in Alberta. However, in a sea of instructors few of them are accredited.

What does accreditation mean?

Accreditation provides you with the ability to offer your students government student loans. In addition, it gives you the ability as a trainer to accept international students. Providing students with government loan options opens up your training possibilities.

Beyond offering student loans, it means that your curriculum has been reviewed by industry peers and has received a “stamp of approval” that potential students can trust. It also means that your students have dispute resolution opportunities with your accreditation body. This is an added-bonus to students.

To become an accredited beauty trainer in your province in Canada, contact your provincial government and associated regulatory bodies for your occupation to know the specific requirements. For beauty trainers in Alberta, Canada, we offer a short online course outlining the requirements and exemptions to accreditation.


Work BC 2024, accessed 25 April 2024, <,the%20Northwest%20Territories%20and%20Nunavut>.

Canada Job Bank, 2024, accessed 25 April 2024, <;jsessionid=EADE65F4F88B3AF81DB8AA6A54DD6092.jobsearch76>.

Beauty Industry Resource Centre
(780) 604-2772

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alberta,beauty educator,beauty industry jobs,salon owner,spa owner

Career and Employment Beauty Industry Resources

Who are we?

We are Career and Employment Consultants who specialize in the Beauty and Personal Care Services industry in Alberta, Canada. Our mission is to cultivate the Personal Care Services industry and increase the standard in employment practices and occupational health and safety.

We help people overcome barriers to employment and develop skills, knowledge, and work experience needed to participate in the labour market either directly through employment or self-employment

Our free online resources can help your answer questions regarding training & education, employment, self employment, and hiring staff.

Years of experience

Our Career and Employment Consultants have teamed up with Beauty Service Professionals to truly understand the needs of the beauty industry in Alberta. As a result, we have created a repertoire of online service to help Albertans find beauty industry resources.

Combined, we have 40+ years of experience to help you address many beauty industry career and employment matters.

Resources to overcome barriers

We have the expertise to work with people from diverse backgrounds. Employment barriers come in all shapes and sizes, therefore, we have networks of people who specialize in all types of barriers.

The main goal of Executive Spa Group is to create an environment where Albertans can pursue their passion in light of employability issues that could potentially derail them from achieving their goals.

Service Providers

Online resources for Service Providers include our online job bank. Beauty job seekers can use our job bank to help them find employment opportunities in Alberta, Canada. It is updated multiple times per week to help you connect with employers in a timely fashion. Plus, find resume and cover letter templates online to help advance your job search.

On the other hand, if you are not a job seeker, and instead are a “course-seeker”, we have resources for that as well! We have compiled a list of beauty industry training providers in Alberta (and Canada wide for online learning) called 411 Training Directory.

In addition, our online blog is full of articles to answer questions regarding employment disputes, starting a beauty business, becoming a beauty educator, plus more!


Small business owners make up a large piece of the beauty industry ‘pie’ in Alberta, Canada. Many people find it an attractive option when it comes to their livelihoods. It is common to see people grow a successful beauty business from a single, short technical training course.

Online beauty industry resources for entrepreneurs can be found in our blog articles. These include articles on how to plan and execute your business idea, plus information on licenses and permits required for your new beauty business.


For some people, the next step after opening their own salon or spa is hiring staff. While this is a great achievement that deserves recognition, it does come with unenviable challenges. Picking the right people for your team and keeping them happy requires mental effort and a bit of luck!

Online resources for employers include our beauty job bank to help you find the ideal candidate. Because we specialize in beauty jobs, our job bank is attentive to the specific needs of Alberta’s beauty industry employers.

In addition, our online articles provide guidance on accessing any available grants to train new employees. On that note, here’s hoping you are able to create a great team! However, we also share resources with employers for when the work environment isn’t doing very well.

Beauty Educators

Some people are teachers at heart. If training others is your passion, our online resources include our free online 411 Training Directory to help you fill your classes. This directory is available to all Albertans searching for beauty courses in hair, esthetics, and massage therapy. Contact us by email to add your course to our directory.

Also, our online Beauty Educator courses help you prepare a curriculum that meets industry standards plus ensure that you meet any licensing requirements and permits.

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beauty educator,opening a beauty school in canada

How do you start a beauty school in Alberta, Canada?

Service Providers who wish to start a beauty school or teach esthetics, hairstyling, or massage therapy in Alberta have different ways of becoming a beauty educator. It comes down to what one’s teaching goals are. While your field of expertise plays a large role in your career path, there are certain steps that you will need to take in order to start offering beauty training courses.

Step 1- Creating a business plan

Even though educating and empowering others is at the core of your business idea, it’s nevertheless a business and must be treated as such from the start. Make sure to develop the not-so-sexy parts of your business plan as well, such as industry research.

Step 2- Creating a syllabus

Once you have developed your business plan, you can focus on creating your syllabus. Your syllabus is the outlined plan of all the topics you will include in your course/program. If you are creating a syllabus for technical skills that falls under the supervision of a governing body, such as hairstyling, you will have to meet their specific requirements in your program.

However, not all beauty industry occupations have a governing body in Alberta, Canada. When this is the case, it is up to the beauty educator to ensure they are including all necessary topics in their training courses to maintain industry standards, or perhaps elevate standards.

Step 3- Filling in the details

Once you have your ‘skeleton’, you can zoom into the nitty gritty of your daily lesson plans. Filling your entire day every day for the length of your course or program is a monumental challenge. Further still is the challenge of keeping them engaged all day long. Plus, to be an excellent beauty educator you must be able to recognize different learning styles in order to adapt your lesson plans to benefit each individual.

Not only do students absorb theory components of a curriculum differently, they have different fine motor capabilities. This makes keeping the flow of the technical component burdensome. However, having the ability to design a practicum curriculum that promotes skill development can help reduce inefficiencies during this high value portion of your training course.

Step 4- Licenses and Permits

For many, figuring out which licenses and permits are needed to start a beauty school or training course in Alberta, Canada can send them into a tizzy! In all fairness, the information is overwhelming and not everyone has to follow the same rules. As a result, service providers who wish to teach esthetics, hairstyling, or massage therapy in Alberta have different paths to follow in reaching their goal of opening their own beauty school.

Follow the recommendations above and you will be closer to starting your own beauty school, or teach esthetics, hairstyling, or massage therapy in Alberta.

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(780) 604-2772
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