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Understanding Options For Your Hairstyling License

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Cosmetology Choices: Understanding Options For Your Hairstyling License

Looking for the perfect career? If you:
  • Are fueled by creativity
  • Love the idea of socializing at work
  • Want to help people feel better about themselves
  • Like the idea of flexible hours and fun working environments
the Hairstylist occupation could be the right path for you! The Alberta Learning Information System has a great breakdown of this exciting career.

Before you jump right in, you have two primary options to consider. In Alberta, Hairdressing is considered a Red Seal Journeyman Trade. This means higher standards in Alberta for Hairstylists. Certification is based on education and hours worked in the salon.

Option One: The Apprenticeship Program

The Apprenticeship path will take you two years to complete.

This includes a minimum of 1400 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.

Steps to obtaining your apprenticeship

1. Secure a job in a salon. 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.

2. After securing employment, you may apply to be a Registered Apprentice in Alberta. Once you have completed your application and pay the $35 registration fee, you may be issued an Apprenticeship Card and Blue Book (this is the record log in which your worked hours are tracked). As an Apprentice Hairstylist, you are able to buy product (no chemicals!) from salon distribution centers, and you are legally able to handle the tools of the trade.

3. Your on-the-job hours are divided into two twelve-month periods. During each period, you are expected to complete 1400 hours (this is 40 weeks based on 35 hours a week).

4. Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and is currently offered at DelMar College in Calgary and MC College in Edmonton.
  • 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. 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.

Don’t forget about grants and loans available!

  • Alberta Student Aid provides loans and grants to apprentices registered in the Alberta apprenticeship program with Apprenticeship and Industry Training who are attending an approved technical training program as a full-time student.
  • 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.
We recommend you review the Hairstylist Apprenticeship and Industry Training Outline and the Hairstylist Exam Outline and the newest updated information for the Apprenticeship Program before you begin your journey.

Option Two: Full Time Cosmetology Program

Although it is not necessary to attend a full-time program to enter the beauty industry, many cosmetology programs are available for you to enroll in in Alberta before you get a job in a salon. The advantage of this is that you have a wide selection of schools to choose from to ensure you receive the education you require. Full time programs are beneficial to those who feel they need to be trained before they enter the industry.

Career training facilities, like full-time cosmetology schools, are independent, private institutions that are regulated by the Private Vocational Training Act. The cost of a full-time cosmetology program in Alberta ranges from $11,000 to $16,000, and generally includes a starter toolkit. These programs can take anywhere from 9 months to 1 year to complete, depending on the facility’s required hours – this is, on average, 1400 hours. The Alberta Apprenticeship Board, however, only requires 1,050 hours from an approved institution.

An advantage of some cosmetology programs is the length of time spent in a learning environment as opposed to a working environment. Some participants find this beneficial as they feel they may need more time learning to feel comfortable before they start taking clients. The facility may also teach advanced techniques, outside of what the Apprenticeship Program deems necessary for licensing. Alberta Advanced Education has a great page on what to know before enrolling in a Private Vocational Training School.

The Approved Technical Training Schools in Edmonton are:
MC College
CLI College
Est-Elle Academy of Hair Design
Eveline Charles Academy

Barbering is not a separate license in Alberta.

It is very important to know that Barbering is not a separate license in Alberta. Although there are training facilities specifically for barbering, you should be aware that a full Hairstylist Apprenticeship (including technical training) needs to be completed for licensing.

There has been an important change to note regarding technical trade schools. Previously, on-the-job training hours were credited for completing a full-time hairstyling program at an approved school.

As of September 1st 2018, on-the-job work experience credit will only be given on a case-by-case basis. This means that you are no longer granted 1400 hours from your training provider that can be used to lessen your time as an apprentice. Once technical schooling has completed, you still must register as an apprentice and complete 2800 on-the-job hours. READ MORE.

Knowing your options will help you make an informed decision regarding your education. For more information on Hairstyling careers contact (780) 604 2772 #103.

EXECUTIVE SPA GROUP
Career and Employment Centre
Alberta Beauty Industry

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Executive Spa Group

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