An apprenticeship is the best way to become a qualified hairdresser.

You learn in a real salon, with real people as your models. Plus, you earn as you learn so you’ll avoid racking up a huge student loan.

To complete an apprenticeship you enter into a formal training agreement between you and your employer – a salon that’s qualified to train apprentices. You’ll also attend training at a training provider.

HITO manage this training and your training in the salon, so if you have any problems or questions you can come to us.


Hairdressing (Professional Stylist)


3-4 Years


$30 per week of training



When you finish your apprenticeship, you’ll be fully qualified as a hairdresser.

You can start your apprenticeship with HITO from the beginning, or you can sign up with HITO to complete your Level 4 Professional Stylist qualification after you do a full-time hairdressing course.

At the end of your apprenticeship you’ll have the Hairdressing (Professional Stylist) Level 4 qualification.

You’ll learn all the skills you need to work as a hairdresser, including all the salon and customer service skills necessary to be commercially successful.

To start your journey, you’ll need to find an apprenticeship. Start by taking a look at the ‘Jobs’ page on this website, or take your CV into local salons. If you’ve already found an apprenticeship or are already in a job, congratulations! Download a training agreement and get your employer to sign you up.

Hairdressing graduates also have their qualifications internationally recognised through the ipsn certificate.

“Get an apprenticeship. You learn so much faster and you get to experience the real salon vibe. And don’t give up – search until you find the right salon where you can grow and feel comfortable”.

During your apprenticeship you’ll learn these skills and achieve unit standards and credits along the way.

You’ll learn how to who perform a range of professional and commercial hairdressing services. You’ll learn the skills and knowledge of:

  • Salon skills
  • Customer service
  • Cutting
  • Colouring
  • Chemical services such as perming and straightening
  • Fashion skills
  • Hair-up work
  • Shampooing
  • Blowdrying
  • Setting
  • Health and safety
Unit Skill Level Credit
2755 Undertake a consultation and an in-depth hair and scalp analysis for a chemical service 4 15
2757 Apply hairdressing services under workplace conditions 5 20
2759 Perform hairdressing services in a commercial salon 5 15
2866 Shampoo hair and scalp 3 4
2869 Apply treatments to hair and scalp 2 2
2870 Blow dry hair into elementary styles 3 10
2871 Set short hair for volume 3 10
2873 Demonstrate knowledge of trichology 2 8
2878 Apply knowledge of hair and scalp conditions to analyse and select corrective treatments for the hair and scalp 4 2
2879 Blow wave hair into complex styles 3 10
2880 Set hair for complex styles 3 10
2884 Cut hair into foundation forms with scissors and clippers 3 30
2885 Demonstrate razor techniques 3 10
2889 Bleach and tone hair (plus delivery of 28849) 4 10
2890 Straighten hair permanently using chemical processes (plus delivery of 28839) 4 8
2891 Demonstrate knowledge of hair fashion over time 2 5
2892 Permanently wave hair 3 12
9953 Provide client service and care in a hairdressing or barbering salon environment 2 4
12313 Perform a full-head highlighting service 4 7
15189 Implement a health and safety plan for a workplace 4 4
19791 Select and apply midway hair colour 3 6
19792 Select and apply permanent hair colour 4 10
25076 Pincurl hair 2 3
25078 Fingerwave hair 3 5
25437 Demonstrate and apply knowledge of money matters and personal responsibility in the salon environment 3 5
25789 Apply oxidative colouring products to, and remove them from, hair and scalp 2 5
25790 Select, maintain, and demonstrate safe handling of hairdressing equipment and hand-held tools 3 4
25791 Demonstrate knowledge of the neutralising process and its effect on the hairshaft 2 3
25792 Dress long hair into elementary styles 3 8
25793 Dress long hair into complex styles 3 10
28835 Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamentals of colour for use in hairdressing, and the use of non-oxidative colour 2 2
28836 Complete elementary colour corrections for hair 4 6
28837 Apply underpinning knowledge and skills to cut hair to a guideline 3 10
28838 Apply knowledge of a professional range of hair products to complement salon services 4 4
28839 Apply knowledge of chemical reformation techniques to assist with salon services 4 8
28841 Create a portfolio of fashion work that reflects current hair fashion trends 4 10
28846 Demonstrate knowledge of costs and financial KPIs for a salon 4 5
28847 Identify and evaluate opportunities to maintain currency in the hair fashion industry 4 5
28848 Apply knowledge of common hair and scalp conditions to complete a limited scope consultation 3 4
28849 Demonstrate knowledge of bleach and the bleaching process and the related health and safety risks. 4 2

Already qualified in hair or beauty? Get your qualification recognised as a world-class certificate that can open doors abroad with our International Certificate (ipsn).

ipsn certificates are recognised in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand.

If you’re a hairdressing apprentice who signed on with HITO after 1 Jan 2017, your ipsn certificate will be automatically included in your qualification when you graduate.

If you qualified with HITO before 2017, applying is for your ipsn certificate is still easy. You will need:

  • A copy of your qualifications. These must be verified. Hairdressing applicants must have a copy of the New Zealand Certificate in Hairdressing (Professional Stylist) Level 4 (or equivalent), and Beauty Therapy applicants must hold the National Certificate in Beauty Services (Beautician) Level 4 and the National Certificate in Beauty Services (Body Therapy) Level 5.
  • Verified proof that you have worked for 12 months or more, such as a letter from your employer
  • Verified proof of continued professional development
  • A completed application form
  • To pay an $80.00 application fee

Verified proof means your documents have been verified (signed and stamped) by a Justice of the Peace, a police officer, or a school principal. If you do not have your documents verified we cannot accept them. You can visit a Justice of the Peace at your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

For more information please contact us at If you want to talk to someone about apprenticeships, call one of our friendly regional managers.

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