For some aspiring hair stylists out there, an apprenticeship can be an effective way to get additional vocational training while getting paid at the same time. After all, there are advantages to continuing to learn the craft with hands-on experience in the salon alongside a star performer.
So, how exactly do you go about securing an apprenticeship, learning the necessary skills, and getting the required exposure to take the first successful steps toward becoming an accomplished hair stylist? Here are a few key points to keep in mind to help you determine whether an apprenticeship is the right path for you.
If you are considering an apprenticeship, it’s important to do your research and gather some insight on salons that offer a true apprenticeship program. You want to train with a successful, knowledgeable stylist as you assist and learn. Much like cosmetology school, sweeping hair and folding towels is part of the process. However, those duties should not be the bulk of your “training”.
Typically, a new apprentice would assist a master stylist with tasks such as shampooing, preparing color mixtures, learning their techniques, and practicing styling skills on mannequins. It is only when you have gathered experience that you will gradually be expected to assist with clients - blow drying and styling, applying base color, and product recommendations.
Since the salon industry is incredibly customer-centric, you should be prepared to become a social butterfly, willing to go the extra mile to put clients at ease with a warm welcome and light conversation. As you gather experience, you'll continue to learn how to differentiate between the clients that love to chat and those that love to relax. As such, you’re better able to adapt yourself to the unique needs of your clients. Mastering these communication soft skills by working with a pro can go a long way towards your success.
When interviewing for an apprentice opportunity, ask great questions to understand the role and the expectations. Here are a few examples:
-How long does it usually take to complete the apprenticeship program?
-What does a typical day look like?/What’s expected?
-How are apprentices scheduled in the salon?
-Upon completion of the program, what is the next step?
An apprenticeship is not a guarantee of a chair in the salon upon completion. Keep in mind that the process is much like a paid, long-term interview and you’ll want to treat it as such by showing up prepared, eager to learn, and ready to do a stellar job every single time.
-Learn directly from a successful beauty & wellness professional
-Get paid and learn at the same time
-Structured, progressive educational program with a scheduled end date
-New graduates may get used as cheap labor
-Unstructured apprentice program (only assists)
An apprenticeship is often a better choice for new stylists with financial support to subsidize their income during training. Being a great team player with a cooperative mindset is important to success in this role.
The professional beauty industry is a fantastic choice for launching your career. Take some time to explore your options for the apprentice path and other types of postgraduate opportunities to determine the best first job for you and your current life situation.