Hairdressing Training and Education
Starting Out in Hairdressing or Barbering

There are two main routes into a career in hairdressing or barbering:

  • By studying for an NVQ at a college of Further Education
  • By beginning work-based training in a salon. This usually includes day release to a college or in-house training academy.

Whichever route you opt for, the vast majority of those training to work as a hairdresser will study toward a National Vocation Qualification (NVQ).


NVQs are studied for in a framework of four levels:

Level 1: An introduction to hairdressing
Level 2: Basic and essential skills
Level 3: Technical and supervisory skills.
Level 4: Management skills.


On completion of these NVQ levels, hairdressers and barbers can move on to a Higher National Certificate or Diploma (HNC/HND) qualification or a foundation degree and higher degree level.


NVQs are also 'first choice' qualifications for those seeking official recognition on the UK Register for Qualified Hairdressers. In most cases you will need at least a Level 2 qualification to register, while a Level 3 qualification is needed for most State Registered Senior Hairdressers or Barbers.

Who can train as a Hairdresser?

There is now greater opportunity for mature students to enter the hairdressing and an increasing number of adults are finding it possible to secure good training opportunities.

A testament to the quality of training available in this country is that British hairdressing is regarded as the best in the world.

Continued Professional Development (CPD) Training

As hairdressing is self-regulated, continued professional development is not compulsory for state registered hairdressers.

However, hairdressing is a fast-paced, fashion-led industry, where trends and techniques are always developing, therefore we recommend that you frequently refresh your existing craft and learn new skills.

For detailed information about careers in hairdressing and barbering and training opportunities within the industry, visit the HABIA website www.habia.org).