Are you interested in helping people look and feel their best? Hairdressing may be the career for you! 

As a hairdresser you will: 

  • Talk with clients about what hairstyle they want 
  • Cut, colour, and style hair 
  • Sell hair care products 

At Otago Polytechnic, you can enrol in a one-year course, beginning in February or July. The hairdressing course takes place in a learning environment which represents a real-life hairdressing salon.  

Throughout the course, you will gain all the skills and experience required to becoming a qualified hairdresser, including: 

  • Basic hair styles 
  • The skills to cut and colour hair 
  • Hair and scalp treatments 
  • How hair salons work 
  • Learning about product information and how they work 
  • Information on skin conditions and anatomy of the head 


This course runs from Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm. Tuesday – Thursday you will be in the Otago Polytechnic training salon practicing your skills on clients.  

You will do 20 hours of directed class time, either in the salon or in a classroom per week. You will also be expected to complete around 15 hours per week of study outside of class time.  

Throughout the hairdressing course you will complete 50 hours of work placement in a hair salon. You can find your placement yourself, or the hairdressing school can assist you in finding it.  

Assessment Types: 

All assessments have a practical and theory part. The practical part will allow you to showcase the hairdressing skills you have learnt, and the theory part will show your knowledge of the skills.  

There are also some open book tests, meaning you can have notes beside you when you are taking the test.  

Extra information  

In New Zealand, people often enjoy having conversations with their hairdresser while they are having their hair cut. While you do not have to have perfect English to become a qualified hairdresser, it is important you can confidently hold a conversation in English so that you can effectively communicate with range of clients. However, don’t let your level of English get in the way of you becoming a hairdresser. Try practicing your English communication skills in whatever way you can. Watch movies in English, use English with your friends or challenge yourself by having a conversation with the checkout operator at the supermarket. Be confident and give it a go.   

English language requirements 

  • IELTS 5.0 for Level 3 Certificate 
  • NZCEL Level 3 Applied (Academic) for Level 3 Certificate