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How long to train for?

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cph21

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I'm hoping to get some guidance from all you experienced hair stylists on here!

Basically, I've spent the last 10+ years working as a hair & makeup artist in the fashion industry in London, where I'm from. I've since relocated to a EU country where the industry for this is tiny so I've decided to retrain as a hairdresser. While I have experience working with loads of different hair types already, of course it's only been basic styling so no experience with actual cutting/colouring, etc. I recognise I am starting from scratch.

The top hairdressing school here (a Sassoon academy) has a 6 month intensive and a 12 month regular course - both offering the same curriculum (cutting, colouring, both men & women's styling, etc). The only difference being of course that you get that extra time gaining experience and guidance on the 12 month course.

I'm wondering if a 6 month course is enough for me to learn the basics and get out there working on slowly building up my mobile hairdressing business and over time improve my skills? Or is it foolish to consider anything less than a 12 month training? I really have no idea what is reasonable because everybody seems to get into this industry in different ways, i.e. apprenticeships, salons they're already working at paying for their training, and so on. I have no idea about the amount of time it would take to learn everything to a workable degree - not to be the absolute best (that'll take decades of experience, I know) but to be able to have the skills to actually get out there and start working.

I'm entering this later in life and with a young baby and house to provide for, the sooner I can start working, the better. But I also want to be realistic!

Thanks so much in advance for reading all this and for any insight you can provide. How long did you all spend on training? At what point did you feel confident working with clients without direct guidance?
 

Haircutz

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Sassoon training is probably the best out there, so that’s a good start.

However, it’s impossible to predict how long it will take you to be competent enough to work as a mobile hairdresser out on your own. Learning the theory of cutting and colouring will probably take you 6 months but it’s hands on practical experience that gives you the knowledge to deal competently with whatever is asked of you, that is the unknown quantity here. As you have experience of dressing hair, you may find that cutting comes fairly naturally to you, or you may not.

In your shoes, I’d be looking at 12 months minimum to get you to a decent standard as Sassoon training is generally much more intense than ordinary college training. In comparison, if you were following an ordinary NVQ college training programme, I’d be suggesting a minimum of 3 years to get to a basic level of competency.

Hope this helps?
 

Hi v

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I would definitely be looking at the 12 month and probably more after that. Its a marathon than a race. I saw others trying to run before they could walk which resulted in their confidence taking a knock and eventually they came to hate it.
You need to make mistakes in order to learn from them and that is a massive thing to understand at first. It's normally where those who fly too fast and expect perfection fall down and then they take that stick and beat themselves with it.
Along with studying set yourself a goal and try a new cut each week on your tuition head and perfect it.
Look at pictures and guess the type of cuts, colours used.
Be familiar with the chemicals your using. Know the risks.
Get a placement somewhere. Even a few hours a week makes a difference, if you don't like the place go somewhere else. You want to be somewhere were you can ask things and bounce ideas off the stylist's. Be prepared to do the rubbish stuff but make sure that your getting a lesson of some sort from it. If you're not learning; move on.
Be kind to yourself you've given yourself an amazing gift of opportunity by retraining. Many people dream about it. Few actually do it. Well done.
 

cph21

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Thank you both so much for taking the time to write such long, thoughtful responses. I can't express how helpful they both were!

I was feeling so lost this morning but I'm happy to hear I'm on the right track with the Sassoon training. I think I'm definitely leaning towards the 12 months course now after hearing your responses. As you say, I want to be able to get to a good enough level where I can confidently handle whatever clients ask of me.

Wow I keep rereading what you wrote, it's full of so much helpful, actionable advice - thank you again! :)
 

fab fingers

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You've had 2 comprehensive replies, but I'd just add that the more practice you can get in, while training, the better. It may be difficult at the mo, with learning sometimes being forced to do part online, so as soon as you are able to rope in friends and family, to allow you to practice, the better! Start warning them now, that you'll need their heads! Even just to blow dry....it's get your technique and timing nailed with lots of practice. Exciting times! Lots of luck. X
 

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