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Assistant qualifications

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Category: General
Forum Name: Work, Work, Work
Forum Description: Job & Career Related Musings
Printed Date: July 29 2021 at 8:19am

Topic: Assistant qualifications
Posted By: LostForever
Subject: Assistant qualifications
Date Posted: September 03 2005 at 8:22pm
Hi, all. I'm a fifteen-year-old girl and about to enter into my sophomore
year of high school. Next summer, when I am able to work, I will start my
search for jobs...

I color my mom's hair at home on a regular basis and she gets a lot of
compliments. Recently one coworker commented I could get a job as an
apprentice or assistant at a local hair salon.

Could this be possible? If so, what kind of qualifications are needed for a
16 year old to work in a salon? How many years before I could be
certified as a colorist?

Thanks, all!

Posted By: Karen Shelton
Date Posted: September 04 2005 at 9:35am


A hair salon would definitely be a cool place to start if you are interested in the biz.  However, it is unlikely that you could start as an apprentice or assistant without taking any cosmetology classes first.  What might be possible is for you to start as a front desk person helping to check clients out and take phone appointments.  From there you might be able to work your way up to shampoo girl (although in many states that also requires training) and from there if you start taking cosmetology classes, you could help the hairdressers with small things.

I would suggest that you find the largest spa or salon in your area and call the owner.  Tell them that you want a career in the hair trade but are in high school.  Would they have a part time job for you of any kind that would allow you entry into the biz?  If you let the owner know that you would do most any job initially, they would hopefully see your potential and the fact thatyou might grow into a job as a top stylist or colorist with their salon/spa.

In the meantime I would suggest that you check with the local cosmetology schools to see if you can start taking some part time classes towards preparing to take your license. Maybe weekend classes.  Many high school also offer cosmetology classes for their regular students.

Some states do have an "apprentice" provision that allows future cosmetologists to study "hands on" with a seasoned hairdresser in lieu of formal classroom time.  I am not sure if that is the case in your state.  You would need to check with your state board to find that out.  All states do require a license to allow people to work with hair whether cutting and styling or hair coloring.

To become a colorist you would need a license as a hairdresser (again the requirements vary by state) and then training in color.  I would suggest that once you become a cosmetologist you apply to be an apprentice with a well-known colorist who would teach you by letting you work under them.  Famous hair colorist Rita Hazan who does Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Lopez is in New York.  She is always interviewing "apprentices".  If you learned from Rita or some other seasoned colorist, you would be well on your way to a great career.

For right now I would suggest that you find a large & prosperous salon or spa and contact the owner via a letter or ask for an appointment with them to talk in person.  I would not encourage you to tell the front desk that you are looking for a job but ask to speak to the owner. Nor would I encourage you to just make a phone call.  Salons and spas get tons of calls all the time for various reasons.  You would need to do something to get the owner's personal time and attention to make your case. Tell the owner your dream of becoming a hairstylist or colorist and let them know you will do part time work to get your feet wet. 

That might look like answering the phone, sweeping up hair, cleaning, filling up shampoo bottles, making coffee for clients...etc.,  But it would be a great way to check out the hair world from the other side.

Laurent D started out in France at 15 years old sweeping hair off the floor in a local salon part time.  Now he is a world famous celebrity hairdresser in LA and New York.  By 19 he was doing Bridgette Bardot's hair in France.  In his 20s he was doing hair for some of the most famous women in the world. Laurent fell in love with hair in that first part time job.  Now he does Paris Hilton and Terri Hatcher and Sharon name a few of the 100s of celebrity clients he has worked with.  All from sweeping hair off a salon floor as a teen.

So anything is possible if you follow your heart and are willing to work hard.

Good luck to you.

That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger or drives you totally insane. :-)

Posted By: Karen Shelton
Date Posted: September 04 2005 at 9:55am

Hi again,

As an makes it a practice to hire local Dallas high school and college kids that love the hair and beauty biz to work at after school and on weekends.  We look for responsible teens (hard workers that are reliable and responsible) to learn to take and fill orders, work in our photo labs, stock shelves and do web work. 

We had a college girl (who is now a senior) who started working summers (she goes away to school) at when she was a freshman.  The first year she unloaded trucks, emptied trash, swept floors, took phone calls, lugged peanut bags, made boxes, was a gofer and did everything and anything that needed to be done.  The second year she learned to update and edit web pages, shoot and edit product photos, check in new products, deal directly with vendors, and learn retail. This past summer she worked directly for the CFO and learned all the financial aspects of running the company. 

When she graduates in May 2006 it has already been agreed that she will come back permanently to the company and will be put in charge of one of our operations areas that she wants to work in.  She is getting a degree in business.  :-)

It was a very rewarding experience for everyone.  She started at the bottom and has learned the company from all aspects and when she graduates she will have a great job waiting for her.  I certainly look for young ambitious people that are not afraid of hard work and have a dream that they are pursing.

I can't encourage you or others your age enough to follow their dreams.

That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger or drives you totally insane. :-)

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