VIU hairstylist students cut mannequins hair

Frequently Asked Questions

Other than tuition costs, what other costs are there?

Textbook cost is approximately $380.00, a professional hairstylist supply kit which includes scissors, blow dryer, mannequins, etc. approximately $1500.00, and a uniform top or apron approximately $120.00.

When I have completed the VIU Foundation Program will I have a license to work as a Hairdresser anywhere in Canada?

No, In 2003 Hairdressing was deregulated which means that there are no “Licenses” in Hairdressing.  Hairdressers are certified and the highest level of certification which is recognized nationally is Red Seal Certification.  After a student successfully completes the Hairdressing Foundation Program they will receive VIU Certification and be credited 1290 hours towards their Red Seal Certification. To review the pathway to achieve your Red Seal Certification, which is recognized nationally please visit the ITA Hairstylist Page at:

What are the starting wages a graduate could expect?

The earning potential for hairdressers varies a great deal.  Commonly, new stylists starting out in a salon are paid an hourly wage between $18-$20 per hour until a clientele has been established. 

On average, what percentage of the graduates get jobs?

85% of our graduates get jobs within the first few months.


What is the average class size?

18 students.

What days of the week and what hours do we attend school?

Days and hours may vary slightly per campus but generally, your schedule will be Monday thru Thursday 9-4:15 or Tuesday thru Friday 9-4:15. 

How do we learn hairdressing skills and theory?

All phases in the program consist of the development of theoretical and practical knowledge and skills.  These are instructed using a combination of textbook resources, online and face-to-face instruction, learning activities, and projects.  Practical skills are performed first on mannequins and classmates before transitioning into live clients in the busy teaching salon. 

How much homework should I expect?

For the first four months - 4 to 6 hours per week. During the second four months - 3 to 5 hours per week. The last four months - 2 hours per week.

Can I access this program on a part-time basis?

We do not have a part-time option at this time.

Are practical or work experience a part of the program?

Yes, students are required to complete in salon practicum hours.  

When does the program start, and when can I apply?

Applications are accepted at any time.

Nanaimo:  Intake in September and February

Cowichan:  Intake in September

Saanich:  Intake in January or Early February

What kind of clothes do students wear?

Each campus will have slightly different dress codes that are shared with the students prior to starting class.  Students should dress professionally, with comfortable footwear, and wear a uniform smock or apron.

What is the average age of students?

The average age is 22. We have students who come right out of high school, and students who are coming back to train for a new career.

Are there extracurricular learning activities?

Yes, some of our students volunteer to do hairdressing for theatre groups, fashion shows, and also work with schools educating students on proper hair care.

Do students compete in competitions?

Yes, students are provided the opportunity to compete in the Skills Canada Competition which runs in the spring of each year. 

I have been out of school for some time. Would this program be appropriate for me?

The program welcomes students of all ages. Time away from the learning environment will not hold you back.

Is there on-site daycare, or is there daycare nearby?

Nanaimo Campus:  There is an excellent daycare center located right on campus, but applications must be made early; Phone: 250-753-6931 /Website:

Is there a student residence on campus?

Yes at the Nanaimo Campus, for further information call: Phone:  (250) 740-6640 Toll-Free:  1-844-740-6640 Website:

Is there a reading break during the year, or any other holidays?

Yes, Nanaimo and Cowichan campuses have a winter break in December and all campuses will have statutory holidays off throughout the year. 

Nanaimo Campus: Each intake will have a 1-week reading break.

Cowichan Campus: 1 Week in March for Spring Break and 1 week Reading break in May

Saanich Campus:  2 Weeks in March for Spring Break.  Summer Break from July returning for September. 

How do I apply for this program?

You may apply directly to VIU at or by using a centralized registration system:  Choose Vancouver Island – Foundation Program and choose the location you would like to apply for.  

What happens after I apply?

The VIU Registration Centre will send you a letter confirming that they have received your application and request any further documentation, if required.

Please note:  Due to our Saanich program being located in the same facility as a daycare, students who are offered admission into the Saanich Program will be required to consent to a special Criminal Record Check. (Instructions will be supplied separately)

Is there anything beyond the course prerequisites that would help me to get into the program?

Volunteer work, work experience or experience in a hairdressing salon would be helpful, as well as give you a better idea of what hairdressing entails.

Does this program qualify for student loan funding?

Yes. You can apply for the government student loan and grant program. You may also qualify for institutional scholarships and bursaries. Also, you can contact Human Resources Development Canada and the Employment Centre office regarding sponsorship. Please visit the Financial Aid & Awards office online at services online at:, in person at the Nanaimo campus Building 200, or call 250-740-6423.

Will I be eligible to write the ITA Standard Level exam at the end of this program?

Yes, after you have successfully completed the VIU Hairstylist program with all courses achieving a minimum passing grade of 70%, you will be eligible to write the ITA Standard Level exam.

Fanny Wong, Stylist

“Vancouver Island University is recognized by the high reputation it attains in many programs, especially Hairdressing. The main reason why I chose to attend [VIU] is because of the instructors in charge of this program. Their skill and passion for this industry is why this program is so successful.”

Read more about Fanny's experience