Frequently Asked Questions

Other than tuition costs, what other costs are there?

Text books cost is approximately $960, and kit supplies supplies cost approximately $1,500: these include government exam fees, license fees, and a kit which contains your blow-dryer, scissors, clippers, etc.

When I have completed the 1,500 hours and passed the VIU Hairdressing Program and the ITA exam, will I have a license to work as a Hairdresser anywhere in Canada?

No, you will receive a BC Trade Qualification Certificate which is only recognized in BC. This is subject to change in the future.

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 $10.25-$12.00 per hour plus commission. 

On average, what percentage of the graduates get jobs?

85% of our graduates get jobs within the first six months. For those who are willing to relocate, job opportunities are even better.

What is the average class size?

16 students.

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

Students attend school Monday to Thursday, however, Friday is considered a study day or used for practicum hours. The class times are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a 45-minute lunch break.

How do we learn hairdressing skills and theory?

The first 8 weeks is spent in the classroom learning practical and theoretical skills. This is done using a combination of textbook work, lectures and demonstrations along with the Pivot Point training system. There are several large projects that are assigned at various points in the training. 

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?


If I have some skills already, can I enter the program at the second level?

The department will provide a prior learning assessment for potential students who have gained skills through the workplace or private learning.

Then, if you qualify, you may join the second level when a space is available.

Are practica or work experience a part of the program?

Yes, students are required to complete 105 hours of in-salon practicum while attending classes.

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

The program starts in February, and September. Applications are accepted any time.

What kind of clothes do students wear?

Students are required to wear black pants or skirts and tops may be black, white or a combination of black and white.  Footwear must be solid black.  At all times students must dress in a professional manner. It may be fashionable or business-like, with their own individuality showing through; however, there are guidelines. Jeans and running shoes are not permitted.

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 go to hair shows and compete in competitions?

Yes, there are four big shows locally each year. Some students attend, and some students compete. A few students have competed provincially, nationally and internationally, and they have placed at the top in these competitions.

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?

An excellent daycare centre is located right on campus, but application must be made early; call 250-753-6931 for information.

Is there a student residence on campus?

Yes, for further information call Western Student Housing Ltd. at 250-754-6338.

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

No, we do not have a reading break. We are closed on Statutory holidays and for one week during the Christmas holidays.

How do I apply for this program?

You can apply at our Nanaimo campus in Building 200, or put your application in at one of our regional campuses (Cowichan, Powell River, Parksville-Qualicum), and it will be forwarded to Nanaimo. You may also apply online.

What happens after I apply?

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

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. Check with the Financial Aid & Awards office, located in Building 200 at the Nanaimo campus, or call 250-740-6423.

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

Yes, after you have completed the 1,500 hours and have achieved a passing grade in our program, you will be eligible to write the ITA exam.