The Dish

Got License?

Written by:  Rachel Richardson

When a new client calls to make an appointment, we generally hear things like, “I am looking for a senior stylist” or “ How many years experience does that stylist have?” It is actually quite rare that a client will ask anything about certifications or licensing. We wonder why that is….It would seem that our industry is both under scrutinized and misunderstood by many people.

Most of you may not be aware that you can go onto the College of Trades website, ( ) type in your stylists name, and find out if they’re licensed. You can do this for all tradesman in any industry. Clients should never assume a person has a license just because they work in a hair salon. Many people work in our industry without a license. It is the least regulated of all the trades in Canada. This is likely due to many reasons, a few to mention would be:

  • It is believed to be a “creative” occupation. Hence, people don’t correlate formal education with it. Beauty and style are subjective after all, so that can create the false impression that a stylist is “born with it.”

  • It is perceived as a non-threatening, safe activity to participate in. No one gets hurt so it has no assumed danger or liabilities. ( Tell that to the friend of yours who has had their hair chemically compromised or their scalp burned)

  • People don’t need approval from a governing body to have it performed/ approved. (Ever try and get a building permit without verification that the electrical or plumbing tradesman your using is licensed?!!! Its impossible….because it is both illegal and dangerous.)

Yet, hair stylists must adhere to, and go through just as many regulations, education, and apprenticeship hours to qualify to have their licenses. It carries just as much responsibility and weight as any other trade in Canada. Add to this the simple fact it is one of the most intimate and personal of all trades. Hairstyling combines math & sciences with art & creative design. It requires your stylist be informed, creative, technical, and emotionally vested in what you desire of your appearance and your daily care needs.

We encourage all people to take the time to consider if what we’ve said makes sense and resonates with them. Take the opportunity to find out what licensing and/or certification your stylist has. Make sure that the money your investing in yourself every 4-6 weeks is with someone who has the qualifications legally required to work in the field.

Our licenses are our way of showing you we’re working hard to do everything we can to maintain integrity in our industry. With a license, we have no limitations on how far we can go. We can run a successful business, work out of our homes, teach, and travel the world taking courses. The options are endless and that is an amazing feeling. Our licensing tells you we are vested in you too. It tells you we are here for the long haul. We are keeping up with a fast paced industry so we can share those skills with you. We can express our creativity and our passion through you. We are committed to providing you with the best of ourselves.

*Please note, by no means during this blog are we implying that an unlicensed stylist is not capable and/or talented. We just believe our industry is important enough, and they should value their trade enough, that they would want to hold it up high and be proud of it by licensing themselves. The struggle for us to be taken just a seriously as all the other trades is real, and every license earned is a step in the right direction!

On a personal note:

I have dedicated myself to this industry for over 15 years. I am proud to have invested countless hours and dollars into making myself the best tradeswoman I can be. I manage a strong team of stylists whose ethics and teamwork bring an environment to my workplace that I am proud of. They are the best of the best, and the licenses they hang beside their station for all to see tells you, and reminds me, that they are in it for the long haul too.

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