Otago Polytechnic

Beauty and hairdressing are careers that offer endless opportunities and can take you around the world!

Our hands-on and highly regarded programmes will give you the practical and theoretical skills needed to pursue a career in these industries. You will be taught in our modern salons and clinics and gain valuable industry knowledge by operating clinic and salon days with real clients. Enjoy the chance to make industry contacts and create opportunities that can lead to employment or apprenticeships through local competitions and expos. Our qualified and experienced tutors are industry professionals who will provide you with industry-relevant skills as well as individual attention and support for your learning so you’ll get the most out of your study.


Beauty therapy roles are varied, creative and in demand. Employers are seeking trained therapists with the ability to walk into a new job and to work with clients straight away. Our top quality facilities and programmes are recognised as some of the best in the industry. International Therapy Examination Council (ITEC) qualifications are optional in our Level 4 Certificate and Level 5 Diploma and if you choose to complete the exam, your qualifications will be recognised by employers and clients internationally.

During the New Zealand Certificate in Beauty Therapy (Level 4), you will have the chance to work with real clients, manage bookings and get direct feedback. At the end of this programme, you will meet the requirements to become a Registered New Zealand Beauty Therapist.

The Diploma in Beauty Therapies and Epilation (Level 5) will then enable you to become a leader in beauty therapy. Graduates can seek employment in senior roles with greater responsibilities or even think about managing or owning their own beauty clinic. Alternatively, you could pathway into our massage programmes to expand your skillset.

Salaries for beauty therapists vary depending on what type of work you do and the hours that you work. Click here for more information and the role of a beauty therapist.

Don't have the entry requirements for the New Zealand Certificate in Beauty Therapy (Level 4)?

No problem! Complete our bridging certificate and gain the academic entry requirements needed for entry!


The hairdressing industry is exciting and ever-changing. Hairdressing skills are highly transferable which gives you access to lots of employment opportunities.

Our hairdressing programmes have strong alignment and links with the industry. The connections that our tutors have with local businesses and their involvement in the industry results in high rates of our graduates gaining successful apprenticeships and these ties with industry also ensure that you are given current information about technologies and trends in hairdressing.

The New Zealand Certificate in Hairdressing (Salon Support) (Level 3) is the equivalent to the first year of a hairdressing apprenticeship. Upon completion of this qualification, you may choose to progress into our New Zealand Certificate in Hairdressing (Emerging Stylist) (Level 4) which is equivalent to your second year of training. This programme will enable you to build your portfolio so that you have the skills needed to enter directly into the third year of your compulsory apprenticeship training in industry.  

By studying in our on-site hair salon and working with real clients, you will gain the up-to-date skills that are in demand in the commercial salon environment.

Salaries for hairdressers vary and depend on how experienced you are and how many clients you have. Apprenticeships can expect to start on the minimum training wage. Hairdressers who are qualified and have built up a good client base can earn more than $50,000 a year. Self-employed people may earn more depending on the success of their business. 

Need help?

If you’re having trouble making a decision or just need to talk to someone about your options, our Career Services team can help.