Otago Polytechnic

New Zealand Certificate in Hairdressing (Salon Support) (Level 3)


Dunedin - at Otago Polytechnic's hairdressing training salon (Corner of St Andrew Street and Great King Street)

One year full-time

Blended - directed, practical training in our salon plus work experience hours and student-managed learning

until start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    18 February 2019
    14 May 2019 - 1 June 2019
Hairdressing is exciting, creative and ever-changing; a career that allows you to express yourself!

Hairdressing skills are highly transferable enabling you to access a variety of employment opportunities around the world.

Our passionate tutors have a rapport with the industry and this connection and involvement with local businesses has resulted in students gaining employment and apprenticeships.

Our training salon is set up to represent a real world working salon. This will enable you to gain hands-on experience with clients and to gain skills and knowledge in a supportive and realistic environment.

We have regular visits from industry professionals ensuring you are up-to-date with current information about hairdressing technologies, trends and products. These visits also give an insight into the qualities and skills that potential employers are seeking.

This Certificate aligns with the NZQA framework and is equivalent to the first year of a hairdressing apprenticeship. After successfully completing this Certificate, you can continue with your second year of training by completing our New Zealand Certificate in Hairdressing (Emerging Stylist) (Level 4)

Youth Guarantee Scheme: If you are a 16-19 year old and feel that school didn’t work out for you, you may be able to study this programme via our Youth Guarantee Scheme and pay no fees. This also applies if you are going to be 15 years old at the time that this programme starts and you have an early exemption from school. Please note that there are limited Youth Guarantee places available for this programme and therefore funding cannot be guaranteed. See below for more information. 

What will this programme cover?
  • Introduction to:
    • salon operations 
    • salon knowledge and skills 
    • hair and scalp treatments 
    • basic styling 
  • Salon systems and processes 
  • Professional salon support practice 
  • Basic hair cutting and colouring skills 
  • Wet to dry styling. 
Entry requirements

Applicants under 20 years

  • At least 8 NCEA Level 1 credits showing basic literacy OR equivalent. 

Applicants 20 years or older

  • No formal qualification needed.  

All students (international and domestic) for whom English is not a first language:

  • must demonstrate English Language skills with an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.0, with no band score lower than 5.0 OR
  • must provide acceptable alternative evidence of English language proficiency depending on the visa decline rate of the country you are from. See here for acceptable evidence and visa decline rates by country.

Please note: All scores must be achieved in a single test completed in the preceding two years. You cannot combine scores from multiple tests. If you have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance you are not required to provide evidence of English Language skills. 

Special entry 

  • In exceptional circumstances, an applicant who does not meet the full entry requirements may be granted admission to the programme on the approval of the Academic Committee if the Committee is confident of the applicant's ability to successfully undertake the programme with a reasonable likelihood of success. 

Other requirements 

  • Likelihood of success on the programme demonstrated through interview 
  • Physical fitness to withstand the demands of the hairdressing industry. 

Please note: this programme is subject to minimum numbers.

Selection criteria

All applicants are interviewed by the Programme Coordinator or delegate. Interviews are to provide information and guidance about the programme, ensuring that applicants are aware of the expectations and costs of study.

All applicants who fulfil the entry requirements will be accepted onto the programme until maximum student numbers are reached.

In cases where there are more successful applicants than places on the programme, applicants with the following attributes will be given preference:

  • a genuine interest in the hairdressing industry
  • enthusiasm in their interpersonal communication
  • a commitment to their field of endeavour
  • personal appearance that meet the requirements of industry
  • an openness to different ideas, approaches, lifestyle and cultures.
Pathways to this programme
Further study options 
Your workload
  • Directed teaching hours in our training salon = 20 per week (Tuesday and Wednesday: 9.00am - 4.00pm; Thursday and Friday: 9.00am - 1.00pm) 
  • Student-managed learning hours = 13.5 per week 
  • Industry hours (compulsory) = 50 across the whole year.
Additional costs 
  • Stationary items: 
    • USB stick 
    • Diary 
    • Folder, dividers, refill pad (or equivalent)
    • Notebook 
    • Pencils, pens, rubber, pencil sharpener 
    • Coloured pencils/felts 
    • Highlighters 
    • Glue stick
    • Scissors 
    • Pencil case 
    • Extra printing money. 

It is preferred that clothing and footwear is similar to what should be worn in the hairdressing industry and therefore could become an additional cost. 

On occasion, we sometimes do themed photo shoots and you may be asked to provide a costume. However, these can easily be sought from a dollar store or OP shop. 

Please note: We supply all hairdressing equipment and tools to support your practical training. You will also receive a hairdressing kit inclusive of your fees for your student-managed learning. 

Youth Guarantee Scheme information

To be eligible for Youth Guarantee funding, you must:

  • Be a domestic student between 16-19 years old
  • OR be 15 years of age at the time when you commence the programme AND have an early leaving exemption from your school
  • Not already hold a Level 3 qualification in any subject 
  • Have been thinking about leaving school and getting a job OR prefer to be working towards a career rather than staying at school OR have left school and are not sure how to enter higher education or employment
  • Want to learn practical skills
  • Be more motivated in a non-school setting and be prepared to enrol in a full-time programme.

Fees and allowances

The Youth Guarantee Scheme will cover tuition fees, material and equipment costs of your programme of study. 18-19 year olds enrolled in fees-free Youth Guarantee qualifications will now be able to access the course-related costs part of the student loan and student allowances if they meet the eligibility criteria. Those under 18 years old will not be able to access any part of the student loans. Funding for travel is available, conditions apply. Please visit the Studylink website for full details. We strongly recommend that you read this carefully prior to applying for this programme.  

The process

  • There is not a separate Youth Guarantee application form. Please apply for this programme by using our standard Otago Polytechnic application form. To apply online, or to download a paper version, click the apply button at the top right hand corner of this page.
  • If you meet the criteria for Youth Guarantee funding you will be offered the funding if it is available. We will ask you to let us know within two weeks if you do not wish to take up the funding.  
  • If there is no Youth Guarantee funding available, we will send you a letter advising you of this. Along with this letter, you will receive an invoice, terms and conditions, a Studylink brochure and an equipment list advising what you will need to purchase before starting your programme. 
Student loans and allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

Links to useful websites


International students for whom English is not a first language, who come from countries with a visa decline rate of more than 20%

Domestic students for whom English is not a first language and international students from countries with a visa decline rate of less than 20%

View visa decline rates by country here.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

Apply Now