To qualify as a hairdresser, you will need to obtain the NVQ Level 2 in Hairdressing. This course will teach you how to cut and style hair and the usual tasks a hairdresser will find themselves doing.

Recommended Book:

NVQ/SVQ Level 2 Hairdressing Candidate Handbook, 3rd edition

This NVQ Level 2 Hairdressing candidate handbook is extremely good in detailing what is required for the course. It lists the typical tasks within a salon – reception duties, being aware of health and safety, consulting with clients and also includes practical skills such as how to colour hair, cutting hair (men and women), styling and changing hair colour. The book is written by two hairdressers, so you can be assured of first hand experience.

The requirements for this course is the NVQ Level 1 Hairdressing or 2 GCSEs grade D or above. In some cases you may be interviewed.


You will be expected to demonstrate the ability to perform the following tasks:

– Be aware of health and safety within the workplace and your own actions. This includes hazards such as liquids on the floor, cables on the floor and legal knowledge of health and safety.

– Ability to shampoo/condition hair and treat the scalp.

– Cutting hair using basic techniques

– Dry and finish all types of hair

– Style hair

– Ability to dye hair

– Consulting with customers and being able to communicate effectively

NVQ Level 2 HairdressingNVQ providers will expect you to choose additional units, some of which are shown below:

– Reception duties

– Promoting additional services

– Perming hair

– Ability to use hair extensions

– Twist and plait hair


Possible barber units:

– Dealing with men’s facial hair

– Men’s hair colour

– Drying men’s hair


What is involved during the course?

Usually you will be expected to keep records of the work you have undertaken, signed by a witness. An NVQ Assessor is likely to ask questions to check your understanding of tasks. You can also submit evidence of tasks/work you have  undertaken previously.

Organising your portfolio is important (guidance on keeping NVQ portfolios).


This course typically lasts a year and you will need to show you are capable of working within a team.

After an NVQ Level 2 Hairdressing?

You can work towards your NVQ Level 3 Hairdressing or junior hairdressers within a salon. Other possibilities include:

– film and television hairdressing

– fashion show work

– cruise ship placements

– styling hair for magazine photography


More about hairdressing training