Before you continue reading this post, please let me clarify and emphasize the point that I do NOT work for the Ontario College of Trades or the MTCU.
I write these posts and I sell my study notes and offer tutoring for the Ontario hair license exam because over working in the hair industry for 10 years, I have seen a lot of the struggles that my colleagues have experienced...but getting their hair license has opened doors and opportunities for them. My goal is to share this information with you and help you get your hair license so that you can get on with your career in the hair industry and achieve your dreams.
Reasons why people don’t want to get their hair license
From all the time I have spent working in the hair industry here in Ontario in the last 10 years, here are the most common hesitations stylists tell me are preventing them from getting their hair license. Some might read these and call them “excuses” and not reasons…but from the perspective of the person who has to go through the process of getting their license, these reasons can seem quite overwhelming and daunting.
- It costs money
- It doesn’t appear to offer any direct benefits (like protection or insurance for hairstylists)
- Insecurities about not being “book smart” or being able to study/read the material for the exam
- Language barriers, which create difficulties with studying and writing the exam
- The fact that the exam itself is not that easy…and all the rumours and gossip surrounding this.
- Immigrants who were hairstylists “back home” and want to apply to write their exam here, but are unable to get the necessary documentation from hair schools or employers “back home” to apply for an apprenticeship or trade equivalency. Essentially, they are worried or hesitant about having to pay for and redo hair school or an apprenticeship in Canada when they have already done this back home or already have years of experience in the hair industry.
My answer to these fears is…instead of focusing on the negative as to how difficult it might be to get your license, change your perspective and focus on the positive - Why you SHOULD get your hair license and the growth and potential in your career that getting your hair license will bring you. Focus on the BENEFITS of getting your hair license and what this will allow you to do and all the reasons it is worth it for you to do it so that you find the motivation to keep going and grow as a hairstylist and expand your horizons.
So, without further ado, here are some reasons why you should get your license.
You should always believe in yourself and your abilities and have faith in yourself. However, confidence is something that many people struggle with, because everyone has their own set of insecurities. However, once you are a “certified” or licensed hairstylist, you can feel more secure knowing that there is no one who can tell you that you shouldn’t be doing what you are doing. You have passed the exam and you have demonstrated that you have the knowledge to be a professional hairstylist. You can now carry this confidence with you to work and when you are doing consultations with your clients. You know what you are talking about.
Feel safe at work
Yes, inspectors do come into salons to check that those doing the work are qualified and licensed to do so. Don’t walk into work in fear. Get your license so that you can work in peace and you can just focus on doing the work rather than being nervous about getting caught doing the work.
Access to products
You need a hair license to be able to purchase products from certain professional hair lines (such as L’Oreal Professionnel and Pravana, just to name a couple). Many distributors and professional beauty suppliers will also require that you show them your hair license before they set up an account with you. And if you don’t have a hair license, you may be restricted to which hair lines you can purchase from them, if any.
You need to be able to order these products if you want to open up your own salon or work independently on your own. Even if you decide to work from home in your own basement or rent a chair in a salon, you need to have good quality, professional products if you want to attract the clientele that are willing to pay for professional results. So, getting your hair license brings you one step closer to your freedom and career goals as a professional stylist.
You don’t need to call in favours
It’s not going to be fun for you or boost your morale in any way if you have to ask or pay someone else to borrow their hair license to buy products for you. You will feel much prouder and work with greater integrity if you can do this for yourself. Why? Because you studied and gained the ability to access the world of hair with the license that you earned.
Access to trade shows and further education
Your learning and education does not and should not end after hair school. In the world of hair, new trends and techniques are always emerging. And your clients will love you if you can make them look like the hottest thing currently out there.
You may be required to show your hair diploma or hair license to get tickets to certain trade shows and attend their classes. For example, to attend the annual IBS (International Beauty Show) in Vegas, you will need to provide a photo ID and a piece of credentials.
The annual membership fee has been reduced
It no longer costs $120 + tax to renew your hair license every year. To renew as a Journeyperson, the fee is now only $60 + tax each year and it is tax deductible.
The greatest expense is the application for and cost of writing the exam. Once you have passed, the annual renewal is more reasonable.
Click here for more details about the Ontario College of Trades fees.
There are options to apply to write your exam
Listen, the Ministry wants you to get your license to make sure that you are performing hair services safely and are not a creating any safety concerns for the public. They want you to be regulated. They want you to renew your license annually. Don’t be scared to call them and ask them questions on how you should do this. If you so choose, you can give them a brief explanation of the situation that you are in – how much experience you have both here or “back home” (i.e. how many hours you have completed in a salon), whether you have a diploma, if you can get a letter from your current or previous employer, etc.
You can either apply to write your exam after completing and Apprenticeship or you can apply through a Trade Equivalency Assessment.
I highly recommend that you give the Ministry a call to find out which option is better for you, because it will depend on your personal circumstances. Ask them if you are eligible to apply for the exam based on your education and experience.
Click here for the phone number.
Click here for information about an Apprenticeship.
Click here for information about applying through a Trade Equivalency Assessment.
Help is out there (and right here)
If you are not confident in your English ability, you can apply to bring an interpreter to the exam. But just make sure that you apply well ahead of your exam date so that your interpreter is approved. You will need to contact your local MTCU office to arrange for your interpreter.
There are people, such as us, who offer tutoring and/or sell study notes and practice questions to help you prepare for the exam. Of course, no one can give you the exact questions and answers to the exam and you still need to study…but we can help make your life a little easier for you and save you the time of having to make your notes from scratch. Here at Hair Stylist Guide, we have priced our study notes and tutoring so that it costs less to use them and increase your chances of passing the exam than to pay the fee of having to rewrite the exam. But remember, these are STUDY notes….which means you still need to study 😉.
Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like to know more about our study notes.