Salon Apprentice or Assistant

What’s the difference?

We’re Hiring a Salon Assistant or Apprentice

We have a full time position available for a salon assistant or apprentice at our Downtown Kansas City salon. This position is for a recent cosmetology student OR a paid salon apprentice.
What’s the difference? An assistant or “associate” stylist is someone who already went to school versus a traditional salon apprenticeship where our salon IS your school. Traditionally an apprentice (like an intern) works for free because you’re getting a free education. At Studio 39 an apprentice is paid while they work towards obtaining hours to take the Boards test.



Cosmetology Graduate for Salon Assistant/Associate Stylist


Every stylist at Studio 39 has one thing in common, we were either a salon assistant or apprentice before we were stylists, including myself! You can read how I started in the salon industry here. Assistant or “stylist associate” is a term we use for someone who has graduated from cosmetology school and is starting their career. Most graduates aren’t prepared for today’s demanding salon world because cosmetology school prepares you for the State Board test.

A schools main job is to prepare you for Boards and unfortunately the test is about 50 years behind on services. Much of what you learn for services isn’t relevant to today’s salon world, especially a high end, high style salon. I took Boards in 1996 and I haven’t done a pin curl since! This is why we have a 3-6 month assistant training program to help acclimate you to the salon. Sometimes it takes longer because everyone learns at their own pace, but around 3 months is when we can tell if a stylist is ready to do Lumiere services, our program for beginning stylists.

Salon Apprentice

An apprentice is someone who wants a career as a stylist but wishes to forgo school for a traditional apprenticeship in a salon. Yes, you can do that! We often hear surprise at this but it’s always been a thing. Traditional apprenticeships are not as common because today’s salon owners are busy! Few want the added responsibility and it takes some effort to become a certified State Board Apprentice Supervisor. We’re in Missouri, so the process takes place in Jefferson City so I had to take time off. Plus, the textbook and study curriculum is the same as a cosmetology student.
If an owner provides books and study materials like I do, it’s an expensive investment. There’s required reading and independent study involved so finding a committed apprentice can be difficult. Apprenticing is a great opportunity for someone who understands the value of in salon training and can’t afford hefty tuition fees. The two hardest things for someone who wants to apprentice is finding a salon that offers it and finding a salon that you want to learn from.

Cosmetology School

  • 1500 hours
  • between 17- 22k
  • full time (every day) takes about 9 months
  • controlled school and class environment
  • you aren’t paid to attend school.


  • 3000 hours
  • free
  • takes about 18 months
  • real life salon environment with highly skilled stylists
  • Yes- you get paid plus tips. 👌

Pay Realities

We have noticed unrealistic pay expectations have increased and it’s one of our biggest challenges as employers. A license is the first of many steps towards becoming successful, but a salon that focuses on education teaches you skills key for career development. Skills that allow you to charge like a true master stylist. Studio 39 stylists know by experience skill and worth both develop over time.
Before interviewing anywhere, try to measure opportunity over pay. Bigger picture thinking is necessary for success anywhere, especially in our industry! If an owner pays master stylists the same way they pay new stylists, then their standard for “master” stylists are questionable, or the salon isn’t that busy- or both. The point is, there are many things that factor pay, but the largest determining factor will always be you.





Studio 39 Salon Apprenticeship or Assistant

An apprenticeship takes longer than cosmetology school but you’ll be trained by our previous salon apprentice Brielee and we have a kit for the test created by an examiner on the State Board of Cosmetology. That’s an advantage few salons offer!  Every team member receives continuing education from myself, plus we are a host salon to some of our industries top educators. Sierra is our certified L’Oréal Professional Salon Educator and does most of our basics of color training. She is amazing and everyone loves her education!

Whether you’re an assistant or an apprentice, choosing the right salon is important because it is the first step to having a career as a successful stylist. One advantage to apprenticing is you’re salon floor ready when you finish and we find our former apprentices build clientele quickly. Since clients and staff are already familiar with them and their training, naturally they are comfortable in their ability. This is also beneficial because it builds confidence early on which is needed to start your career. Either way, an assistant or apprentice gains valuable experience in a well known and established salon in Kansas City. To join our team submit a resume and apply below, we would love to meet you!


  • Please list an email you check regularly.
  • Please list a number where you can receive phone calls or voice mail.
  • Please list "assistant, stylist or receptionist." Recent cosmetology graduates please enter assistant.
  • Please enter either Lee's Summit or Kansas City.
  • Here you can tell us more about yourself like work history, references, or social media handles. Or you may attach a resume below.
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