Last Updated: April 25, 2017
Before you can make your mark as a cosmetology professional in Wisconsin, you have to meet the licensing requirements set out by the Cosmetology Examining Board. This is part of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. Since the state of Wisconsin does allow apprenticeship for cosmetology and barbering licenses, the Cosmetology Examining Board requires you to complete a set amount of training hours (listed below for each profession). You must also pass both a skills exam and a written exam, and go through the final licensure process.
After finishing your training and submitting proof of your education to the Cosmetology Examining Board , you are required to pass a licensing exam issued by the Wisconsin Cosmetology Examining Board. Wisconsin cosmetology exams are administered by Pearson VUE and you must take the exam in English.
Once you pass these exams, you should receive your Wisconsin cosmetology license in the mail and be able to work as a licensed beautician in the state of Wisconsin. As of 2015, Wisconsin now requires continuing education for everyone after their first licensure cycle. Continuing education is available through many sources, including the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, universities, and beauty schools.
Find Wisconsin beauty schools that can help you obtain a license in cosmetology, esthetics, nail technology and other beauty professions in the state of Wisconsin.
2017 Wisconsin Board of Cosmetology License Requirements
- COSMETOLOGIST LICENSE: 1550 Hours (4000 Hours Apprenticeship—288 Hours of Training and 3,712 Hours of Practical Experience)
- BARBER LICENSE: 1000 Hours (2,000 Hours Apprenticeship—288 Hours of Classroom Training and 1,712 Hours of Practical Training)
- ESTHETICIAN LICENSE: 450 Hours
- NAIL TECHNICIAN LICENSE: 300 Hours
- PERMANENT MAKEUP ARTIST LICENSE: Contact Department of Health Services
- ELECTROLOGIST LICENSE: 450 Hours
- COSMETOLOGY MANAGER: 2000 Hours of Cosmetology Experience + 150 Training Hours or 4000 Hours Cosmetology Experience
- COSMETOLOGY INSTRUCTOR LICENSE: License + 150 Hours + 2000 Hours Work Experience
- MASSAGE THERAPIST LICENSE: 600 Hours
Wisconsin Cosmetology License Renewal
Cosmetology license renewal in Wisconsin happens every two years in March of odd-numbered years. The cost is $82 to renew licenses, or an additional $25 if the license is renewed after March 31.
Starting in 2015, Wisconsin voted to require the completion of continuing education credits. During each two-year renewal cycle, you must complete four hours of continuing education. One hour must focus on cosmetology laws and three hours must focus on safety, sanitation, and infection control.
Cosmetology License Reciprocity (Transfer) in Wisconsin
To transfer your license to Wisconsin, you must have 4000 hours of licensed experience and go through the WI license transfer application process. If you do not yet have 4000 hours of work experience, you will need to take the Wisconsin board exams to earn your license by examination. The training requirements of your home state must be equal to or greater than the training requirements of Wisconsin, otherwise the Cosmetology Examining Board may require you to complete your remaining hours at a Wisconsin school.
WI State Board of Cosmetology Contact Information
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
Wisconsin Cosmetology Examining Board
PO Box 8935
1400 E. Washington Ave.
Madison WI 53703
Phone Number: 608-266-2112/877-617-1565
Fax Number: 608-261-7083
E-mail Address: DSPS@wisconsin.gov
The Wisconsin Cosmetology Examining Board can help you answer any questions we did not answer above about obtaining a Wisconsin cosmetology license.