Cosmetology Schools in Wisconsin
With more than 3,200 beauty salons and a variety of cosmetology training options, Wisconsin can be an ideal place to start your cosmetology career. Browse our directory of cosmetology schools in Wisconsin, or skip ahead to learn about the state's cosmetology licensing requirements and job outlook.
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353 East Campus Mall
Madison, WI 53715
940 Hansen Road
Ashwaubenon, WI 54304
5655 South 27th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53221
327 East Saint Paul Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202
2310 West Court Street
Janesville, WI 53548
Appleton, WI 54914
Green Bay, WI 54303
You must attend school in the state you want to practice in. Most states require that you graduate from an accredited school. Learn more about the requirements in your state.
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How to Become a Cosmetologist in Wisconsin
- 1,550 education hours or 4,000 apprentice hours are required to become licensed.
- You must renew your license every 2 years.
- 0 continuing education hours are required to renew your license.
- The average salary for cosmetologists in Wisconsin is $31,970.
- There is a predicted 2% job decrease between 2018–2028 for cosmetologists.
If you want to earn a cosmetology license in Wisconsin, you must meet several requirements, including:
You may be required to undergo medical and criminal history background checks during the licensing process. Having a criminal record does not automatically mean that your application will be turned down. However, it likely will be refused if you’ve previously committed a felony while engaged in the practice of cosmetology.
Cosmetology Salary in Wisconsin and Projected Job Growth
Average yearly salary for cosmetologists in Wisconsin
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage earned by licensed cosmetologists in Wisconsin in 2021 was $31,970 (or $15.37 per hour). This is below the national average of $35,990 ($15.74 per hour). However, the top 10% of cosmetologists in Wisconsin made $47,740 or more in 2021.
Future employment prospects are well below the nationwide average, with the number of cosmetology jobs projected to decrease by 2% through 2028. However, as beauty professionals retire and leave the field, cosmetologist positions will still become available.
The highest-paying metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas for cosmetologists in Wisconsin are:
|Metro Area||2021 Median Salary|
|Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI||$36,500|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||$29,730|
Table information sourced from O*Net (2022)
What to Expect From a Cosmetology Program in Wisconsin
Time to complete a cosmetology program in Wisconsin
The first step toward gaining your license is attending a state-approved cosmetology program and completing the required 1,550 hours of training. You'll cover a wide range of topics relevant to the job during your education, including hair cutting and styling, manicuring, and facials. You'll also learn about business-related topics, such as marketing, finance, and safety practices.
Just like practicing cosmetologists, schools must also be licensed and need to keep up with certain standards to maintain their state-approved status.
Can I Apprentice as a Cosmetologist in Wisconsin?
Time to complete a cosmetology apprenticeship in Wisconsin
You can earn your cosmetology license in Wisconsin through an apprenticeship. For a list of available apprentice positions with state-approved employers, check out the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) site.
Cosmetology apprentice permits in Wisconsin cost $10 and are valid for three years from the issue date. Within that time, you must complete at least 3,712 hours of practical training and 288 theory-based hours.
Wisconsin Cosmetology Licensing Requirements
Before obtaining a cosmetology license in Wisconsin, you’ll have to take and pass theoretical (written) and practical exams overseen by the state board’s official exam partner, DL Roope.
If you graduated from a licensed cosmetology program, you can get a paper exam application from your school (along with a money order to pay the relevant fees). Applications are also available online. If you apply online, your school will be notified that you've applied.
The practical portion of the exam and the Wisconsin state law questions are only in English. The written exam is available in additional languages, which applicants can select during the application process.
DL Roope and the state board comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and make extra accommodations during exams if needed. If you believe you need extra help, you must fill out the appropriate forms in advance and submit them to the exam board for review.
On the day of your exams, plan to dress appropriately, in the same manner as you would when working. Hair should be neat and jewelry limited. Examiners don’t permit watches, cell phones, or other electronic items in the exam room, so make sure you leave those in your bag or locker before entering.
Practical Exam for Cosmetology in Wisconsin
The practical portion of the exam takes approximately four to five hours to complete and consists of the following sections:
Theoretical (Written) Exam for Cosmetology in Wisconsin
The theory exam takes 90 minutes to complete and contains 110 questions, of which 100 contribute to your final score. They cover the following topics:
You must receive a scaled score of 75 to pass both exams. You can receive your test results in the mail or via the DL Roope web portal.
Wisconsin Cosmetology Licensure Reciprocity
If you have a cosmetology license in another state, you may be able to obtain your Wisconsin license via reciprocity/endorsement, but not all out-of-state licenses are eligible. Wisconsin maintains a list of states and licenses the board has determined to be non-reciprocal.
To be eligible for a reciprocal license, applicants must hold a current license in good standing in another state, pay the licensing fee, and complete an approved one-hour course on Wisconsin statutes and administrative code.
Military Reciprocity and Waivers for Wisconsin
If you're an active service member (or the spouse of an active service member) and your license expires while you're on active duty, the Wisconsin Act 210 allows you to extend your license by an extra 180 days from your date of discharge.
Cosmetology License Renewal in Wisconsin
License renewal period
Continuing education required
Cosmetologists in Wisconsin must renew their licenses every two years. All renewals are due on March 31st of every odd year. Each renewal costs $11, though if you submit your renewal late, the price increases to $36.
Since the passing of the 2017 Wisconsin Act 81, cosmetologists have not been required to complete any continuing education hours when renewing a standard license.
Contact the Wisconsin State Board of Cosmetology
Resources for Cosmetologists in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (Cosmetologists)
The Wisconsin state board regulates and issues cosmetology licenses. The site provides information on cosmetology laws and statutes in the state.
The state board’s official exam partner provides several resources for aspiring cosmetologists, including candidate information bulletins, cosmetology handbooks, exam information, and more.
Wisconsin Cosmetology & Barbering Association
This private Facebook group is open to license holders, salon owners, students, and anyone connected to the cosmetology industry. Resources include product reviews, upcoming events, and equipment for sale.