Something is always growing in Wisconsin! The beauty industry is no exception. The state is one of the top five for cosmetology, making it a great place to explore cosmetology schools and create a rewarding career for yourself.

If you’re great at handling people, and passionate about the industry, getting your cosmetologist license could be the first step to a great new adventure! WI also has similar training standards compared to other states, like California, so it is easier to transfer your license.

Wisconsin skyline
Wisconsin skyline

How Many Hours Of Schooling Are Require For Cosmetologists In WI?

Wisconsin has two paths to becoming a cosmetologist. Either you can graduate from an approved cosmetology school in Wisconsin, or complete an apprenticeship. If you take the formal schooling route, you will need to study at least 1550 hours either part-time at night or full-time. Use our app to find a school close by using your ZIP:


If your take the apprenticeship route, you will need to work at least 4,000 hours under the supervision of an approved instructor with an active license. Apprenticeship is the best way to get a free or almost free cosmetology education.

You will study a variety of disciplines and classes including

  • hair, skin and nail anatomy
  • hair straightening and relaxing
  • cosmetology laws
  • rules and ethics
  • …and even courses on industry trends, to keep you up to date throughout your study and practice.

Your Wisconsin Cosmetology Exams & License

Once you’ve completed your study, or your apprenticeship hours, you must apply online for your theory and practical exams, through Pearson VUE. For the practical exam, you must bring your own supplies and mannequin. While waiting to take your exams, you can choose to apply for temporary license, so you can continue working in a salon until you pass exams. This temporary license is good for six months, and cannot be renewed. If you fail your exams, it will be immediately revoked. Once you pass, the board will review your application and issue your license. You will need to pay a fee.

Out-Of-State Licensees

If you have a license in another state, you may be eligible to be licensed in Wisconsin, provided you have at least 4,000 hours of experience.

Double check with the Board’s website to see if your home state has comparable educational requirements, and apply with an application by endorsement, as well as proof of your current license, employment verification form and your educational background.

Renewing YourWisconsin Cosmetology License

You will need to renew your cosmetology license every odd numbered year by March 31st.

You also must prove at least four hours of continuing education for each renewal period. One hour relating to cosmetology law, and three hours relating to updated safety and sanitation training. This is a good thing as one of the harder things about cosmetology school for some people is remember all the state laws!

Beautician Work in WI

Wisconsin has plenty of beauty salons and spas to recommend it, from Madison to Manitowok.

If spas and salons aren’t your thing, you might decide to work at a department store. If you specialize in skin care, you can even try out working in a medical office (better salary too!).

WI is known as one of the top five states for cosmetologists.

Check out Wisconsin job sites like wisconsinjobcenter.org to learn more about what the future holds!

Also, how to find beauty schools nearby.

Some Cosmetology Schools in Wisconsin

NameAddressTuitionOther Programs
Tricoci University of Beauty Culture2310 West Court Street, Janesville, 53548$20,000Esthetics, Barbering, Nail Technology / Manicuring,
The Institute of Beauty and Wellness327 East Street Paul Avenue, Milwaukee, 53202$18,700Barbering, Esthiology, Massage Therapy, Manicuring,
VICI Beauty Schools - Milwaukee Campus4111 South 108th Street, Milwaukee, 53228UnknownEsthiology
Academy of Beauty Professionals: Madison6414 Odana Road, Madison, 53719$12,000Barbering, Nail Technology, Esthetics
Empire Beauty School940 Hansen Road, Ashwaubenon, 54304$19,500None
Advanced College of Cosmetology25 West Main Street, Waupun, 53963UnknownNone

Did we miss any WI schools for cosmetology training in this list. Please let us know.

Other Wisconsin schools for nail technicians, estheticians, barbers and makeup artists
School Website:
A typical WI beauty salon – maybe you could work there?


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