Beauty is more than skin deep. But you can’t deny the healthy glow of great skin does a lot of work that you just can’t get with makeup. If you love the idea of giving that glow to others, a career as an esthetician or even holistic skin care professional may be for you. Wisconsin has fantastic beauty and cosmetology schools that can start you on your journey.

Downtown milwaukee where some esthetics schools are found
Milwaukee, Wi downtown by Dori [CC BY-SA 3.0]

How Many Hours Will You Need To Train?

Wisconsin’s educational requirements are designed to be flexible (you may be able to take some classes online at home, but you’ll need to check with schools), but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to study hard! You must be at least 18 years old, and have a high school diploma or GED certificate. You may choose an esthetics program, or an apprenticeship.

If you choose formal classes, you must complete a course with at least 450 hours of study. It should be no less than 11 weeks long, no longer than 30. See what’s nearby by using the form below:


If you choose an apprenticeship, the state board stipulates that you will need to do the same number of hours practical training as you would in a formal school setting. It should be with a fully licensed esthetician office, such as a spa, salon, or medical office, and will need to be completed in the same time frame.

Whether through apprenticeship, or formal schooling, you have to make sure to choose an option that will specialize in skin care. You should take classes in topics such as such as manual and machine facials, makeup application and colour theory, and Wisconsin’s rules and regulations for estheticians. You will also learn safety and sanitation guidelines, which will help keep your clients safe.

Acquiring an Esthetician License in Wisconsin

Once you’ve met your study requirements, you need to create an online account and submit your application for examination. This is when you pay your exam fees. Once you receive your approval notice, you can apply for a temporary license. A temporary license is granted for six months after finishing your program, and can’t be extended.

The next step is to pass your exams.

When you are ready to take the practical exam, you will need to arrive at the testing site with a live model, your testing supply kit, and a professional smock.

The theory exam is a 100-question multiple choice exam which covers everything from rules and regulations, to the science of skin care, to practical elements of skin care treatments.

After you pass your exams, you will be licensed by the state of Wisconsin to work as an esthetician.

Out-Of-State

Wisconsin does not have reciprocity agreements with other states. However, if you have worked as an esthetician, you may be eligible to take Wisconsin’s State Board exams, and be licensed to work as a skin care specialist in the state. If you do not wish to take the exams, you will need to prove 4,000 hours work experience.

License Renewal For WI Esthetics

You will need to renew your license every two years. The date of renewal for all licenses is March 31st of odd-numbered years. There’s no need to refresh your knowledge with continuing ed, but it never hurts! You can also increase your salary as an esthetician in WI by learning new techniques such as microblading, oncology (cancer) esthetics, or even training you can use in a medical setting.

Employment After Graduation

According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, personal care is one of the fastest growing industries in the state. Becoming a skin care professional promises to be a lucrative career with a good salary as baby boomers increase the age of the population statewide, and Wisconsin’s world famous spas, there is no shortage of work opportunities for an enterprising new face on the skin care scene.

Also take a look at our school costs page to get an idea how much your training will be.

Lakeview School of Esthetics – Random Lake

The Salon Professional Academy – Appleton

The Salon Professional Academy – Kenosha

The Salon Professional Academy – Onalaska

How to become a licensed esthetician in WI. – pdf.

Other Wisconsin schools for nail techs, barbers, cosmetologists and makeup artists.

morgantownbeautycollege.com

basali.com

madisoncollege.edu

swtc.edu

statecollegeofbeauty.com

institutebw.com

Did we miss any Wisconsin esthetics academies? Please contact us to let us know.