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Cosmetology Practitioner – License Information

To obtain a license by examination:

Complete ONE of the following education requirements:

  • Graduate from high school
  • Attain high school graduation equivalency
  • participate in a program approved by the department
  • Be at least 18 years of age and meet the ability to benefit rule under 20 USC 1091

Complete ONE of the following training requirements:

  • Graduate from a course of instruction of at least 1,550 training hours in no less than 10 months in a school of cosmetology licensed by the Department
  • Successfully complete an apprenticeship of at least 3,712 hours of practical training at at least 288 training hours of theoretical instruction in a school of cosmetology

Pass the examination*

Applicants who have completed all training may be issued a temporary permit to practice for up to 6 months. To apply for a temporary permit and schedule an appointment to take the exam, contact the Department's contracted vendor, Pearson VUE, by calling 1‑800‑274‑7488, or by visiting their web site at http://www.pearsonvue.com/wi/cos/

*2013 Wisconsin Act 114 was signed into law on December 20, 2013 and went into effect the following day, changing the state statutes that govern most licenses regulated by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).  These changes remove the requirement that applicants complete education or training programs prior to taking state board examinations.  Education and training programs remain a requirement of licensure, and can be completed before or after taking an examination.


To obtain a license by endorsement:

If you are currently licensed in another state and have completed at least 4,000 hours of licensed practice, you may apply for licensure by endorsement. Please review Form #1683, Instructions for Obtaining Licensure By Endorsement, for information about how to apply.

To obtain a temporary license:

See “To obtain a license by examination” above.

To obtain an “Inactive” license:

Fill out Form #R454 Renewal Addendum and submit it to the department.

To reinstate a license:

A person whose license has been expired for more than 5 years is required to pass the current licensing examination (written and practical) to demonstrate minimum competency in services and subjects substantially related to practice and public health and safety.

To request an approval letter to take the examination, please call or send an email to the Department with the following information: your name (prior names if your name has changed), your license number and your current address.

You will be required to submit the reinstatement fee to the Department of Safety & Professional Services after passing the examination.

To renew a license:

Click here to see the renewal information page.

Application Process