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How to Become a Licensed Esthetician in Wisconsin

The state of Wisconsin is known for being home to cheese and to our nation’s largest water-themed park. It also has the potential to be known by you as the place where your successful esthetics career began. As a licensed esthetician in this state, your work is in high demand in places like medical spas, resorts, hotels, salons, spas, and even some medical offices.

If you dream of a career as a licensed esthetician in the state of Wisconsin, the information presented below will help you make your dream a reality.

Esthetician License Requirements and Training Schools in Wisconsin

Step 1: Complete a State Approved Esthetics Program or Apprenticeship

The Cosmetology Examining Board, a division of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, requires that all esthetician license applicants:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or a GED certificate
  • Complete an esthetics course of 450 hours that is no less than 11 weeks and no more than 30 weeks in length

Your esthetics education and training will most likely include:

  • Wisconsin’s esthetician rules and regulations
  • Manual and machine facials
  • Waxing, tweezing, and threading
  • Make-up applications and color theory
  • Safety and sanitation guidelines
  • Skin care products and mask applications
The Esthetics Apprenticeship Option

You also have the option of completing an apprenticeship program in lieu of a formal education. To do so, you will need a minimum of 450 hours of esthetics training in no less than 11 weeks and no more than 30 weeks. Your apprenticeship must also be done under the supervision and care of a Cosmetology Instructor or Aesthetics Instructor that is licensed to practice esthetics in the state of Wisconsin.

Let Esthetician Schooling Connect You With a High Quality Esthetician School in Your Area!

Are you ready to take the next step and begin your career as a well-paid esthetician? Esthetician Schooling has partnered with some of the best esthetician schools in the nation.  Our huge network of nationally recognized esthetician schools will make it easy for you to find the right school and get started training immediately!

The beauty schools in our network contain one or more of the following high quality standards:

  • State Board Recognition
  • NACCAS Accreditation
  • Student Financial Aid
  • Job Placement Assistance for Those Who Qualify

To get started, simply fill out the quick 1-minute application below.


Step 2: Complete and Submit the Esthetician Application for Examination

The Wisconsin Cosmetology Board has contracted with Pearson VUE to proctor its practical and written esthetics examinations.

After you have met the educational requirements, you will need to:

  1.  Create an online account
  2. Follow the instructions in the Account Activation email
  3. Log in and submit an application
  4. Pay the $391 exam fee during the application process

Once your application has been approved, you will receive an email containing an approval to test notice from Pearson VUE with detailed instructions on scheduling your exams. You can take the exams in any order you choose. You can find more detailed information on the application process here.


Applying for Your Temporary License

Instructions for applying for a temporary license will be contained in the approval to test email you receive. After scheduling your examinations, you can apply for your temporary license via the Pearson VUE website. A $10 fee is required for a temporary license. More information about applying for a temporary license can be found in “Step 5” of this licensing guide.

Within 30 days of submitting your Temporary License Form, your school will need to submit a Certificate of Training. Once DSPS receives this they will notify Pearson VUE and you should receive your temporary license within 24 hours. This license is valid for six months. No extensions are permitted.


Step 3: Take and Pass the Written and Practical Esthetician Examinations

You should make arrangements to arrive at least 30 minutes early to the exam site. Late arrivals or candidates who do not come prepared with the proper supplies will not be allowed to test at their scheduled testing time.


What to Bring to the Exam

You will need to make sure you bring the following items to your exams:

Additionally, for the practical exam you will need to bring:


The Theory Exam

You will have an hour and 45 minutes to take the theory exam. There are a total of 100 multiple choice questions split up like so:

  • 15 pre-test questions (these do not count towards or against your overall test score)
  • 85 scored questions

The theory exam is available in either English or Spanish.

The theory exam outline is as follows:

I. Rules, Regulations, and Safety (30% to 40%)

A. Safety
B. Sanitation and disinfection
C. Predisposition/Patch Tests
D. Client contact

II. Esthetic Science and Skin Analysis (15% to 20%)

A. Skin structure and anatomy
B. Purpose of skin analysis
C. Skin conditions that benefit from services
D. Skin conditions that preclude skin services
E. Skin disorders and diseases

III. Facials (20% to 25%)

A. Application, removal, and purpose of products
B. Tools, implements, materials, and equipment
C. Facial procedures
D. Special considerations
E. Massage/Anatomy

IV. Hair Removal (16% to 20%)

A. Tweezing
B. Waxing
C. Tools, implements, materials, and equipment

V. Makeup (10% to 15%)

A. Purpose
B. Types of cosmetics
C. Brushes and other implements, tools, and materials
D. Color theory
E. Application and removal procedures
F. Corrective makeup
G. Application and removal of artificial eyelashes

VI. Electricity and Electrotherapy (5% to 10%)

A. Galvanic current
B. High frequency current
C. Light therapy

More detailed information about what to expect during the esthetics theory exam can be found in the Pearson Vue Candidate Handbook.


The Practical Exam

This exam will involve your demonstration of skills you have learned and practiced in your esthetics course. You will need a live model, a smock, and your supply kit. You will be evaluated at all times.

The outline for the practical esthetics exam is as follows:

I. Infection Control and Safety
II. Facials
III. Skin Analysis
IV. Manipulation
V. Mask
VI. Hair Removal
VII. Makeup Application

More detailed information about what to expect during the practical exam can be found in the Pearson Vue Candidate Handbook.

You will receive your scores from Pearson Vue after your testing is complete. The Wisconsin cosmetology board will be notified of you passing results and will then issue you a license. Scoring information can be found in the Pearson Vue Candidate Handbook.


Step 4: Renew Your WI Esthetician License Every Two Years

Your esthetician license will expire in odd-numbered years on March 31st. You will need to renew before this date and pay the $82 renewal fee.

You are also required to have four continuing education credits (CEU) divided up as follows:

  • One CEU of laws governing the barbering and cosmetology professions and establishments
  • Three CEUs of Safety, Sanitation, and Infection Control

License renewals are done online. However, if you prefer, you can contact the State Board via phone or email and request that they mail you a paper application.


Esthetician License Reciprocity in Wisconsin

Depending on your previous education and experience, you may be eligible for a Wisconsin esthetician license via reciprocity (endorsement). You will need to complete and submit a number of forms.

Complete the following steps to apply for licensure by endoresment:

  1. Complete and sign the Application for Licensure by Endorsement
  2. Complete the top portion of the Employment Verification Form (bottom portion must be completed by your past employers)
  3. Complete the top portion of the Verification of Licensure Form (bottom portion must be completed by the Board of each state in which you have held a license in the past)
  4. Submit letters from all State Boards where you were licensed, active and inactive
  5. If applicable, complete the Verification of Self-Employment Form
  6. If applicable, complete the Information for Completing Convictions and Pending Charges Form (submit the required documents along with the form as stated in the form’s instructions)
  7. Pay the $82.00 Initial Credentialing Fee (make your check or money order payable to the “Department of Safety and Professional Services”)

Refer to page one (1) of the Application for Licensure by Endorsement application to determine what will be required of you based on your past training and work experience. You may be required to obtain licensure by examination, in which case you will want to read the information in Step 2 of this article.

Mail all your completed forms, any required documents, and fee payment to:

Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
P.O. Box 8935
Madison, WI 53708-8935

OR, ship your materials by courier to:

Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
1400 E. Washington Avenue
Madison, WI 53703

OR, fax all your materials to (608) 261-7083. If you decide to fax all your materials, you will be required to complete and fax the Fax Payment Form along with your materials in order to pay the $82 Initial Credentialing Fee.

Once the State Board has approved and processed your application, they will issue you a Wisconsin esthetician license.


Wisconsin State Board of Cosmetology Contact Information

Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
Cosmetology Examining Board
1400 E. Washington Avenue
Madison, WI 53703
Toll-Free: 1-877-617-1565
Phone: (608) 266-2112
Fax: (608) 261-7083


Wisconsin Written and Practical Exam Locations

Below is a map showing the locations of the written and practical exams administered by Pearson Vue. Before you arrive at a Pearson Vue test center, please be sure to call Pearson Vue toll-free at 1-800-274-8969, weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm, to confirm the test center’s current address and inquire about their hours of operation.


Map of Written and Practical Exam Locations in Wisconsin

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