Wisconsin Barber License & Training Requirements

Earning a Wisconsin Barber License

The path to your Wisconsin barbering license is going to get easier very soon, thanks to a recently passed reform bill that reduces requirements for both Wisconsin barbers and cosmetologists.

Licensing in the state is administered by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). This website will likely be among the first to announce the new, reduced licensing requirements once they become official.

Wisconsin Barbering School and Apprenticeship Training Options

Once you’ve settled on an approved cosmetology school or barber college you can begin taking completing the coursework that will train you for your practical and theory exams to become a licensed Wisconsin barber. The current 1,000 hours of training encompasses theory and practical training on these topics:

  • Hygiene, grooming, and personal development
  • Bacteriology, sterilization, and sanitation
  • Tools, equipment, and implements
  • Haircutting, hair tapering (clipper−cuts), razor cutting, hairstyling, curling, thermal waving, finger−waving, roller setting, pincurl placement, blow−drying, shampoos, scalp and hair treatments, conditioning, reconditioning, hair analysis, and care of hairpieces, wigs, and wefts
  • Hair straightening, hair relaxing, thermal hair straightening, blow−outs, permanents, hair coloring, tinting, bleaching (lightening), and chemistry.
  • Shaving, beard and mustache shaping, trimming, men’s facial, facial massages, and basic principles of electricity
  • Anatomy and physiology of the hair, skin, and disorders of the hair, skin, scalp.
  • Product knowledge, product use and sales, preparing and consulting with customer for services.
  • Laws, rules, professional ethics, and history of barbering.
  • Individual student needs, industry trends and electives, such as recordkeeping, mathematics, communications, human relations, public relations, and first aid.

Barbering Apprentices

If you choose the apprenticeship path to licensing, you will only have to complete 288 hours of theory training at an approved cosmetology or barber school. Your remaining 1,712 hours of practical training can be completed at a rate of 32 or more hours per week for 2-4 years total.

Refer to the DSPS Barbering Apprentice page for forms, updates, payment forms and more.

Submitting your Wisconsin Barber License and Exam Applications

When you complete your chosen path to barber education, you will be eligible to apply for exam licensing through the state’s vendor, D.L. Roope Administrations. Visit the  vendor’s Wisconsin home page to apply online.

The vendor’s website also provides important links to the Wisconsin Barber Candidate Handbook and the Candidate Information Bulletin that outlines the written theory exam. Downloading and studying both of these documents is a great way to prepare for your exams.

Theory Examination

This written 90-minute exam covers the following subjects:

  • Scientific concepts – 27%
  • Hair care services – 40%
  • Facial hair services – 17%
  • Skin care and facial services – 16%

Practical Skills Examination

Using your own supply kit and mannequin, you will be asked to perform these services during your practical exam:

  • Setup and client protection
  • Haircutting
  • Shaving with a straight razor
  • Chemical waving
  • Virgin hair lightening and hair color retouch
  • Chemical relaxing, virgin and retouch

The vendor’s Wisconsin online results page explains the process for locating and printing your test results from the website. Keep a copy for your records and print one to submit with your license application.

Visit the DSPS home page for licensing application links and information.

Requirements for Renewing Your Wisconsin Barber License

Wisconsin barber licenses currently expire on March 31st of odd years. Refer to the DSPS license lookup page to enter your current license number and get renewal information.

The department’s barber resource page includes additional links, phone numbers, and helpful information regarding inactive licenses and procedures for active service people to follow if their licenses expire during deployments.