Wisconsin Licensing Overview for a Barber

Licensing for a barber in Wisconsin is controlled by the Wisconsin Cosmetology Examining Board.

General Guidelines for a Barber in Wisconsin

Specific requirements to perform barber services can generally be used as a guideline, but make sure to check with your local governing rules and regulations.

Who’s allowed to perform these services?

Anyone holding a barber license

General requirements for a barber license?

Complete 1,000 hours of training at a licensed barber school and a 4,000 hour apprenticeship.

What’s the state licensing site for a barber?

Wisconsin Cosmetology Examining Board

What are some training programs available for a barber?

See training programs

How long is a license good for and when do I need to renew?

Renews in March in odd-numbered years.

What are fees associated with licensing?


Barber Licensing

A barber is a professional who specializes in the cutting, styling, and grooming of men and boy’s hair and beards. This profession has a long-standing history filled with tradition and is an important subsection of the beauty industry. Many of the techniques and tools of barbering are as old as the profession itself. This includes the tools, techniques and overall aesthetic of the barbershop itself. Barbers are experts in their field. A barber’s job is primarily in customer satisfaction, which revolves around the customer service, friendliness, and communication of the barber.

To become a licensed barber in the state of Wisconsin there are several steps that must be taken.

  1. The completion of a formal barber program or apprenticeship
  2. Apply for registration with the Wisconsin License, Permit and Registration Services
  3. Undertake state licensing exams
  4. Ensure your license remains up to date


The completion of a formal barber program or apprenticeship

In Wisconsin there are two methods in which to gain the necessary qualifications to become a licensed barber: a formal barbering program and an apprenticeship. The first option is for students to undertake a minimum of 1000 hours of registered coursework at a barber college. This will be sufficient to practice as a barber following examinations.

To become a licensed barber through an apprenticeship, students are required to undertake a minimum of 200 hours under the direct supervision of a fully licensed barber.


Apply for registration in the state of Wisconsin

Following the completion of formal education via an institution, barbers are required to apply for registration with the Wisconsin License, Permit and Registration Services who utilise Professional Credential Services (PCS) to proctor the licensing exams. Once this application has been processed, barbers are then able to apply for the licensing examinations. In order to have this application processed, applicants are required to submit:

  • Create a PCS online account
  • The completed application
  • A high school diploma
  • A barber diploma
  • A copy of a driver’s license or birth certificate
  • A social security card
  • A $391 licensing fee


Undertake state licensing exams

In Wisconsin there are two licensing exams that must be completed: the theoretical exam and the practical exam. Barber examinations in Wisconsin are conducted by PCS.

The main concepts that will be covered in the theory exam may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Scientific concepts
  • Hair services
  • Facial hair services
  • Skin care and facial services

The main concepts that are covered in the practical examination may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Set up and client protection
  • Haircutting
  • Shaving with a straight razor
  • Chemical Waving
  • Virgin hair lightening
  • Chemical Relaxing

Barbers will be sent an official notice from the board detailing their results from both examinations within 30 days. If successful, barbers will be eligible and licensed to practice within the state.


Ensure your license remains up to date

Licensed barbers are required to renew their license in odd-numbered years by March 31. This can be done easily online through the Wisconsin State Board’s online license renewal portal. There is a $25 renewal fee.

There is currently no ongoing education needs for barbers during their licensing period in Wisconsin. However, many barbers may choose to undertake ongoing education to further their career opportunities and stay up to date in current fashions and trends.