Cosmetology student smiling at camera in salon

Cosmetology Apprentice

Registered Apprenticeship

9 Credits | 2 Years


Career Cluster: Human Services

What is an Apprenticeship?

A Registered Apprenticeship is a state-certified training program that combines paid related instruction and on the job training. Apprentices are trained under a written training agreement called an indenture. While indentured, the employer agrees to teach the student the skills of the trade and the apprentice agrees to learn the skills involved.

Cosmetology Apprentice Overview

Cosmetology is a vibrant career with many employment and career opportunities. Salons, spas, barber shops, and beauty supply companies are in need of professional stylists. A career in cosmetology combines professional techniques with creativity to provide a challenging career with many rewards. The cosmetology apprenticeship program provides the theory training to allow the student to satisfy the Wisconsin state requirements to become a licensed professional.

Program Outcomes

Cosmetology Apprentice graduates will be able to:

  • Summarize safety and sanitation procedures
  • Summarize the current Wisconsin administrative codes and statues for cosmetology
  • Demonstrate interpersonal skills for success
  • Compare haircutting services
  • Compare shampoo services
  • Compare skin care services
  • Compare texture services
  • Compare hair color services
  • Compare hairstyling and finishing techniques
  • Compare nail services
  • Develop strategies to market products and services
clients is getting hair sprayed

On-the-job learning is 90% of apprenticeships. Apprentices are full-time, paid employees trained by the employer's skilled workers.

Cosmetologist cutting hair

Progressive wages are earned by apprentices as their skills grow. Wages are set by the employer. Apprentices are paid to attend related instruction.

older cosmetologist cutting hair

Apprentices learn the theory and lab to support on-the-job learning.


The Cosmetology Apprenticeship courses are offered fully online.

Mock Board Prep

The Mock Board Prep (8 hours) course is an optional course students can complete during the last semester of the apprenticeship.

Program Features

This two-year apprenticeship includes 3,712 hours of on-the-job training and 292 hours of paid related instruction

Transition to Trainer

The Transition to Trainer course is required for completion. Students will take this course the last semester of the apprenticeship

Required Courses

Program courses are state approved and designed specifically to meet employer needs. 

Explore the Required Courses

Featured Cosmetology Apprentice Courses

| 1 CR
Students will learn basic haircutting procedures to include disinfection and proper use of tools.
| 1 CR
Focus will be on styling the hair to include fingerwaving, pincurling, roller-setting, blow-drying, thermal curling, thermal pressing, braiding, and long hairstyling. Product knowledge will be discussed. Safety and sanitation procedures will be addressed.
Introduces the student to all the responsibilities of owning a salon. Students develop a personal career-building plan incorporating a variety of areas to help them reach success in the profession. The theory of hair color and chemical texturizing (permanent waving and chemical relaxing) is studied and applied. Learners develop skills in how to handle the physical and chemical changes in the hair as each service is performed in order to achieve successful outcomes in the profession.

Admissions and Tuition

To become an apprentice in the state of Wisconsin, one must first be indentured by the State Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS). To become indentured you must:

  • Contact an employer on your own. Employment is a requirement of entering an apprenticeship.
  • Once you have an employer / sponsor, contact the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards to initiate the application process between you and your employer

See Requirements and Application for more details

Cost of Attendance

The Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of the costs that you may incur while attending Northwood Technical College.

Learn More About Cost of Attendance

Estimated Total Program Tuition 2023-24*

Cosmetology Apprentice

9 Credits | 2 years


*Tuition is an estimate and does not include any miscellaneous fees for various courses, tools, books, supplies or uniforms. Program book costs are in addition to tuition and fees and vary depending on course selection and where the books are purchased or rented. 

After the Northwood Tech Cosmetology Apprentice Program

Upon completion of the apprenticeship, you will receive a Completion Credential from the Department of Workforce Development Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards.

Professional Licensure and/or Certification Information

Northwood Tech’s Cosmetology Apprenticeship meets the requirements of the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards in Wisconsin. Northwood Tech has not made a determination whether this program meets licensure requirements in states other than Wisconsin. Students who may be seeking professional licensure in states other than Wisconsin should contact the appropriate apprenticeship bureau or licensing board in that state to verify that the Northwood Tech program meets licensure or certification requirements. To be eligible for testing and/or licensing in the state of Wisconsin, you may be required to obtain a social security number.


Eric Lockwood, Director, Apprenticeships and Academies
Email Eric

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