DSPS Licensing Fee Press Release

Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services: Licensing fees reduced for nearly half of all regulated business and health professions

Reduced fees will impact an estimated 361,000 people applying for a Wisconsin license
For the first time in a decade, license and credential fees for 170 occupations regulated by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services will be reduced or maintained at their current levels. From accountants, cosmetologists and nurses to barbers, tattoo artists and social workers, application and renewal fees are going down or remaining the same due to a state-mandated fee study conducted every two years.

The new fees will take effect July 1, 2019—beginning with initial license applications received in the Department and/or postmarked on or after July 1, and for license renewals that have an effective date of July 1 or later. The fees are set through the next fiscal biennium, or July 1, 2021. View the Frequently Asked Questions for the fee changes (listed in Appendix C).

At least one of the fees (initial and/or renewal) were reduced for 127 licenses (approximately 75 percent). An estimated 361,000 individuals who apply for or renew a Wisconsin license (approximately 96 percent of all applicants) during the next biennium will receive a reduced fee. Initial application fees for nearly 50 percent of all applicants will see an average reduction of $26.78. Over 70 percent of all renewals will see an average reduction of $57.42. Most initial fees are set at $43 with a maximum fee of $75.

“Thanks to technology integration and advancements, the Department can better manage resources needed to regulate professional licenses and credentials while passing on those savings to our customers,” said Secretary-designee Dawn B. Crim. “Lowering financial barriers for people who enter these professions for the first time as well as making the renewal process more affordable promotes economic growth and stability while protecting the citizens of Wisconsin who rely on these professional services.”

Wisconsin State Statute § 440.03(9)(a) requires the Department of Safety and Professional Services to conduct a professional licensure fee study every two years to adjust fees for the succeeding fiscal biennium. According to the statute, fees charged to occupations and businesses under the Department’s authority must reflect the approximate administrative and enforcement costs of regulating those professions under chapters 440 to 480 of Wisconsin Statutes.

The new fees are based on actual operating costs and revenues for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018). A detailed explanation of how the fees were recalculated, including licensure/credential participation rates, complaints and investigations, and adjustments for inflation can be found in the attached and linked Frequently Asked Questions.

The 2009-2011 biennium was the last time major adjustments were made to the fees. Since then, there have been only minor adjustments, as well as the addition of several licensed professions or businesses.

About the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services: The mission of the Department of Safety and Professional Services is to promote economic growth and stability while protecting the citizens of Wisconsin as designated by statute. The Department is responsible for ensuring the safe and competent practice of more than 440,000 health, business and trades professionals licensed in Wisconsin. The Department also administers and enforces laws to assure safe and sanitary conditions in public and private buildings.

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