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Lead-Safe Wisconsin: Getting Certified to Work with Lead-Based Paint

You must go through training and get certified to work with lead-based paint in houses and child care centers built before 1978. Certification includes both individual and company certification. If you work for yourself, you must certify your company in a name you choose.

Lead-based paint work refers to:

  • Reducing harmful lead (called abatement).
  • Performing lead testing, inspection, and risk assessments.
  • Renovations that disturb paint, such as replacing windows or scraping paint before re-painting.
  • Post-renovation and post-abatement clearance, which includes dust wipe sampling to measure the amount of lead dust left behind.

Learn the difference between lead-safe renovation and lead abatement, P-03180 (PDF) .

Individual and company certification

There are several individual lead certification options. You can learn about them in our table: Certification Requirements for Lead Disciplines, P-00848 (PDF). Along with the certification type, you can find their corresponding certification fee and requirements for:

  • Prior education or experience.
  • Training.
  • A state certification exam.

The steps to certification are below. If you have questions, email us at DHSAsbestosLead@dhs.wisconsin.gov or call 608-261-6876.

  1. Apply to certify your company. If you work for yourself, you must certify your company under a name you choose. If you don’t work for yourself, you must work for a certified company. We recommend certifying your company before completing training so you can start working with your provisional certification. Learn more in the “Company certification” section.
  2. Get training and experience. Make sure you’ve met all the general education and experience requirements for the type of certification you’d like. Then complete the required training class or classes before you apply. Use our lead training providers directory for a list of companies offering accredited lead training classes.
  3. Apply to certify yourself. You can apply online for certification if you’re paying with Visa, MasterCard, or electronic check. If you’ve taken training outside of Wisconsin, or if you’re fee-exempt or prefer to pay by money order or paper check, don’t apply online. In these cases, complete a paper application and mail it to us. You can visit our lead and asbestos certification application page to:
  • Apply online.
  • Download forms.
  • Learn how to apply by mail.
  • Learn about expedited service and the fee waiver for veterans.

Since July 1, 2021, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has offered provisional certification to people who apply. This means you don’t have to wait to receive a certification card; you can start performing regulated work (meaning it requires certification) as soon as you apply. You just have to submit your application to DHS and take a copy of your training diploma (labeled “copy”) with you wherever you’re working. An electronic copy of the training diploma is acceptable.

Note: If you’re applying for lead inspector certification and haven’t yet submitted X-ray fluorescence analyzer (XRF) training, you’re only provisionally certified as a lead sampling technician. If you’re applying for lead risk assessor certification and haven’t yet submitted this training, you’re only provisionally certified as a lead hazard investigator.

  1. Determine whether you need to take a state certification exam. If you’re applying for lead abatement supervisor, inspector, hazard investigator, or risk assessor certification for the first time (or if you haven’t been certified in over a year), you must pass a state certification exam. Lead-safe renovators, sampling technicians, and abatement workers don’t have to take a state exam.

You’ll choose a testing location and pay for the state exam at the same time you apply for certification. When we receive your application, we’ll place you in the next available exam in your chosen city. If you’re otherwise qualified for certification, we’ll issue you an interim certification card, which is good for six months after you finish your training. With this card, you can work while waiting to take and pass the state exam. Once you pass the exam, we’ll issue you your initial certification card, which is good for two years after you finish your training.

Learn more about registering for a state certification exam.

If you’re applying for lead inspector or risk assessor certification, you also need to get trained, certified, and licensed to use an XRF device. Learn more about these additional requirements: 

  1. Have proof of certification with you. You must have your certification card with you (or a clear, legible copy; having it on your phone is also OK) when performing regulated work. If you’re working under provisional certification, you must have a copy of your training diploma with you.

If you’re a lead-safe renovator, abatement worker, or abatement supervisor and lost the cleaning verification card you received in your training class, you can email DHSAsbestosLead@dhs.wisconsin.gov to get a new one.

  1. Work safely using what you learned in training. Keep yourself, your employees, and your customers safe from hazardous lead dust. Learn more using these resources:

If you’re renovating a home or child care center that was built before 1978, you must first certify as a lead company. Learn how to get your company certified below. If you have questions, email us at DHSAsbestosLead@dhs.wisconsin.gov or call 608-261-6876.

  1. Get your staff appropriately trained and certified. Companies are responsible for using appropriately trained and certified people to perform this type of work. For example, a certified lead company must have one or more certified lead-safe renovators to assign to renovation projects. The same is true for a certified lead company hoping to conduct lead abatement work. Everyone on the abatement crew must, at a minimum, be a certified lead abatement worker under the supervision of at least one certified lead abatement supervisor. Similarly, a certified lead company may only use appropriately certified lead inspectors, hazard investigators, or risk assessors to conduct lead investigation activities.
  2. Certify your company. You can apply for lead or asbestos certification:
  1. Decide whether to include your company on our list of certified lead companies. If you’d like to include your company in our directory, let us know when you apply. We’ll include your company’s name, mailing address, phone number, email address, and website so people can contact you when they’re searching for a certified company. If you don’t name certified staff, your company won’t be listed.
Last revised February 1, 2023