You made it through cosmetology school (1200 hours!). You are only one step away from your dream career in Florida!
That last step may feel difficult.
If you graduated from a Florida cosmetology program or are moving to Florida and not able to apply by endorsement, you must pass the Florida cosmetology exam to get your Florida cosmetology license.
I know you want to pass your exam and get your Florida cosmetology license with as little stress as possible. You may be confused about the requirements and even a little (or a lot) nervous about taking a professional licensing exam.
Whatever you do, do not let this exam get in the way of your career plans. Even if you struggle with exam anxiety, previously failed, or are taking the exam after being out of school for years; I believe you can do this.
I talk to people in similar situations all the time who go on to pass their exam and get their license. A majority of the time, people just do not know where to begin. The unknown creates anxiety and typically halts progress towards goals or dreams.
I will walk you step by step through this process and hopefully calm the fear of the unknown along the way. Plus, I have a short practice quiz for you at the end of the article.
Florida does not use the National-Interstate Council of Board of Cosmetology (NIC) exam like many other state cosmetology boards. Florida has its own cosmetology exam and its own registration process. They do not require you to demonstrate your talents, or have a practical exam. Florida only requires a written exam.
This may be disappointing. Many creatives, like yourself, prefer practical exams to written exams. Instead of focusing on things you and I can’t change, let’s prepare to pass this exam.
Here is everything you need to know to schedule, take, and pass the Florida Cosmetology Exam – so you can get licensed!
Florida Cosmetology Exam Requirements
You may be eligible to take the Florida Cosmetology Exam if you:
- Graduated from a Florida cosmetology school
- Have a cosmetology license in another country and cannot get your Florida license by endorsement
- Have at least 1,000 hours of education from another state and have held a cosmetology license for at least one year
Step 1: Apply for a Florida Cosmetology License
After successfully completing your educational hours, you will first need to submit a completed cosmetology examination application to the Department of Professional Business Regulation, specifically the Cosmetology Board, along with the applicable fees.
The fee for a Florida cosmetology license is $63.50.
Step 2: Schedule Your Exam
Once the examination application has been approved by the cosmetology board office, you will receive a written notification from the board’s examination vendor, Pearson VUE, to schedule a date and time for your cosmetology examination. Once you have received your notice from Pearson Vue, go to their website, choose your exam, and create an account. You will also have the option to take the exam in English or Spanish.
To create an account and schedule your exam, you will need:
- Your FLBPR ID number/Candidate Identification number listed on your authorization notice
- Payment method
- Credit card number, check, or voucher
- The fee is $15.75 for the written clinical exam
- The fee is $15.75 for the written theory exam
You will need to provide:
- Your full name, address, and a daytime telephone number
- The location of the test center where you prefer to take your exam
- In 2020, due to COVID, there is a new option to take the exam remotely (at home!) via Pearson. There is more on Remote Online Proctored Testing in the candidate handbook.
Find the Pearson Vue testing location nearest you here.
Step 3: Take Exam
I broke this step down into three parts.
1. Arriving at the exam center (if you choose to take it at a test center)
2. Taking the exam
3. Getting your results
Part 1: Arriving at the Exam Center on Exam Day
You should arrive at the test center 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to ensure adequate time to sign in and get settled. You will feel much better if you are not running late. If you arrive more than 15 minutes late to your scheduled time, you may be refused admission and your exam fees will be forfeited.
Pearson Vue Admission and Identification Policy
You must show two forms of identification when you arrive for your exams. The name on both identifications must match the name on the appointment. Failure to provide identification matching the above name will result in your not being admitted to the exam and forfeiting the exam fee.
If you provided an incorrect name, contact the Florida Department of Business and Regulation Customer Contact Center at 850-487-1395 to have your name corrected and your authorization updated.
One form of identification (primary) must be a government-issued photo-identification that is valid and unexpired. The second form of identification (secondary) must contain a signature.
Acceptable forms of identification include:
- Valid, unexpired driver’s license
- Valid, unexpired passport
- Valid, unexpired military ID card
- Valid, unexpired state ID card
- Signed U.S. Social Security card
- Signed debit/(ATM) card
- Signed credit card
- Another form of ID on the Primary identification list
Exam Room Tips
No personal items. You are not allowed to bring any personal items into the testing room. This includes all unauthorized books, bags, purses notes, phones, pagers, watches, and wallets. Pearson centers do have lockers for you to place personal items in during your exam.
You are permitted to bring pre-approved resources found under “Supplies” in the Candidate Information Booklet for Cosmetology found on the DBPR website.
Dress in layers. There is no way for you to control the temperature of the room. You will want to be comfortable during your exam to perform your best.
No tools needed. Again, this section is not a practical exam. You do not need to bring mannequins, tools, or perform techniques in front of an examiner.
Part 2: Taking the Exam
The exam is actually two separate examinations, a written theory exam and a written clinical exam, hence the two separate fees. If you do not pass either part of the exam, you will need to retake just that part of the exam and the exam fee will need to be paid again. After successfully passing both portions of the cosmetology examination, you will be issued a Florida cosmetology license.
Both exams are completed on a computer. Each exam has 65 multiple choice questions and a 90 minute time limit. All questions are weighted equally, meaning one question is not worth more than another question. You can mark a question for review and come back to it later and also move forward or backward one question at a time.
The summary screen, which can be accessed at any time during the examination, shows testers the following:
- Number of questions answered
- Number of questions unanswered and/or skipped
- Time remaining for the examination
Exam Content Breakdown
The Florida Board of Cosmetology posts a content outline of the exam. Here is what you can expect to be tested on during your exam.
Written Theory Exam
Again, the written theory exam consists of 65 multiple choice questions with a 90 minute time limit.
- General Safety and Sanitation Procedures (34%)
- Client Services (24%)
- Facials, Make-up and Hair Removal (16%)
- Manicuring and Pedicuring (16%)
- Professional/Legal and Ethical/Laws and Rules (10%)
Written Clinical Exam
The clinical exam also consists of 65 multiple choice questions with a 90 minute time limit.
- Hair Coloring and Lightening (39%)
- Permanent Waving and Chemical Relaxing (34%)
- Scalp and Hair Care (5%)
- Hair Cutting/Shaping (10%)
- Hair Styling (12%)
As you can see, the subject of General Safety and Sanitation Procedures is 34% of the Written Theory Exam. This means 34% of 65 questions (or 22 questions) on your exam to pertain to the subject of Safety and Sanitation.
All references used for the exam can also be found in the candidate handbook under “References”. References include, but are not limited to, Chapter 477 (The Florida Cosmetology Act), Chapter 61G5 Florida Administrative Code (Rules and Regulations of the Florida Cosmetology Board), Milady Standard: Cosmetology (2012), Salon Fundamentals: A Resource for Your Cosmetology Career (2010 Edition), Playing It Safe: Milady’s Guide to Decontamination, Sterilization, and Personal Protection, and HIV/AIDS & HEPATITIS: Everything You Need to Know to Protect Yourself and Others.
Part 3: Getting Your Results
Once the exam is complete it will be scored and you will immediately be provided with the results. Examination scores are reported as a scaled score. The minimum score needed to pass each section of the exam is 75%. The Florida Board of Cosmetology will be notified about your results by Pearson Vue.
If you fail one or both parts of the exam, you are eligible to retest after the submission of a reexamination application.
If you pass both sections, the board will issue your Florida cosmetology license if all other requirements have been met. Congrats!
Step 4: Complete an HIV/AIDS Course (Florida Transfers ONLY)
All applicants moving to Florida will need to complete a board-approved 4-hour Initial HIV/AIDS course. You can complete our Florida Cosmetology Board-Approved 4-hour HIV/AIDS course online and be one step closer to having your Florida cosmetology license.
That is it!
It is normal to be nervous about taking a professional exam. There is no way to know the exact questions that will be on your exam, but being familiar with the process and outline will help reduce anxiety and increase confidence.
The cosmetology industry if full of endless opportunities that many people will never explore. It is time for you to crush this exam and begin your dream career in the Sunshine State.
I would love for you to share your questions, struggles, and success stories in the comments below!