Welcome to Florida Cosmetologist!
Do you have questions about how to:
- tell the differences between each Florida cosmetology license type (cosmetologist, full specialist, nail specialist, or facial specialist) and what services each license type can offer
- find a Florida cosmetology school
- transfer your license to Florida
- renew your Florida cosmetology board license
- get your expired or null and void Florida cosmetology board license back
We know you have a lot to think about right now with moving, finding a job, running a salon, working, or changing careers. Right? And we want to answer all of your questions and help you get your license issued or CE hours completed quickly and easily.
By now, you have probably visited the Florida Cosmetology Board website and you may be confused by what you need to do to get licensed or renew your license. You are not alone. It is easy to be overwhelmed with the State’s wording, laws, and requirements.
We have worked with thousands of others looking to get licensed or renew a license in Florida. Some are:
- starting their journey into the cosmetology field and trying to choose the right license type to pursue or training program
- “transferring” to Florida and need help navigating the application process and requirements
- beginning the renewal process for the first or fifteenth time and want to make sure they get the correct course for this renewal cycle
- trying to renew a delinquent or null and void license
Regardless of your situation, we will work step-by-step through the process to help you get the answers you need quickly.
Cosmetology License Types
First, let’s compare the four different license types from the Florida Cosmetology Board.
- Nail Specialist
- Facial Specialist
- Full Specialist
A licensed cosmetologist is a professional that offers hair, skin, and nail services. An equivalent license in another state could be titled hair stylist, stylist, or hairdresser or beautician. Cosmetologists have the highest educational hour requirements, but are licensed to provide the widest variety of services. If you obtain a cosmetology license, there is no need to seek separate nail or facial registrations.
A facial specialist can offer a variety of facial treatments, makeup applications, as well as waxing and skincare services. An equivalent license in another state may be an esthetician, aesthetician, skin care specialist, or make-up artist.
To learn more about this license type, click here.
A nail specialist can offer manicures, pedicures, nail enhancements, and artificial nails. An equivalent license in another state could be titled manicurist, pedicurist, or nail tech / nail technician.
To learn more about this license type, click here.
A full specialist is a combination of nail specialist and facial specialist registrations. This means they can offer all the services that a nail specialist can offer plus all the services that a facial specialist can offer, but no hair services.
To learn more about this license type, click here.
Which Services Can Each Cosmetology License Type Offer in Florida?
Here is a quick chart to show you which services each cosmetology license type can provide in Florida.
|Hair Services||Nail Services||Skincare Services|
|Cutting, styling, coloring, or waving the hair||Cutting, polishing, extending the nails||Facials, waxing, brow and lash services|
I Have a Question About Offering a Certain Service?
Wondering if you can use lasers, shampoo hair and paint nails without a license, or service alcohol at your salon or with your license type. Check out the Board’s FAQ page.
If you do not see the service listed on the Board scope FAQ section, please contact the Board. We are not able to give you scope of practice advice.
What Happened to Hair Braiding Licenses?
As of July 1st, 2020 hair braiding, hair wrapping, and body wrapping services are no longer regulated in Florida.
Does the Florida Board of Cosmetology License Barbers?
No. Barbering in Florida is under the Florida Barber’s board. They issue Barber, Restricted Barber, and Barbershop licenses. To read more about barber licenses, visit our Florida Barber license page.
Why Should I Get a Cosmetology Board License?
Here are three reasons to get licensed by the cosmetology board or begin this career.
1. It Is Required by Law
If you want to work as a cosmetologist, nail, facial, or full specialist, the law requires that you have an active license issued by the State.
2. There Is Always a Demand for Personal Care Services
Even in economic downturns, people still value personal care and appearance. The lipstick effect is a consumerism term to describe an individual’s willingness to spend more money on personal appearance than other discretionary spending during periods of financial difficulty.
3. An Opportunity to Express Your Creativity
The beauty industry offers an outlet to express your creativity and help others feel good about themselves. This leads to high levels of job satisfaction in the field.
Florida Salon License – Where Can Cosmetologists, Facial, Nail, or Full Specialists Work?
Most compensated cosmetology services (including nail and facial services) must be performed in a licensed cosmetology salon. There are two types of salon licenses:
- Cosmetology Salons
- Mobile Cosmetology Salons
If you plan on opening your own business (salon, studio, or spa) and offering any cosmetology services, you will need to also obtain the appropriate salon license. Or if you are looking for employment, make sure the salon has the required license.
Can I Work as a Cosmetologist, Nail, Facial, or Full Specialist at Home?
Yes, as long as the location has a salon license. Some cities do not allow home salon businesses, so check with your local government office for questions about obtaining a business or occupational license.
For more information on opening your own Florida salon or barbershop, you can visit our Florida Salon License page.
Salary Range for Each Cosmetology License Type
Salaries in the cosmetology field can vary greatly. This is because there are many variables that can affect earnings, such as:
- Part-time or Full-time positions
- Type of license held
- Services provided
Some cosmetology professionals make more, and some make less. Keep that in mind when reviewing the below numbers.
|License Type||Average Annual Salary|
What Is a Cosmetologist’s Salary in Florida?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for cosmetologists was $29,680 per year, or $14.27 per hour. Expected job growth over the next few years is 19% (much faster than average).
What Is a Nail Specialist’s Salary in Florida?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for nail specialists was $29,210 per year, or $14.05 per hour.
The nail industry job outlook is good as it is expected to grow 33% over the next 10 years (much faster than average).
What Is a Facial Specialist’s Salary in Florida?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for facial specialists was $37,000, or $18 dollars an hour.
What Is a Full Specialist’s Salary in Florida?
A full specialist is a combination of a nail specialist and a facial specialist.
Since this is a unique license type it is difficult to find accurate salary information. Our best guess is that the full specialist salary is between a facial and nail specialist salary $29,000-$37,000 a year, or $14 to $18 an hour.
Commonly Held Dual License Types
Most cosmetology license types already provide you with the ability to offer a variety of services. However, you may choose to get additional training and obtain other professional licenses along with your cosmetology, nail, or facial license. Here are three popular professional licenses to also consider.
There are a few things a barber can do that a cosmetologist cannot do, and vice versa. Barbers can shave the face, but cannot offer any nail or skincare (waxing) services.
|License Type||Hours||Nails and Skincare Services (Waxing)||Chemical Services (Color/Perm)||Shave the Face|
|Restricted Barber||600 hours||No||No||Yes|
Completing a barber crossover program allows a cosmetologist to also obtain a barber license and offer barber services. Most crossover programs have seen advertised are around 300 hours.
Want to learn more about the differences between cosmetologists and barbers? Check out this page on Cosmetologists vs Barbers.
To obtain a Florida massage license you need to complete a minimum of 500 hours from a Board-approved school and pass the MBLEx exam.
There are a few reasons why many cosmetologists may choose to become massage therapists. One reason is that they may want to provide their clients with a more complete beauty and relaxation experience. Many cosmetologists are also interested in the health benefits of massage therapy, which can help improve circulation, reduce stress, and promote overall wellness.
Click to learn more about Florida massage licenses.
Yes, it may sound crazy, but if you plan to offer any microblading or permanent makeup services, you will need to also obtain a Florida tattoo artist license.
Click the link to learn more about microblading in Florida.
How to become a cosmetologist, nail, facial, or full specialist
Florida Minimum Hours Requirements
How many hours does each license type require in Florida? In 2020, Florida reduced the number of hours of three of the license types. Below are the current minimum requirements.
|Full Specialist||400 hours|
|Nail Specialist||180 hours|
|Facial Specialist||220 hours|
To obtain a cosmetology license in Florida, you must complete at least 1200 hours from a Board-approved school and pass the Florida cosmetology practical and theory exams.
To obtain a nail specialist license in Florida, you must complete at least 180 hours from a Board-approved school. There is no state exam.
To obtain a facial specialist license in Florida, you must complete at least 220 hours from a Board-approved school. There is no state exam.
To obtain a full specialist license in Florida, you must complete at least 400 hours from a Board-approved school. There is no state exam.
Florida Cosmetology Schools – Where to Find Training?
The Florida Board of Cosmetology requires all cosmetology schools to be licensed by the board. Most schools offer programs for cosmetologists, nail specialists, facial specialists, full specialists. Some even over barber crossover training programs.
If you are still looking for a cosmetology school in Florida to attend, check out our Florida cosmetology school guide.
Can I Complete Cosmetology, Facial, Nail or Full Specialist Program Online?
This is a common question. But, no, you cannot complete any of the required training completely online. You must complete classroom hours and practical hours in-person at a licensed Florida cosmetology school.
Training Cost Estimate
Wondering how much cosmetology school may cost? Tuition at Florida cosmetology schools vary depending on the cosmetology license type program you choose. The more hours your license requires, the more expensive it will be.
Here is a quick breakdown of estimated tuition costs from some cosmetology schools in Florida.
|License Type||Average School Tuition Costs|
|Full Specialist Program||$6,500.00|
|Nail Specialist Program||$2,500.00|
|Facial Specialist Program||$4,000.00|
The average cost of a cosmetology school program in Florida is $13,500. The average cost of a nail specialist program in Florida is $2500. The average cost of a facial specialist program in Florida is $4000. The average cost of a full specialist program in Florida is $6500.
Scholarships Are Often Available!
There are many scholarships available to those interested in pursuing a career in cosmetology. The Florida Department of Education offers a list of current scholarships on their website.
How to Get Your Florida License
Step 1: Meet the Minimum Hours Requirement for Your License Type
It may be as little as 180 hours (Nail Specialist), or as many as 1200 hours (Cosmetologist).
Step 2: Apply for Your License
After you have completed the necessary minimum educational requirements, you will then need to apply for your license. If you have applied for a nail, facial, or full specialist license, the Florida Board of Cosmetology will issue your license as long as you have met all the requirements and paid the required fees. Cosmetologists have one last step.
Step 3: Take the State Board Exam, if Required
The Florida cosmetology exam is only for cosmetologists. Nail, facial, and full specialists are not required to take a state board exam.
About the Florida Cosmetology Exam
How Long Does It Take To Get My License Once I Apply?
Once you have submitted your application, it takes anywhere from one to three weeks to get your license issued. Licenses are issued in the order they are received.
If something is missing from your application, the DBPR will send you a deficiency letter telling you what they need you to send to them. The DBPR will email your license to you once your license number has been issued. You can then print off your new license and display it in the salon.
Transferring Your License to Florida
First, there really is no such thing as “transferring” any of the cosmetology license types and to Florida. A California nail tech license, for example, does not allow one to legally work as a nail specialist in Florida. A person must have a Florida cosmetology (or insert your specialty) license to work here.
Out-of-State or Endorsement Applications
If you have a cosmetology license in another state, you may be eligible for licensing by endorsement in Florida. This means that the education and requirements in your state meet or exceed what Florida requires AND your license is currently active in that state.
In 2020, Florida made it much easier for applicants with valid/active licenses in other states to get licenses in Florida.
For more information about transferring your cosmetology, nail, or esthetics license to Florida, visit our guide on how to transfer a cosmetology license to Florida.
4-Hour HIV/AIDS Course
All applicants, for any cosmetology license type, must complete a 4-hour HIV/AIDS course prior to licensure. The course can be taken online from a board-approved provider.
If you are applying for a license, here is a link to our 4-hour HIV/AIDS course. It can be taken any time, online, and includes a license application checklist.
Renewing Your Florida Cosmetology Board License
All cosmetology license types have the exact same renewal process and continuing education requirements.
To renew your license, you will need to complete 10 hours of continuing education and complete the renewal application and submit the appropriate fee.
Renewal courses can be completed online. Click to view our 10-hour continuing education renewal course.
Learn more about Florida license renewals.
How Often Do I Need to Renew My Cosmetology Board License?
All license types need to be renewed every two years by October 31st. The year you renew your license depends on if you are in Group 1 or Group 2.
If you do not know which group you belong to, check your displayed license, or look online here.
Delinquent and Expired Licenses or “Null and Void” Applications
Did you miss the last renewal deadline, or miss like five of them?
We have an entire page devoted to what to do if you have an expired, delinquent, or null-and-void cosmetologist, nail, facial, and full specialist license.
In summary, if your license (any of them) is delinquent (you only missed one renewal deadline), you need a 10-hour Florida cosmetology continuing education course package. Here is a link to that course.
If your license is null and void (you missed more than one renewal deadline), you need a 4-hour HIV/AIDS course. Here is a link to that course.
Taking the Next Steps
Whether you are just researching different cosmetology careers, moving to Florida, renewing your license, or jumping back in the field – we hope we have you the next steps you need to get started on your unique journey.
We wish you the best!