I have a cosmetology license in (insert state), but I am considering moving to (insert different state). I really do not want to give up my other license. What happens to my old license? Can I have two cosmetology (nail or facial) licenses?
Of course, you can! Trust me.
I have had multiple professional licenses in multiple states for many years. I have helped thousands of applicants get licensed in the massage and cosmetology fields in a second state. And I have written many articles on license reciprocity, or the lack thereof, in the health and beauty fields. Here are some questions you probably have as you prepare to move or get licensed in another state.
Multiple License FAQ
Can I work with my old (insert state) cosmetology license in the new state I am moving to?
Let’s revisit reciprocity for a moment. What does reciprocity mean? Basically, it means that you can’t work legally as a cosmetologist in Iowa just because you have a Texas cosmetology/operator license. It is most likely that you need to first obtain an Iowa cosmetology license to legally work in Iowa, or whichever state you are planning to work. A cosmetology license is not like a driver’s license. You cannot drive from Arizona into Texas with your Arizona cosmetology license and call yourself a licensed cosmetologist (or “operator”) in Texas. It just does not work that way right now.
The good news is that it doesn’t matter which state you are coming from or going to, as long as you meet the requirements of each state, pay the licensing fees, and complete the renewal requirements in each state – there is no reason you cannot have multiple licenses in multiple states.
Okay, I recently got licensed in a new state. What happens to my old license?
Nothing happens to that license. Once Florida (or wherever) issues your new hair, nail, or facial license – your old license doesn’t automatically expire or get taken away by the cosmetology license fairy. If you let that old license expire, it expires. If you keep it active, it stays active.
Really, you can have a license in every state if you meet all the requirements and pay all the fees. It would get incredibly expensive and crazy to organize fifty license renewals.
Do I have to take a board exam? Or Do I have to take a board exam again?
Every state is different. Some states require you to take an exam, complete a practical, or submit an approved 4-hour HIV course certificate (like Florida).
Some states have practicals or exams for nail and skincare licenses, some don’t. Just because you didn’t have to take an exam to get your Florida nail license does not mean you will not have to take an exam to get your Nevada nail license. You have to play by each state’s rules.
If you have been licensed for thirty years and never took an exam, you may (may!) need to take one if you move. I know. I know. They do not let me make the rules. Trust me.
Now that you know you can have two licenses, here is some advice from someone that has been there and done that.
1. Keep Your Old License Active
You do not know the future. Most of you want to keep your original cosmetology, facial, or nail license. However, I know many people will let that license expire as soon as it allows. Maybe you have told all of your friends and family that you are never going to return. Well, guess what, a few of you will. Sometimes within a year. I see this situation from time to time. Things in the new state may not work out, or you may find that you are unexpectedly needed back home.
I promise having that other license ready to go back to work in your home state will come in handy. The initial costs of licensing are always the most expensive. Once you have your license, it is not that much to maintain two licenses. I pay less than $200 for the renewal of two licenses every two years.
2. Stay Organized With Continuing Education and Multiple Renewal Deadlines
While you are living in Illinois it is easier to forget the Ohio January 15th deadline. Or get it confused with Illinois’ September deadline.
Unlike some other professions, most states have fairly specific requirements for renewals. The chances of you getting to use your Ohio continuing education hours to renew your Florida hours (or vice versa) are slim. Be prepared to take multiple sanitation courses that meet each state’s requirements.
3. Follow the Scope of Practice Wherever You Practice
Just because you can dermaplane here doesn’t mean you can dermaplane there. Read the state rules and laws wherever you move to – don’t assume. Follow their laws and rules when you work in that state.
How to Get Started on That Next License
Visit the State’s Cosmetology Board Website
Applications often have important steps and information about the requirements for getting licensed in that state.
Look for applications that say any of the below:
- Reciprocity applicants
- Endorsement applicants
- Out of State applicants
Read those applications thoroughly. It is easy to miss details.
4. Start the Licensing Process Early!
I cannot tell you how many times I have seen an email that says, “I have a job at a salon waiting for me and I need to get my license ASAP.”
Getting a professional license takes time and you should plan ahead whenever you can. The licensing process can take a couple of weeks to a few months. You may have an exam, required course, license verifications to request, or old transcripts to find.
The licensing process is often overwhelming and exciting. If you feel that way, you are not alone. Be persistent and patient with the process. Most of all, enjoy this new professional adventure.
If Florida is your new destination, check this post out on transferring your cosmetology license (hair, nails, or facial) to Florida.
Sylvie Longe Yenghoke says
Hello I’m a licensed cosmetologist from Texas and now living in Florida for the past 3weeks and will like to transfer my cosmetology license here under the state of Florida. How do I contact them?
Ivy Hultquist says
Here is a page that should help you get started.
If your TX license is active, then you should be able to apply by endorsement to FL.
Fareedah Brown says
I have a Natural Hair Care Specialist license in NC. I did not have to got to school for this license and grandfathered in because I was doing natural hair in salons for 15years before they past the law for us to be licensed. I did however, go before the state board in NC and past the practical and written exams and received my license. I have now moved to Florida and want to become licensed in Florida while keeping my license in NC. Does Florida have a procedure for obtaining a Natural Hair Care license that does not require schooling?
Ivy Hultquist says
I would contact the Florida board office about this. I am not sure what all you are allowed to do in NC with a Natural Care specialist license. Hopefully they should be able to provide you with some guidance on this issue.
Gina Colonna says
If your license is not expired you can go to a tech school that has a cosmetology school and ask the instructor to sign off on it. You have to have your license with you and school certificate. You have 1500 hours in Fl and 1200 in NC so you shouldn’t need anymore school
I finished Nail Tech school in Louisiana and is moving to Florida . I haven’t gotten my license. Will I be allowed to get licensed in Florida.
Ivy Hultquist says
I would contact the FL board. I believe endorsement candidates need to have an active license in another state.
Sharon Faircloth Cunningham says
Georgia won’t honor resaporsity with Master Cosmetologist. Originally licensed in Florida, moved to California, but Georgia say no?
I have nail and facial licenses from FL I’m moving to NC and it looks like I can’t get my licenses in NC . What can I do?
Ivy Hultquist says
Are your hours not enough? I would contact the NC board and see what they recommend. Then contact some schools in NC to see if they have any recommendations.
Natalie Poirier says
Thank you in advance for this website it has been a lifeline for me.
I am a Cosmetologist, Master Esthetician and a Master Energy Practitioner ( Reiki/ Acupressure/ Holistic Therapeutic Touch/ Reflexologist) licensed in Ct, previously Ma.
Now in Florida, I have been waiting for my Cosmotology License ( application still processing since this past May, it’s 9/6/22).
I am in LMT school due to learning I can not legally practice my holistic therapies under my Cosmotology License here in Florida. I was a holistic spa owner and was able to offer my treatments for years until now, it’s so hard. I will not be finished with my LMT hours to sit for the Mblex until Jan. I have an opportunity to work at a holistic spa and am wondering how I can offer my services?
I have emailed the state and sat on the telephone waiting to talk with someone, would you suggest I email them about this situation? I felt like there was no room for me to do my energy work until I am a LMT. Is this accurate even with my background, and current Dual License? ( I’m sorry I know this message is so convoluted I hope I’m being clear).
Is there anyway I can use my Ct license for this holistic practice until I graduate from LMT school?
I’ve taken the HIV class ( thanks to your website guiding me back in the Spring to do so, thank you very much for the help) yet the board had the wrong dates so they said they are now processing my paperwork. I think this was the holdup for my license. I understand the situation with so many people moving to Florida but I am needing to work and help support our family. Any advice on what I should do to stay within the legal scope of practice and still offer my energy work?
Any advice or guidance is appreciated. Thank you again Ivy.
Ivy Hultquist says
Happy to help! I generally do not give out scope advice, since I am not a lawyer. And without knowing what you mean by “holistic” I cannot say if it all falls under massage therapy or not. Most of it likely does. I really doubt that those would fall under your cosmetology license though. In my opinion, none of those things you listed fall under the cosmo scope. You could always consult with a lawyer about your energy work and see if they have any advice for you.
I am really concerned about your license application taking since May! Have they sent you a deficiency letter? Or can you check online on your application to see what you are missing? This is months too long to wait for that to be issued for an endorsement license.
I do also run http://www.floridamassage.com if you ever have any other questions about your massage license.
I have a New York cosmetologist license. I want to apply for a Florida license. Will I be able to apply for the endorsement license. New York has 1,000 hrs and Florida is 1,200?? I did the 4 hr course HIV. Ready to do the application. Also have New York send a certificate proof of my license. What else do I have to do? Or just wait to see if they approve me ??
Ivy Hultquist says
It sounds like you have everything in order. I would not expect to wait too long now. As long as your NYS license is active, I wouldn’t expect any issues. If they have any other issues with your application, they will send you a deficiency letter and tell you want other information they need.
Best wishes in Florida!