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.