An easy guide for cosmetologists, manicurists, estheticians, and massage therapists.
California and Florida share a few similarities such as warm weather, beaches, and palm trees. But they are actually two very different places. At Florida Cosmetologist, we are partial to the Sunshine State. Florida has a lot to offer those moving here, like lower taxes, white sandy beaches, and (obviously) Publix.
But seriously, if you are thinking about making Florida your new home, we know you need to get to work too. This means obtaining the proper license or registration you need to practice your craft, art, or trade.
Licensing can be both confusing and time-consuming. However, do not let this process deter your move. We have helped thousands of professionals like you from all over the country (actually the world) transfer licenses to Florida. We have made this easy guide to help you survive the licensing process, so you can concentrate on all of the other things you need to do to make this cross-country move happen.
Step 1: Compare License Requirements
The first thing we recommend is to compare the requirements you have completed for your California license to the requirements for licenses and registrations in Florida.
Current Requirements for California Licenses in Each Profession
- Cosmetologists: 1600 hours with a written and practical exam
- Estheticians: 600 hours with a written and practical exam
- Manicurists: 350 hours with a written and practical exam
- Barbers: 1500 hours with a written and practical exam
- Massage Therapists: 500 hours (Beginning in 2019, the MBLEx will not be required in California)
Current Requirements for Florida Licenses or Registrations in Each Profession
- Cosmetologists: 1,200 hours with a written exam
- Nail Specialists: 240 hours
- Facial Specialists: 260 hours
- Full Specialists: 500 hours
- *Florida has a special registration for those that have both nail and facial requirements.
- Barbers: 1000 hours and a written examination
- Hair Braiders and Wrappers: 16-hour Florida board-approved course
- Massage Therapists: 500 Hours and Florida board-approved exam
Step 2: Find Your Application
Below are the applications for endorsement only. Endorsement means the applicant is:
attempting to qualify for licensure in Florida without having to take an examination by holding an active license in another state or country whose requirements for licensure are comparable or more stringent than Florida requirements.
California is on Florida’s list of states meeting Florida’s endorsement requirements. California being on this list does not guarantee your eligibility for licensure by endorsement. The list is intended only as a guide for potential applicants.
You will apply for a cosmetology license with the Florida Board of Cosmetology.
You will apply for a nail specialist registration with the Florida Board of Cosmetology.
You will apply as a facial specialist with the Florida Board of Cosmetology.
Manicurist + Esthetician (Dual License)
If you meet the requirements for both nail and facial specialists registrations, you can apply as a full specialist with Florida Board of Cosmetology.
You will apply for a Barber license with the Florida Barbers’ Board.
Massage therapy is regulated under the Florida Department of Health and all cosmetology professions are regulated under the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Therefore, the processes for obtaining both licenses are quite different.
If you plan to obtain a massage license too, here is where you can complete the 10-hour Law and Rules course requirement for a massage license.
Step 3: Obtain Your California Verifications
Cosmetologists, manicurists, estheticians, and barbers are all regulated by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. If you need to obtain a verification or licensure certification, this is who you will contact for this request. Again, not every license or registration is required to submit a verification.
The endorsement application does not specifically request a verification, but does say the applicant should (if requested) demonstrate:
Completion of at least 1,200 cosmetology school hours substantially similar to, equivalent to, or greater than the qualifications required of applicants from Florida; AND Passed a written examination for licensure that is substantially similar to, equivalent to, or greater than the qualifications required of applicants from Florida.
Nail, Facial, and Full Specialists
The applications state:
Applicant must only submit a license certification from the state where the applicant holds a current and active license/registration, so long as the certification verifies the number of educational hours completed.
The application states:
Applicant must only submit a licensure certification from the state in which the applicant currently holds an active license for barbering. A certificate of licensure can be obtained by contacting that state’s licensing organization. The certificate of licensure must bear the state seal and indicate verification of hours completed in school and passing scores on the examination.
Step 4: Complete a Board Approved Initial HIV/AIDS Course
All cosmetology board applicants (Cosmetologists, Facial Specialists, Nail Specialists, and Full Specialists) are required to complete a Florida Cosmetology Board approved Initial 4-hour HIV/AIDS course. You will need to include a certificate of the completed course with the application. We offer this course online, with certificate available immediately after completion.
All barber board applicants are required to take a Florida Barber Board approved 2-hour HIV/AIDS course for licensure and submit it with their application.
Licensing issues should not prevent you from packing your boxes and enjoying the adventure of living in a new state, even if it is across the country! We suggest starting the process as early as possible in case you encounter any processing delays. Big life goals and changes like this start with small steps.
Let us know if you have any other questions by leaving a comment below. Thanks!