Your cosmetology school gave you a toolbox full of marketable skills. From day one you’ve been providing flawless facials, high-quality pedicures, and fixing failed box colors.
But, now you are moving to another state. You’re unfamiliar with terms like reciprocity and endorsement. You simply weren’t prepared for what comes next – appling for a license in another state.
If this sounds familiar, keep reading. You probably have some questions. I can help.
For the last few years, I have held multiple professional licenses in multiple states and have helped others do the same. I’ve walked thousands of applicants through the process of becoming licensed in the massage and cosmetology fields in a second state.
Let’s start with a few of the most frequently asked questions I receive:
FAQs for Multiple Licenses in Multiple States
Can I work legally with my old cosmetology license in the new state I’ve just moved to?
Yes and no, there’s a process.
Before jumping into the answer, we need to understand the word reciprocity better.
The Cosmetology License Reciprocity (or transfer) defers greatly state to state. Simply put, the license you have today from (insert your state) does not mean you can immediately begin working as a cosmetologist in another state.
There is a process to reciprocity, and each state has a different one. Don’t expect to show up on day one able to work. You have to go through the right process to legally work in your new location.
There is good news, though!
Meet the requirements of both states, pay the licensing fees, and complete the renewal requirements in each state and you can hold multiple licenses.
What happens to my old license once I get licensed in my new state?
Your old license doesn’t disappear or suddenly get revoked. If you pay the fees and complete the renewal requirements, it stays active.
Technically, you could hold a license in every state. However, doing so would be extremely expensive and time-consuming.
Do I have to take/retake a board exam?
The rules are different in every state. I know, it can be a headache if you move a lot or if you’ve been in the business for decades and never before had to take an exam and suddenly do, but I didn’t make the rules.
Some states have practicals or exams while some don’t. For instance, Florida will have you submit an approved 4 hour HIV course certificate while California simply requires hours equal to or greater than their training requirements to qualify for reciprocity. Alaska will even take into account the years worked in your previous state when adding up qualified hours.
There is no national standard for licensing, no one person or committee made up these rules. It is on a state by state basis.
Here’s my hard earned wisdom on holding multiple state licenses
Now that you know it is possible to have more than one license in multiple states, here’s a little advice.
Keep Your Old License Active
It’s easy to let the old license expire. Date slip by us, money gets tight, or maybe you are determined to never return to where you started.
Regardless of your reasons for moving the truth is that none of us have a crystal ball. We can’t tell the future. If 2020 taught us anything its that our plans can be disrupted and overturned in a second.
Having the option to go back home or to your previous network of friends is worth holding onto.
The most expensive aspect of licensing is the initial costs. Once you have the license, maintaining it is not that expensive. For less than $200 I am able to renew both of my licenses every two years.
Keep the old license active and keep your options open.
It’s easy to get dates and classes confused when keeping more than one license active.
The majority of states have very specific requirements for renewals that include continuing education hours. The likelihood of applying your courses from one state to another is slim to none. This means you will likely have to take some courses twice, once in each state, to meet the specific requirements of both.
Simply writing them onto your wall calendar or recording them in your google calendar with the specific state specified is an easy way to stay on track of renewals and courses.
What are some of your favorite organization tips and tools? I’d love to hear them.
Know the Scope of Practice Everywhere You Set Up Shop
Every state has different rules and laws around what you can do with your license. Make sure you understand them. Never assume.
Know the differences between the two states and follow the rules.
If you previously worked in Oklahoma as a licensed nail technician, you could also offer waxing services. So, it might come as a surprise to learn you can’t in other states, or at least not without an additional license.
The United States is full of individual states that like to do things their own way. Pay attention and you’ll discover something interesting and new everywhere you end up.
How to get Started on Your Next License
There are two things I highly advise as you seek out your next license.
#1 Visit the State’s Cosmetology Board Website
Your new home state’s cosmetology board website will have the steps and information regarding requirements that you need in order to get licensed in that state.
On the site look for the following:
- Reciprocity applicants
- Endorsement applicants
- Out of State applicants
Go through the applications carefully in order not to miss anything. Create a checklist to keep you on track.
#2 It’s Never to Early to Start the Licensing Process
In fact, the earlier the better!
My inbox is constantly receiving emails that say, “I have a job at a salon waiting for me, I need my new license ASAP. Can you help?”
Yes I can help, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to take time.
A professional license takes time, from a couple of weeks to a few months. Once again, it depends on the state. If you have to take an exam or another required course then you are at the mercy of someone else’s schedule. You might need to request license verifications or locate old transcripts. All of this takes time, organization, and planning.
While the process of acquiring your new license is exciting it can also feel overwhelming. Know you are not alone in feeling this way. With persistence and patience you will succeed!
Know that I am always here to help you along the way and wish you the best.
Destination, Sunshine State?
If Florida is your new destination, check this post out on transferring your cosmetology license (hair, nails, or facial) to Florida.