Florida License Requirements for Beauty Careers

If you're interested in pursuing a beauty career in the Sunshine State, you'll need to know all about Florida license requirements for prospective beauty professionals.

From information on license types and application instructions to examination resources, education options, required training hours, and much more, read on for FAQs and answers about getting and maintaining your beauty license in Florida.

Education and License Requirements in Florida

What licenses are available in Florida?

Beauty professionals in Florida can become licensed as cosmetologists, barbers, nail specialists, facial specialists, and full specialists.

Cosmetologist: 1,200 training hours required
Duties include: chemical or mechanical treatment of head, face, and scalp; pedicuring and manicuring

Barber: 900 training hours required
Duties include: shaving, trimming, cutting, coloring, shampooing, arranging, curling, dressing, or waving the beard or hair. Applying oils, creams, lotions, and other preparations to the scalp, face, or neck

Nail Specialist: 1,200 training hours required
Duties include: manicuring and pedicuring the hands and feet

Facial Specialist: 1,200 training hours required
Duties include: treating or massaging of the face or scalp with creams, lotions, oils, and other preparations

Full Specialist: 400 training hours required
Duties include: providing services of a nail specialist and a facial specialist

How long does it take to become a beauty professional in Florida?

The time it takes to train as a beauty professional in Florida can vary, depending on if you attend school full-time or part-time. For instance, a full-time cosmetology program generally takes around 10 months, while a part-time program may take 14 or more months.

A nail specialist program may take around nine weeks, while a full specialist course could take up to 20 weeks. Check with your school for schedule options and potential course completion times.

How can I become a licensed cosmetologist in Florida?

If you are 16 years old or have a high school diploma, you can become a licensed cosmetologist in Florida by completing 1,200 hours of training at an approved cosmetology school. After finishing your training, you must pay a $63.50 fee to apply and pass a written theory and clinical exam.

Students who have completed 1,000 hours of training may be eligible to sit for the cosmetology exam before completing their training if they've been deemed competent by a school official.

What is a limited cosmetologist license in Florida?

A limited cosmetology license is for applicants who have completed their cosmetology training at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. Individuals with this license may only provide facials, manicures, and pedicures.

How can I become a licensed barber in Florida?

To become a licensed barber in Florida, you must be 16 years old, complete 900 hours of training at an approved barbering school in Florida, and pass a written examination. The application fee ranges from $173.50 to $223.50, depending on when you apply.

Students with 600 hours of training may be able to take the exam if recommended by a school official.

What is a restricted barber's license in Florida?

A restricted barber's license in Florida restricts the licensee to providing services that include hair cutting, shampooing, blow-drying, shaving, and applying hair sprays and tonics. Restricted barbers cannot perform chemical services, such as permanent waving, relaxing, and hair coloring.

Applicants for a restricted barber license must be 16 years old, complete at least 600 hours of barbering training, and pass the barbering exam. The restricted barber application and examination fees are between $194.50 and $244.50.

How can I become a registered nail specialist in Florida?

To become a registered nail specialist in Florida, you'll need to have a high school diploma or be 16 years old and complete 180 hours of training in an approved nail program. Nail specialists in Florida don't need to take an examination but must submit $75 and a Certification of Eligibility form.

How can I become a registered facial specialist in Florida?

A Florida facial specialist registration requires 220 hours of training with the same age and education requirements as other specialist registrations. Applicants must pay a $75 fee to apply.

How can I become a registered full specialist in Florida?

To obtain a full specialist registration in Florida, which combines the nail specialist and facial specialist registrations, applicants need to complete 400 hours of training and be 16 or have a high school diploma. A $75 fee and proof of training must accompany the application.

Do Florida cosmetologists need to have nail and facial specialist registrations?

No, licensed cosmetologists don't need separate nail and facial specialist registrations to provide nail or esthetics services in the state of Florida.

Can I get a full specialist license if I already have my nail specialist and facial specialist licenses in Florida?

Yes, if you already have your nail and facial specialist registrations, you can apply for your full specialist registration in Florida.

How can I get my beauty license in Florida?

After completing your training hours, you can get your cosmetologist or barber license in Florida by passing the written examination or by transferring your license from another state, also called endorsement. For license by endorsement, you must have an active, current license in another state.

For the specialist registrations, you can get your license via endorsement without taking the examination if you hold an active license in another state with comparable or more stringent training requirements than Florida.

If you have a cosmetology license in another state or country but aren't eligible for endorsement, you may be eligible to take and pass the Florida examination if you've held your license for at least one year. Licensed barbers ineligible for endorsement can also apply to take the examination.

Applicants with previous school training but without an active license can also request a school evaluation to determine how many previous hours can count as credit toward Florida's required training hours.

Will my criminal record affect my ability to obtain a license in Florida?

Florida evaluates criminal history of beauty license applicants on a case-by-case basis. If your application requires further review from the board, you will be notified by mail three weeks before a meeting.

Will Florida send me my beauty license in the mail?

In 2019, Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation switched to paperless licensing. Now, licensees can log in to their online account and print their license, enabling them to begin working 7-10 days earlier than if they had to wait to receive their license in the mail.

How do I transfer my beauty license to Florida?

Cosmetologists can apply for endorsement to transfer an active beauty license from another state to Florida. To apply, registrants need to complete an HIV/AIDS course to qualify for endorsement, provide a certification of licensure from their previous state, along with a $59 fee.

Do I have to take the Florida exam to transfer my license to Florida?

If you qualify for endorsement, you don't need to take the Florida exam to transfer your cosmetology or registrant license to Florida.

Does experience count for licensure by endorsement in Florida?

No, Florida does not consider experience for licensure by endorsement. However, if you have a current license in another state and it's been active for at least a year, you are eligible to take the Florida cosmetology exam if you don't qualify for endorsement.

Where can I find a list of schools in the state of Florida?

To find approved cosmetology schools in Florida, you can visit the Florida Department of Education's website and conduct a search of independent cosmetology schools in various counties. Or you can call (888) 224-6684 for more information.

Does Florida offer online education options for beauty students?

Although your particular Florida cosmetology school may offer some theory training via online education, it varies by school, and you'll have to complete your practical training in person.

However, Florida does offer a variety of continuing education courses that have online education options. When searching for courses, choose the one you're interested in taking, along with "Distance/Online" under Course Type to see which you can take online.

Florida Application Process for Beauty Career Licensure

Where can I find the various application forms for Florida beauty careers?

You can find Florida application forms on the cosmetology board site under Apply for a License. For barber applications, visit the same tab on the barber board page.

How do I apply for my license in Florida?

To apply for your license, you'll visit the "Apply for a License" tab mentioned above and then choose your cosmetology specialty (cosmetologist, nail specialist, facial specialist, or full specialist) or your barber specialty (barber, restricted barber).

Then, pick your license type (e.g., Cosmetologist License by Examination Based on Florida Education) and click through to read the detailed requirements. At the bottom of the page, you can choose "Apply Using Online Services" or "Apply Using a Printable Application." If you choose the printable application, you must mail it in with the required documentation and fees to apply.

Are there special applications for military members or spouses in Florida?

Active-duty military personnel, veterans, military spouses, and surviving spouses of military personnel who hold a valid beauty license in another state, territory, or foreign jurisdiction can apply for free for a Florida license without having to take or pass the Florida examination.

How do I apply for a Florida beauty exam?

After applying for your license (see question above), you'll receive notification from Florida's test vendor, Pearson VUE, that you can schedule a date and time for your exam. Visit the Pearson VUE site to schedule your test.

What should I expect on the Florida cosmetology exam?

The cosmetology exam in Florida consists of two tests—the written theory exam and the written clinical exam. Each test takes an hour and a half and has 65 multiple-choice questions. The written theory exam includes:

  • General safety and sanitation procedures (34%)
  • Facials, makeup, and hair removal (16%)
  • Client services (24%)
  • Manicuring and pedicuring (16%)
  • Professional/legal and ethical/laws and rules (10%)

The written clinical exam includes:

  • Hair coloring and lightening (39%)
  • Scalp and hair care (5%)
  • Hair cutting/shaping (10%)
  • Permanent waving and chemical relaxing (34%)
  • Hair styling (12%)

What should I expect on the Florida barber exam?

The barber exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions answered over three hours. Content areas include:

  • Safety, sanitation, and sterilization (30%)
  • Florida barber laws and rules (25%)
  • Hair cutting & hair styling (15%)
  • Chemical procedures (10%)
  • Hair structure and chemistry (10%)
  • Shaving, beard, and mustache trimming (5%)
  • Shampooing (5%)

Beauty Careers in Florida

Can I offer beauty services from my home in Florida?

Yes, you can offer the full range of cosmetology services from your home in Florida as long as your licensed home salon is separated from the living quarters by a permanent wall, has a separate entrance, and has a separate toilet and lavatory. A home salon must meet all other salon requirements.

Licensed cosmetologists can also offer various hair (shampooing, cutting, and arranging) and nail (polish removal, filing, buffing, and cleansing) services in an unlicensed home or another setting.

What services must be performed in a salon in Florida?

Chemical hair services—such as coloring, perming, and relaxing—and skin care services must be performed in a licensed salon.

Can I provide hair cutting and styling services in a Florida nursing home?

Yes, licensed cosmetologists and barbers can provide hair care services in nursing homes and community care centers in Florida if arrangements are made through a licensed salon or barbershop.

How much do beauty professionals make in Florida?

Average salaries for beauty professionals in Florida vary based on the specific job:

Beauty Specialty 2021 Average Salary
Cosmetologist $33,680
Barber $31,270
Nail Specialist $31,450
Facial Specialist $41,090

In Florida, am I required to be licensed as a hair braider, hair wrapper, or body wrapper?

As of 2020, you do not need a license to work as a hair braider or hair or body wrapper in Florida.

What is the difference between a barber and a cosmetologist in Florida?

While both barbers and cosmetologists perform hair and facial services, a barber can provide shaves, and a cosmetologist can offer waxing and nail services.

Can Florida barbers work in cosmetology salons, and can cosmetologists work in barbershops?

Yes, a licensed barber can work in a cosmetology salon, and a licensed cosmetologist can work in a barbershop in Florida, as long as the salon employs a licensed cosmetologist and the barbershop employs a licensed barber.

What if I only want to polish nails in Florida? Do I need a license?

If you only plan to apply fingernail or toenail polish, you don't need a license to perform these services in Florida.

Is a Florida cosmetology or barber's license required to perform makeup and/or hair styling services on a deceased person in a funeral home?

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation does not regulate makeup or hair arranging services on deceased individuals. For more information, contact the Division of Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services.

What license is required to perform microdermabrasion in Florida?

Licensed cosmetologists in Florida can perform microdermabrasion services.

What type of license is required to perform eyebrow threading in Florida?

In Florida, a cosmetologist, facial specialist, or full specialist can provide eyebrow threading services.

Can I perform laser hair removal with a Florida cosmetology license?

No, only licensed and trained electrologists, advanced registered nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and medical doctors can perform laser hair removal in Florida.

Who can perform body waxing in Florida?

Cosmetologists, facial specialists, or full specialists in Florida can provide body waxing services.

When will I be eligible to work as a Florida beauty professional?

After you've taken and passed both parts of your cosmetology examination, you can work under the supervision of a licensed cosmetologist in a licensed salon. For barbers, you can work as soon as you pass your examination, so long as you work in a licensed barbershop under a licensed barber, and you post your exam results and a photo at your station.

If you're applying as a nail specialist, facial specialist, or full specialist, you can work after completing your school hours and submitting your application, as long as you're practicing in a licensed salon under the supervision of a registered specialist. You must provide your school transcripts and a copy of your application to the salon owner.

How can I advance my beauty career in Florida?

If you are a barber looking to become a cosmetologist (or vice versa), you'll need to visit a Florida cosmetology school to evaluate your hours and determine what classes you need to complete your training.

If you are already a nail specialist and want to become a full specialist, you'll just need to complete the facial specialist training—and if you're already registered as a facial specialist, you'll have to complete the nail specialist training.

Once you have your beauty license or registration in Florida, you can pursue a variety of career options related to the field, including unusual beauty jobs.

Renewing Your Florida Beauty License

How often do I need to renew my license in Florida?

In Florida, cosmetologists, nail specialists, facial specialists, and full specialists must renew their licenses and registrations every two years. Depending on which group you get assigned to, your license will either expire on October 31 of even years or October 31 of odd years. The renewal fee is $45.

Licenses for all barbers and restricted barbers expire on July 31 of even years, and the renewal fee is $70.

Does Florida have continuing education requirements?

All cosmetologists, facial specialists, nail specialists, and full specialists must complete 10 hours of continuing education before renewing their licenses and registrations. The hours must include:

  • HIV/AIDS (1 hour)
  • Sanitation and sterilization (3 hours)
  • OSHA (0.5 hour)
  • Workers' compensation (0.5 hour)
  • Laws and rules (2 hours)
  • Chemical makeup (1 hour)
  • Environmental issues (1 hour)
  • Any subject related to cosmetology (1 hour)

Barbers and restricted barbers have to complete a board-approved HIV/AIDS continuing education class before renewing their licenses.

How can I reinstate an expired Florida license?

You can reinstate your null and void beauty license in Florida by filling out an application, paying the fee, and explaining why you could not renew your license on time.

Where can I find a list of board-approved Florida continuing education providers?

Florida provides a list of approved cosmetology continuing education courses and providers and a search tool on its continuing education page. The barbers' board also provides a list of courses and information about continuing education.

Other Beauty Professional Resources and Information for Florida

Are there beauty professional shows and events near me in Florida?

Beauty events and trade shows can help you network and come up with ideas for your own beauty career. These are some of the beauty-related shows and events in Florida:

Premiere Orlando
This international beauty event in Orlando is billed as the largest beauty show in the United States, with resources that help industry professionals discover the latest products, trends, and techniques. Event-goers can also participate in educational sessions and competitions.

International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference Florida
With workshops, business seminars, and more, the IECSC in Palm Beach gives professionals access to industry speakers, networking, and product-focused education.

Central Florida Beauty Fashion & Business Expo
Also in Orlando, this event brings beauty professionals from all over the country to showcase their products and services. The expo includes fashion shows, business seminars, art exhibits, and beauty seminars.

Are there Florida-based beauty professional associations I can join?

Florida has several organizations and associations that provide a variety of resources and advocacy for beauty professionals:

Florida Board of Cosmetology
The Florida state cosmetology board provides a wealth of information for aspiring cosmetologists, nail specialists, facial specialists, and full specialists. This is your go-to site for Florida license requirements, from forms and applications to FAQ pages, business tips, and other important information.

Florida Barbers' Board
This board is responsible for licensing and regulating barbers and restricted barbers in Florida. Like the cosmetology board page, this site has everything you need to know about becoming a licensed Florida barber.

Florida Barber Association
The Florida Barber Association provides members with networking opportunities, professional recognition, business resources, and support.

The Esthetics Association Florida
This professional association offers CEU hours, workshops, newsletters and industry news, and insurance discounts.