Top 3 Questions About Becoming a Licensed Cosmetologist in Florida
Being a professional hairstylist, nail technician, or skin care specialist can have a lot of benefits. For example, think of the potential for career flexibility and independence. Or consider the creative and socially engaging aspects. They are advantages often magnified by Florida's spectacular settings and the fascinating diversity of people who seek out beauty services.
So if you're wondering about the requirements and possibilities associated with this path, you're not alone. Check out the answers to these three popular questions:
1. What Does It Take to Get a Florida Cosmetology License?
This field is regulated by the Florida Board of Cosmetology. As a result, if you are new to the field, then becoming a fully licensed cosmetologist in this state requires:*
- Completing at least 1,200 hours of well-rounded beauty training at a career college or cosmetology school in Florida
- Passing a licensing exam
The state's definition of cosmetology includes a wide range of esthetic services involving mechanical or chemical treatments to the head, scalp, or neck. It also includes some types of skin care and non-permanent hair removal as well as manicuring and pedicuring. All services must be for beauty-related purposes only (not for medical).
That means you can be considered qualified for several different types of services if you earn a cosmetology license. (Florida doesn't require licensed cosmetologists to attain separate qualifications for popular specialties within the field.) However, if you are only interested in one particular area and don't have a full cosmetology license, then you will likely need to meet some minimum registration requirements such as:*
- Completing 240 hours of formal training to become a nail specialist
- Completing 260 hours of education to become a facial specialist
- Completing 12 hours of board-approved training to become a body wrapper
If you become a licensed cosmetologist, then you also don't need to worry about getting an esthetician license. (Florida regulates most skin care services as part of the cosmetology field.) The main exceptions are if you wish to perform permanent or semi-permanent hair removal or assist with medical cosmetic procedures. For example, becoming a licensed electrologist in Florida requires:**
- Finishing at least 120 hours of academic training plus at least 200 hours of practical experience
- Completing of a two-hour Prevention of Medical Errors course
- Applying to Florida's Electrolysis Council
- Passing a state licensing exam
- Completing an additional 30-hour course if you want to assist with laser hair removal
In Florida, cosmetology license renewal is required every other year. You need to have completed at least 16 hours of continuing education that is approved by the Board of Cosmetology. The renewal fee is $45, and you can take care of it online, over the phone, or by mailing a check.*
2. How Much Do Cosmetologists in Florida Make?
In 2015, the average hourly wage for hairstylists and cosmetologists in this state was $13.53.*** But that doesn't necessarily account for all of the extra income that can be earned through tips and commissions. And with a steady client base, it's possible to start your own beauty salon and reap the profits from it. Then your income potential can grow substantially as you grow your business.
The same can be said if you're wondering about the typical esthetician salary. In Florida, the average pay for skin care specialists was $16.42 per hour in 2015, which translates to yearly pay of about $34,480.*** Yet, many estheticians have gone on to own their own spas, skin care clinics, or mobile esthetics services.
Plus, Florida doesn't have a state income tax. That means you get to keep more of what you earn when compared to beauty professionals in most other states.
3. Does the Cosmetology Trade Have a Good Outlook in Florida?
Yes! In fact, this state was ranked fourth in America for the employment of both cosmetologists and skin care specialists in 2014.*** And future projections indicate that the number of opportunities in the beauty sector will only keep growing. For instance, look at the expected job growth in Florida for the following occupations between 2014 and 2022:****
- Skin care specialists—18.1 percent (over 1,240 job openings)
- Hairstylists, hairdressers, and cosmetologists—9.7 percent (over 10,550 openings)
- Nail technicians—9.3 percent (over 740 openings)
One of the major reasons for this projected growth is the fact that Florida is an incredibly popular place for retirees and travelers who often wish to pamper themselves with their favorite beauty services. In 2014 alone, nearly 98 million people visited the state. And from 2004 to 2014, visitor spending within the state increased by almost 24 percent.†
Some of the most lucrative visitors for the state's cosmetology and esthetics industry are people who come for destination weddings. After all, brides often book a lot of different services, from hairstyling to manicures to facial treatments and makeup. And the rest of their bridal parties, along with many family, friends, and even groomsmen, frequently book some of the same services before the big event. Plus, Florida has been ranked as America's most popular location to have a destination wedding.‡
How to Start Pursuing Your Own Cosmetology Career
Begin by checking out nearby cosmetology schools in Florida that offer the types of programs you're eager to learn more about. All it takes to find good options is your current zip code. Just enter it into the following search tool!
* Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation, Board of Cosmetology, website last visited on September 4, 2015.
** Florida Department of Health, website last visited on September 4, 2015.
*** Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on April 22, 2016.
**** Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, website last visited on September 4, 2015.
† VISIT FLORIDA, website last visited on September 4, 2015.
‡ XO Group, website last visited on November 19, 2015.