Here is a question I have seen in my inbox hundreds of times.
I have a (insert your state here) massage license and would like to move to Florida and get a Florida massage license. However, I do not want to lose/give up my (insert your state again) massage license. Can I have two massage licenses at the same time?
This answer is actually quite simple.
I can say this confidently as someone who has simultaneously held two active massage licenses (Iowa and Florida) for ten years. In that time, I have also assisted thousands (yes, thousands!) of other Florida massage and cosmetology professionals do the same. I even wrote a little about the subject of reciprocity for ABMP’s Massage & Bodywork magazine.
That article focuses more on the future of license portability and the misunderstanding of “National Certification”. For instance, whether your Georgia license is good enough for you to walk across the border and legally practice in Florida. Spoiler alert: it isn’t.
Since we do not have reciprocity anywhere, including Florida, you need to obtain a massage license in each state where you plan to practice massage.
What Happens to Your Old Massage License
This article is geared towards my Florida transfers and what happens to your first license when you are issued a Florida massage license. And I will also answer questions about what to do about continuing education and how to get started with the process. Even if Florida is not your destination, this article should still be helpful.
The truth is, your original massage license will not automatically become invalid at midnight when you are issued your new Florida massage license. Your old massage license isn’t Cinderella. As long as you pay your renewal fees and meet your renewal requirements, that license can stay active for as long as you want to keep it active or valid. If you fail to pay your renewal fees, then your license becomes delinquent, null and void, or whatever term your state uses for expired.
More questions: Dual licenses and Exams
Some of you are sitting there thinking if this still applies to your own unique situation.
Can I have a massage and esthetician license in California and Florida at the same time?
Yes. Except in Florida, we call estheticians “facial specialists”. People that have two different licenses in one state are called “dual-licensed”.
Can I have a massage license in Iowa, Florida, Colorado, New York, and Hawaii?
You can have a license in all fifty states and Canada if you want (and meet the requirements). That would get expensive and time-consuming to organize, but it is possible. Now that we have got the original question answered, it is time for my advice to those of you that are about to obtain a second massage license.
Do I have to take an exam?
Do I have to take an exam again?
If you have taken a Florida board-approved exam (MBLEx, NCETMB, NCETM, NESL, or New York State), chances are good you have already met the exam requirement and will not need to take a licensing exam again. I have recently heard other state examinations (Hawaii and Ohio are now accepted)
Florida Administrative Code 64B7-25.004 Endorsements says the following about those who have an active massage license and are applying by endorsement:
(4) Demonstrates that the out-of-state license was issued upon the satisfactory completion of an examination comparable to the examination approved by the Board or presents certification to the Board of successful completion of an approved examination for licensure subsequent to the issuance of the out-of-state license.
If you haven’t ever taken a licensing examination, chances are you will have to take the MBLEx to get your Florida license since you likely do not meet the exam requirement. Yes, even if you were grandfathered without an exam or are licensed in a state that does not require an exam. Trust me, you can pass the MBLEx, even if it has been years since you completed your massage training.
If you have to take an exam, then visit here to learn more about our MBLEx prep program.
Some Colleague Advice
1. Keep Your Old License
First, most of you want to keep your original massage license. But there are some of you may want to just let that license expire as soon as it allows.
I know you are moving and 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 it a lot. Things in Florida may not work out, or you are needed back home. Having that massage license ready to go will come in handy.
The initial costs are always the most expensive. Once you have your license, it is not that much to maintain two licenses. Between my Iowa and Florida licenses, I pay $165 total for the renewal of two licenses every two years.
2. Organize Your Continuing Education
You may think keeping the continuing education requirements for two states could get expensive. As someone that has multiple licenses, I can say a little organization goes a long way. Some people think if you need 24 hours for one state and 24 for another, that you will need 48 hours total. Yes, that would get expensive and time-consuming, but often, that is not the case.
Continuing education certificates are not one-time use coupons. They can be used for multiple states as long as the course is approved in your jurisdiction and taken within the renewal cycle for the license you are trying to renew.
Try to take courses that are approved by both of the boards in the states where you are trying to renew licenses.
My license in Iowa expires on April 15th of odd years. My Florida massage license expires on August 31st of odd years. I keep a sheet of paper in a binder with all of my completion certificates and a list of which courses I have taken. It looks like the below information.
There will be a few courses you cannot use for both states. For instance, your required Florida laws and rules courses likely will not count toward your renewal in another state, so just focus on finding a Florida provider for that course. Even the NCBTMB only approves something like 1.5 hours of laws and rules for any state.
3. Stay in Your Scope
Stay in the state’s scope of practice where you are practicing massage. If you can legally provide cupping massage in Florida, but can’t legally in another state with your massage license there – don’t provide cupping that when you are in that particular state.
This works in the opposite direction, too. If your state, (e.g. Tennessee), does not believe a person needs a massage license to practice Reiki, it does not mean the state of Florida agrees.
Ready to Get Your Florida Massage License?
Hopefully, this should have reduced all of your fears about giving up your current license. And likely is time to move on to one of your first requirements for obtaining a Florida massage license, the 10 hour Florida Laws and Rules course. It can be taken online at your convenience. Plus, I include a checklist and licensing guide to make the process quick and simple. Below are some helpful links so you can get started on the process.
10 Hour Laws and Rules course for Massage
More information about Florida massage licenses
If you find that have to take a massage licensing exam, then visit here to learn more about our MBLEx prep program and practice exams.
If you are also a cosmetology professional (cosmetologist, esthetician, or nail technician) in addition to a massage therapist and plan to get one of those licenses in Florida, here are a few more helpful links.
The cosmetology board requires an Initial 4 hour HIV/AIDS course for cosmetologists, facial specialists (estheticians), and nail specialists (nail technicians).
More information about transferring a cosmetologist, nail tech/nail specialist, or esthetician/facial specialist license to Florida
Joline Weeks says
Good morning Ivy, thank you for this insite. So I am guessing I have to get in touch with the massage board in Maine to find out their requirements are…..I have a Florida LMT license since 1997.I plan on spending a few months in Maine and would also like to get a license there.
still a little confused in the process. thank you for your help!
I plan on moving back to Florida and I’m wondering if they have any hands-on CEUs yet or are they still doing them by web chats like Zoom? I used to be able to go to my school and get my CEUs done but I’ve seen that lately due to the pandemic, courses are online. The state I’m currently in (Missouri) only requires 12hrs of CEUs every 2yrs. I need 12 hands-on and the laws and ethics CEUs. Do they still require the HIV/AIDS hours? I haven’t lived there in almost 6yrs.
Ivy Hultquist says
There are many places/schools now offering in-person CE courses in Florida. Plus, I would think that most of what you could take in MO that are NCBTMB approved and in person/pertaining to massage would also be acceptable. You would just need to report them to CE Broker on your own. I do have the laws and rules, ethics, medical errors, and human trafficking on this website – available online. HIV has not been required since around 2012ish.
Heather Murray says
LMT in Florida since 1998..want to move to California..do lisenced massage there. My lisence is current and I will not drop it..can it be reciprocal in CA?? Will I need more hours??thank you..
Ivy Hultquist says
Hi Heather! I do not foresee you needing any additional education to get your CA certification. Here is how to get that process started – https://www.massageexamacademy.com/california-massage-license-certification/
To apply, visit http://www.camtc.org
Sarah Domicolo says
I’m a FL LMT and I’m living in NY state for 3 years unable to approve my NY massage license because of hours requirement difference. I have the hours and subjects I need to take to be approved but I want to take them in FL to avoid taking their NY Massage Exam. I’m only getting a handful of schools in NY that’s are approved and they are only in NY state. Can I take the hours in FL to avoid having to retake the NY exam when I already passed the NCBTME?
Ivy Hultquist says
This is a tough question and one I would not feel comfortable asking. I would contact the NYS massage board to see what they say before proceeding in Florida. Best wishes!
Hello, I am going to move to a different state that requires a longer education than my Florida license. Will I have to go to school again to get a license in the new state?
Ivy Hultquist says
It really depends on the state. I would contact the state board where you plan to move to and ask about endorsement requirements. Many will not require extra if your hours were similar, your license is currently active, and has no discipline against it.
I have a license in Los Angeles California but want to move back to Florida, all I need to do is take the 10 hour Florida law course and mblex? Here in Los Angeles the year 2019 I graduated we didn’t have to take it, but it was reinstated in 2021, I think they wanted to see how students do with and without the test. Since they were saying a lot of students burnt out the physical part of it.
Ivy Hultquist says
Almost. You would also need a background check from an approved Livescan provider. You did not say how many hours your educational program was, but it would also need to have completed a 500 hour massage program.
Melissa Vega says
Is it possible to keep my Florida Massage License active and move to Georgia and have one there as well? Meaning can I transfer my license to work in Georgia but be able to travel back and forth between states and work actively ?
I plan to move next year and spend 6 months at a time in Georgia and than back to Florida .
Ivy Hultquist says
hello, i currently have my license in Florida but my husband is in the Air Force and being transferred to Maryland. In Maryland they required 60 credits hours from a higher education and I don’t have an higher education I just have the license. Will I to start over and spend two years in school for the 60 credit hours?
Ivy Hultquist says
Generally, if you have an active license in a state- you can apply for for endorsement – even if your hours are slightly off. Again, this is generally- each state is different.
However, there have (thankfully!) been several laws made in recent years to help military families with professional licenses get licensed easier. I would contact the board office to see what can be done to help you get licensed.