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.
If you haven’t taken one of the above exams, 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.
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.
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).