Although it may be known as a top vacation destination spot, Florida is also a popular state to move to. According to the Annual Movers Study, the Sunshine State was among the top-ten states with the most new residents in 2021. And with good reason. The state boasts everything from expansive beaches to internationally beloved theme parks.
While moving to Florida comes with its perks, the logistics can be daunting. If you hold a professional license for your career or trade and you want to continue doing that work after your move, you’ll have to learn about Florida’s license reciprocity guidelines to see if your license will transfer.
So what exactly is license reciprocity? In general, the phrase refers to a mutual agreement between states allowing licensed professionals to more easily obtain licenses when they move to a different state. In some cases, this may mean a license is transferable without any additional steps through mutual recognition. In other cases, it may mean that certain aspects of the application process — such as coursework and licensing exams — can be waived.
License reciprocity guidelines are different in every state. And to complicate things further, guidelines can vary drastically between license types. This guide is here to help. Read on to learn about license reciprocity in Florida for some common trades.
Our full, dedicated guide to Florida Real Estate License Reciprocity has information for real estate agents moving to Florida along with info for brokers and appraisers.
If you’re an electrician planning to move your business to Florida, reciprocity is, unfortunately, not available. Florida does not have electrical contracting license reciprocity agreements with any other states. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to start over from scratch. Let’s see how it lays out for different states.
While Florida doesn’t have reciprocity with any other states for electrical licenses, aspects of your current out-of-state license may be transferable to a Florida license. For a select number of states, there may be an endorsement available to have your out-of-state license education and training fully or partially transferred to Florida. The list includes details of which state examinations are substantially similar to that of Florida’s and where additional Florida examinations may be necessary to qualify for licensure.
Contractors wanting to transfer their professional license to Florida may be in luck. In June 2021, Florida entered into a reciprocity agreement with a select number of states (more about those later). This means that general contractor licensees in those select states can apply for reciprocity by submitting at minimum, a CILB form 32, and a licensing certification from the issuing state.
For those General Contractors (GCs) who are licensed in states that aren’t part of the reciprocity agreement may need to complete training and exams in order to obtain a Florida license. It’s recommended to contact the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation here to see if any waivers are available to you.
Let’s circle back to state-based reciprocity. Florida has contractor license reciprocity agreements with the following states:
And getting a little more into the weeds, the following out-of-state specialty contractor exams have been declared to be substantially similar to Florida’s exams and may qualify for exam waivers as a result::
Florida, unfortunately, does not offer reciprocity to out-of-state plumbing licenses. If you’re a plumber moving to Florida, you will likely need to complete the state’s full licensing requirements. Information about plumbing license requirements and other details can be found on the Florida Department of Business & Professional Development.
Florida doesn’t offer reciprocity agreements for cosmetology licenses. However, the licensing requirements in the state that issued your cosmetology license can impact your eligibility for obtaining a cosmetology license by endorsement. Let’s dig into that a little bit more.
In order to qualify for a cosmetology license by endorsement, you must meet the following requirements:
If you don’t meet the license by endorsement requirements, there’s another option that may be available to you. If you’ve had your cosmetology license for at least one year and have at least 1,000 hours of education from your licensing state, you may be able to register for the Florida cosmetology exam. While this isn’t technically reciprocity, it does allow you to bypass the other Florida training requirements.
So what about barbers? Similar to cosmetology, Florida does not have any state-specific reciprocity agreements, but does allow barbers already licensed in another state to obtain a Florida license by endorsement. Let’s take a look.
To qualify for a license , you must meet the following criteria:
If your home state’s barber license requirements are equivalent to or greater than the Florida requirements, you may be eligible for a license by endorsement without needing to take any additional classes or exams.
And for barbers whose home state required fewer than 1,200 hours, your best bet is to complete additional educational hours to make up the difference.
Despite Florida having some reciprocity options for contractors noted above, it unfortunately has no formal reciprocity agreements for HVAC licenses with any other states. Florida has, however, made it easier to obtain a Florida HVAC license by endorsement if you have one in another state, provided certain conditions are met. These are:
Similarly, Florida does not offer reciprocity for out-of-state Professional Engineers (PEs) licenses. PEs transfering to Florida will need to meet the state’s application requirements in order to qualify for a Florida license by endorsement. These requirements are:
If you’ve passed the exam listed above in another state, you may not need to take it again. However, it is recommended that you contact the Florida Board of Professional Engineers to see if your exam experience qualifies.
Licensed architects relocating to Florida are in luck. While Florida doesn’t offer reciprocity, out-of-state architect licensees can apply for Florida licensure by endorsement.
In this situation, much of your training and education can be used toward your Florida license. In order to apply for a Florida architect license by endorsement, this is what’s needed:
Out-of-state insurance adjusters moving their career to Florida may be able to transfer their insurance license via reciprocity. Whether you’re eligible for reciprocity will depend on the state where your license was issued. Let’s dive into the details.
Florida has reciprocity agreements with a number of states and territories.
These include the following 30 states and one territory:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Puerto Rico.
Florida will honor insurance licenses from any of those states. All that’s required is to submit an application.
For those who hold insurance licenses in states not included in Florida’s reciprocity agreements, there’s still an option.
You can apply for a license transfer if you meet Florida’s requirements. These include:
Florida doesn’t have any state-specific reciprocity agreements for massage therapy licenses. However, if licensed massage therapists meet certain requirements, they can transfer their license to Florida by endorsement. If you’ve completed 500 hours of required education and passed a national licensing exam, you are eligible for this endorsement. Be prepared to do the following:
If you don’t have an active license or have not completed the required training, that’s a different story. You will need to complete and pass the national exam before you’re able to obtain a massage therapy license in Florida.
Similarly, Florida doesn’t offer home inspector license reciprocity to any states, but does offer license transfer by endorsement to those who qualify. These are the requirements:
Running a small business takes a lot of effort. Between researching local licensing requirements and managing a team of employees who might need FL workers' comp, you have enough on your plate. No matter what type of business you’re transferring to Florida, we can help.
The Simply Business® team helps small business owners in all 50 states to find insurance solutions that fit their unique needs. Business insurance can help protect your business as well as meet local guidelines. Whether you’re looking for workers’ compensation or general liability, Simply Business has got you covered. Start your free online quote today and we’ll take it from there.
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After several years of working in insurance while also freelance writing, I've finally found where the two interests intersect. I'm a writer with Simply Business with an insurance processing background and a love of research.
Kristin writes on a number of topics such as small business trends, license reciprocity, and BOP insurance.
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