What Are The Conditions For Obtaining A Tattoo License In Different States?

If you’ve ever looked into acquiring a tattoo artist license, it’s probable that you found the process relatively complex. The majority of states have laws that outline the requirements for becoming a tattoo artist. 

Nevertheless, many states provide local governments with the right to rule. The lack of uniformity between jurisdictions creates problems for tattoo artists who wish to know what requirements they must meet in order to legally tattoo inside a state.

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The table below shows that state-by-state requirements can differ significantly. Some states merely ask you to submit an application and a fee. Other states could specify a minimum amount of monitored apprentice hours that must be worked.

The prerequisites, licensing costs, and a link to the state’s website are all shown in the table below, along with details on each state’s regulations.

Please make sure you check the state’s page before applying for their license because county and state rules change every year. The table below is merely meant to serve as a starting point for you.

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StateDepartmentRequirementsCost
AlabamaHealth DepartmentProof of participation in a bloodborne pathogen course or training program that was provided by or sanctioned by the Department Of health during the 36 months before applying for the permit.A personalized copy of the Hepatitis B vaccination document, the declination form, or the immunity certificate.A copy of your picture ID$25
AlaskaCommerce Department, Economic and Community Development1,000 hours of study in a board-approved training programSuccessful completion of CPR teachingSuccessful completion of bloodborne infections training$180
Arizona The acquisition of licenses is optional for people. 
ArkansasHealth DepartmentComplete a six to twenty-four-month training course with an artist/trainer.Each artist is required to put in a minimum of 375 clock hours over a period of no less than six months of supervision.Pass the written test ($50 test fee)Finish a bloodborne pathogens course that has been authorized.$150
CaliforniaDepartment of HealthFinish the authorized bloodborne pathogens course.Must be 18 years old.Proof of immunization against hepatitis B.$54
ColoradoDepartment of Environment and HealthMust be 18 years old.A certification of bloodborne pathogen training that complies with OSHA.$25
ConnecticutMinistry of Public HealthAge restriction of 18Finish a bloodborne pathogens program that has been authorized.Is currently certified in basic first aid by either the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.Completion of 2,000 hours of practical training under the guidance of a tattoo specialist.$250
DelawarePublic Health DepartmentThe acquisition of licenses is optional for people. 
FloridaEnvironmental Health Department Individuals must be at least 18 years old.A copy of a picture ID from the governmentFinishing the education program necessary to become a tattoo artist.$60
GeorgiaPublic Health DepartmentNew regulations are now being established. For up-to-date information, click the “More Info” link. 
HawaiiMinistry of HealthComplete a blood-borne pathogens course (an extra $25 charge).Pass a test for Syphilis and Tuberculosis.$75
Idaho Licenses are not necessary for individuals. 
IllinoisMinistry for Public HealthA license is not necessary for independent tattoo artists working for employment. 
IndianaMinistry of HealthThere is no need for a license for an individual, although annual OSHA training is necessary. 
IowaPublic Health DepartmentMust be at least 18 years old Must finish Standard First Aid and Bloodborne Pathogen TrainingMust possess a GED or high school diploma.$75
KansasCommission of CosmetologyFinish a bloodborne pathogens program that has been authorized.GED or high school diploma.Perform 50 operations alongside a skilled tattooist. Must offer proof of ownership$100
Louisiana The acquisition of licenses is optional for people. 
MaineHuman Services and Health Department 18 years of age is required.Finish a bloodborne pathogens training that has been authorized.Evidence of expertise in safety procedures related to the tattooing craft$225
Massachusetts           Board of HealthCounty governments controls the issuance of licenses. Several prerequisites areFinish a bloodborne pathogens program that has been authorized.Finish a CPR course that has been authorized. 
MichiganHealth and Human Services DepartmentThe state does not provide licenses to individuals. Only the amenities. 
MinnesotaMinistry of Health18 years of age is required.Completion of 200 monitored tattooing hours.Finish a bloodborne pathogens training that has been authorized.$420 (for at least 2 years)
Mississippi            Ministry of HealthDocumentation of passing the American Red Cross program on “Preventing Disease Transmission” or a comparable program.A supervision agreement form has been filled up and signed.$150
Missouri Must finish 50 sessions and 300 hours of tattoo training under a licensed artist.Finish a program in CPR and first aid.Finish a bloodborne pathogens training that has been authorized.$100
MontanaFood and Consumer Safety DepartmentNote: Additional regulations apply in Yellowstone and Gallatin Provinces.Finish all required training in bloodborne pathogens, emergency aid, and sanitation 
NebraskaHealth and Human Services DepartmentNote: Several counties and cities have extra licensing requirements.Must be at least 18 years old.Must possess a GED or high school diploma.Finish a First Aid and Bloodborne Pathogens training program that has been authorized.Be obligated to disclose any criminal convictions.$95
New HampshireOccupational Certification and Licensing ServicesA minimum of three years of tattooing experience must be demonstrated.Finish a sterilization training program.$110
New JerseyMinistry of Environmental Health Twelve months or more of supervised training.Complete a Bloodborne Pathogens training program that has been authorized.$100
New Mexico Finish a Bloodborne Pathogens training program that has been authorized.Become certified in CPR as well as first aid.Complete a training program for tattooing.$100
New York Finish the Infection Prevention and Control Program for Tattooists at the NYC Health Academy$100 (for two years)
North Carolina Licenses are governed at the county level. 
North Dakota Licenses are governed at the county level. 
OklahomaMinistry of Health18 years of age is required.Complete training on Bloodborne PathogensCompleting a First Aid courseCompleting CPR courseComplete an apprenticeship for two years.$250
Oregon Must be 18 years old.Possess a GED or high school diploma.Complete training on Bloodborne PathogensCompletion of CPR and first aid instruction.Enroll in a tattoo career school with a license from Oregon.$50
Pennslyvania There are no laws or regulations from the state. 
Rhode IslandHealth DepartmentExamine the backgroundPass a test administered by the Rhode Island Department of Public Health.$90
South CarolinaBureau of Healthcare FacilitiesMinimum age of 21Completion of Bloodborne Pathogen courseCompletion of CPR and first aid instruction 
South Dakota County governments control the issuance of licenses. 
TennesseeHealth Department18 years of age or older is required.Participate in trainingPass the test.Complete an apprenticeship for at least one year.$140
Texas Completion of Bloodborne Pathogen courseFinish the tattoo education 
Utah County governments control the issuance of licenses. 
VermontOrganization for Professional RegulationOne thousand hours of training.Completion of a three-hour program on infectious illnesses. 
Virginia – 750 hours at a Virginia-approved institution; or 1,500 hours in a certified apprenticeship$86
WashingtonDivision of Licensing18 years of age is required.Successfully finished the Bloodborne Pathogen course$250
WisconsinMinistry of Professional Services and SafetyFinish the application$60
Wyoming There are no national standards. There are standards that must be fulfilled by both Laramie County as well as the City of Cheyenne. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does An Individual Need A License At All?

You must get a tattoo license in order to practice as a professional tattoo artist in every state and sometimes even abroad. The purpose of the tattoo license is to guarantee the highest level of tattoo services as well as to regulate and prevent the spread of infectious illnesses, which may happen easily if the tattooist is unskilled or ignorant of how diseases are transmitted and how to avoid them.

Every firm that engages in the tattoo, body piercing, or body art industry is obliged by law to get a tattoo license. The tattoo artist cannot work without a valid license, and if an officer of the law doesn’t see a copy of the tattoo license on display at the yearly inspection, the tattooing artist will be prohibited from working.

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What Makes Someone Eligible For A Tattoo License?

Every state has a set of legal standards, often known as eligibility criteria, that specify exactly what must be done in order to obtain a tattoo license. For instance;

  • A tattoo license is necessary whether you work alone, as an employee of another person, or as a component of a business. You risk receiving a massive fine if you don’t.
  • You must work in a secure and sanitary setting if you want to offer services and treatments like skin tattooing. This is one of the primary methods you may use to stop the sickness from spreading among clients or coworkers.
  • And finally. You must follow safe operating procedures, use appropriate, clean equipment, and work in a clean, safe, and secure environment as required by state law.

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These are only a few of the requirements set down by law. Each state has its own set of standards that must be fulfilled in order to work in the tattoo industry. But the three factors described above—proper working circumstances, a clean and safe atmosphere, and safe and sanitary tools—are what constitute the general requirements.

How Much Time Is Required To Obtain A Tattoo License?

The length of time it takes to obtain a tattoo license varies generally. However, you must have completed an apprenticeship for a minimum of one to 5 years. You can submit an application for a tattoo license after finishing an internship.

Although the internship is often unpaid, it offers the required training and insight into the tattoo industry. You will learn much about tattooing throughout the apprenticeship, including the tools, methods, sanitation and hygiene procedures, illness and infection control, and much more.

How Old Must You Be In Order To Obtain A Tattoo License?

In general, you must be at least 18 years old to begin an internship in tattooing and apply for a license. It is illegal for teenagers under the age of 18 to have tattoos or have their bodies pierced, either on their own or as a part of a company.

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Experts do advise you to confirm the minimum age restrictions for the particular state, local city, or county because specific laws may have changed.

What Is The Cost Of Getting A Tattoo License?

Now, the total cost of obtaining a tattoo license varies from state to state as well. Another possibility is that you would have to pay for your own apprenticeship program, which may cost between $5,000 and $10,000 for a two-year apprenticeship.

You must purchase your own tools in addition to working for free during the apprenticeship, as was previously specified.

Currently, the licensing fee costs range from $25 (in Alabama) to $420 (in Minnesota), according to information published on state-run websites.

According to reports, Texas is the state where you would have to pay the highest estimated tattoo licensing price in the nation, at roughly $900.

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Conclusion

It takes a lot of work to obtain a tattoo license. It can take a long time and be extremely expensive. However, if being a tattooist is ideal, go for it. Think of the time you spend learning to tattoo as a type of college education and the tattoo license as a formal diploma.

With these two, you’ll be irrepressible and able to fully appreciate making art and bringing delight to other people. But in the meantime, conduct your homework, make use of your internship, and save money since you’ll undoubtedly need additional cash while the procedure is in progress.

Max Peters