Being a tattoo lover you must be wondering how to become a tattoo artist. Every artist has a different journey. Tattooing is an artistic skill that makes people feel better about their bodies. If you have excellent drawing skills, this can be a rewarding career for you! In today’s post, I will discuss everything about how to become a certified tattoo artist in detail. Making a career in tattooing isn’t easy. It requires years of practice and lots of hard work. Here, I have even included skills and duties to become a successful tattoo artist. Let us now learn how to become a tattoo artist more in detail.

How To Become A Tattoo Artist?

To know how to become a tattoo artist, follow these steps.

  1. Finish Highschool Education
  2. Earn An Arts Degree
  3. Take Drawing Classes
  4. Obtain Licence
  5. Gain Experience
  6. Start Practising

Being a tattoo artist, you must have excellent drawing skills. This will surely help you to get better job opportunities. Without wasting much time, let us check out how to become a qualified tattoo artist.

Step-By-Step Guide To Become A Tattoo Artist

In this section, I will explain to you the complete process of how to become a tattoo artist professionally.

Step 1: Finish Highschool Education

To become a tattoo artist, the applicant needs to complete a high school diploma course. This will help them to figure out whether they want to pursue this career or not. Most tattoo artist schools offer a variety of art classes such as two-dimensional drawing, graphic design, and more. This will help you to prepare a base for your tattooing career. You can also take GED if you cannot attend high school.

Step 2: Earn An Arts Degree

Some tattoo artists suggest you earn a degree in fine arts from an Art School or University. This degree can be useful to become a well-rounded artist. You can even attend art classes at a community college as an alternative. Having an Arts degree can help you find more clients and better-paying jobs.

Step 3:Take Drawing Classes

Excellent drawing skills are a must in this particular field. You need to be skilled in drawing especially in line art. Try to take art classes offered by community centers and colleges. You can even contact your local tattoo artist to check if they offer any art classes or not. After completing these classes make sure you keep on practicing on your own.

Step 4: Apply For An Apprenticeship

Contact local tattoo shops located in your area to apply for a tattoo artist apprenticeship. This will help you to work with an established tattoo artist. It will help you to build professional business skills, hygienic work practices, and tattoo design. Most apprenticeships last between 6 to 12 months. You may even ask to invest in some equipment and a basic tattoo kit as you apply for an apprenticeship.

Keep on reading to know how to become a licensed tattoo artist.

Step 5: Obtain License

The requirements for tattoo licensing differ from state to state. You may have to complete a certain amount of apprenticeship hours and take health and safety courses. The applicant also has to pass an exam on hygienic tattooing practices. Make sure you first contact your local government business department to know the requirements for a license.

Step 5: Gain Experience

Once you obtain a tattoo license, search for jobs in your area. You can even visit tattoo forums and websites for specific tattoo shops to see if there is a vacancy. Most tattoo shops take artists by looking at their skills or personal style. So, make sure you create a resume and art portfolio to apply for this job profile.

Step 6: Start Practising

After getting a job as a tattoo artist, you need to keep on practicing your style to attract more clients. Developing your own style is very important to becoming a successful tattoo artist. You can take training classes every year to maintain proper safety techniques. Also, make sure you renew your license as needed to avoid fines. After getting years of experience, you can even start your own tattoo business.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Tattoo Artist?

Generally, it takes about one to two years to become a tattoo artist. This time can vary depending upon your drawing skills and learning capacity. Sometimes, you may have to practice under a master tattooist to improve your drawing skills.

Basic Requirements To Become A Tattoo Artist

In the above section, I have explained how to become a tattoo artist in detail. There are a few skills one must learn to truly master this art.

  • The applicant must be good at drawing.
  • While working as a tattoo artist, you must learn how to work with a tattoo machine.
  • Learn proper techniques to perform a variety of tattoos.
  • Being a tattoo artist, you must have good communication skills.
  • Aspiring tattoo artists must possess excellent creativity and artistic ability.

Responsibilities Of Being A Tattoo Artist

Below is the list of responsibilities of being a tattoo artist.

  • Cleaning and sterilizing all tattoo equipment.
  • Making new designs and sketching them out.
  • Discuss and suggest new ideas with clients.
  • Book new appointments
  • Educating clients regarding tattoo aftercare.
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  • Staying updated with the latest tattoo movements and trends.

How Much Does It Cost To Become A Tattoo Artist?

Most tattoo apprenticeships are free of cost. It can cost you around $5000 if you work with reputed tattoo shops. This can vary depending upon the skills and courses offered by the artist you’re working with.

Salary Of A Tattoo Artist

The average salary of a tattoo artist is around $35,000 to $50,000 in general. You can start your own tattooing business once you gain enough experience.

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What Are Tattoo Artists Called?


A tattoo artist (also tattooer or tattooist) is an individual who applies permanent decorative tattoos, often in an established business called a “tattoo shop”, “tattoo studio” or “tattoo parlour”. Tattoo artists usually learn their craft via an apprenticeship under a trained and experienced mentor.

How Much Makes A Tattoo Artist?

The average Tattoo Artist salary is $63,584 per year, or $30.57 per hour, in the United States. People on the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, make roughly $27,000 a year, while the top 10% makes $148,000. As most things go, location can be critical.

What Skills Are Needed To Be A Tattoo Artist?


  • A flair for design and creativity.
  • A steady hand.
  • A love of alternative cultures.
  • Patience and dedication.
  • Good interpersonal skills.
  • Extremely good attention to detail.
  • Empathetic nature, and the ability to turn clients’ ideas into reality.

How Long Does It Take To Learn To Tattoo?

between 1-3 years

A tattoo apprenticeship can last anywhere between 1-3 years. Some have been known to last even longer depending on what speed your mentor chooses to teach you at. Some apprenticeships are even paid and working apprenticeships.

Is It Possible To Be A Self Taught Tattoo Artist?

In fact, many of the top tattooists are self-taught and many old-timers started off working out for themselves the techniques involved.

Do Tattoo Artists Make A Lot Of Money?

The average Tattoo Artist salary in California is $47,998 as of December 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $43,638 and $52,989.


By reading my above post, you’ve understood how to become a professional tattoo artist in detail. Aspiring tattoo artists must possess great artistic ability and creativity! Just like other skills, even art takes years of hard work and practice to be perfect. So, take tattoo artist educational courses either in high school or at a local community center to enhance your skills and knowledge. After gaining enough experience, you can start your own business to gain new customers. This will help you to improve your marketability as a professional. You can now start your career as a tattoo artist by knowing how to become a tattoo artist.


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