While there is no specific age requirement governing apprenticeship at a tattoo parlor, most states require that individuals be at least 18 years old before they apply for a tattoo artist license. Depending on the state, individuals might be required to complete an apprenticeship before they become licensed.
In most cases, individuals complete their apprenticeship in three years. The apprentice learns how to create tattoo designs, use a tattoo machine and keep equipment properly sterilized. Apprentices also learn more about the business aspect of tattooing. Since free apprenticeships are rare, apprentices are often required to either sign a contract agreeing to work at a shop for a specific number of years or pay an artist for teaching them.