Becoming a tattooist in England requires training, usually in the form of an apprenticeship, and registration with the environmental health department of the local council. A tattooing apprenticeship involves working alongside an experienced tattooist for one to three years. Registration usually involves filling out an application form and paying a registration fee to the local council.
It is up to the aspiring tattoo artist to find a registered tattooist who is willing to take on an apprentice. Details of registered tattoo artists can be obtained from the local council?s environmental health department. The apprentice also has to purchase tattooing and sterilizing equipment for use during training. A trainee can begin tattooing within six months, but it can take up to five years to become fully competent in the various tattoo styles. Some local councils provide short courses for practicing tattooists.
Pursuant to chapter 24 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, it is illegal to practice tattooing in England without a certificate of registration. In most of England, both the tattoo artist and the studio must be registered with the local council. In Greater London, excluding the City of London, tattooists are required to obtain a special treatment license from the local council instead. The registration requirements and fees vary from one area to another. Some environmental health departments, for instance, require that tattooists be vaccinated against hepatitis.