Aspiring tattoo artists don't necessary have to meet any educational requirements, and many artists learn the trade via apprenticeships. However, to receive a license, some states require individuals to undergo mandatory training in skin infections and disease prevention. Check with local regulatory agencies to see if they require classroom experience.
There are several educational programs that teach the art of tattoo. These include the Denver Body Art School, the World's Only Tattoo School in Louisiana, and the Tat Institute, which offers online training programs.
These programs may not be necessary, however, and aspiring tattoo artists might want to look for an apprenticeship instead. Most tattoo artists learn the craft on the job, under the guidance of licensed professionals. The Alliance of Professional Tattooists recommends that apprenticeships last three years. After this training period, apprentice artists apply for a license. They may have to take courses in infections, diseases, and blood-borne pathogen prevention before being allowed to apply.
To become a licensed tattoo artist, applicants may have to take a written exam and demonstrate their artistry in a skills assessment. Some states also have rules about necessary number of training hours. Even after tattoo artists receive their license, they may be required to attend continuing education classes.