If you have an eye for detail-oriented designs, and an eternal passion for art, starting a tattoo artist career can be rewarding!

While every artist’s journey is different, the one you choose will depend on what type of opportunities, finances, and talent falls within your reach. However, there are some common steps all aspiring tattoo artists must follow to advance their skill sets, acquire experience of the trades, and get the knack of tattooing.

Here’s how you can get started!

Packing the necessary skills

Once a subject of taboo, this culture has developed as a more mainstream and tattooing is ubiquitous, and it calls for a range of skills to forge a sustainable career within the industry!

  1. An organic flair for design and an exceptionally high standard of artistic ability.
  2. The potential to improvise and whip up creative visual quick fixes.
  3. Strong articulation, conversations, and customer service skills.
  4. Extreme levels of concentration and patience to manage long sittings with customers.
  5. Top-notch hand-eye coordination and a steady hand.
  6. Strong familiarity with stringent hygiene practices and its implementation.
  7. Proficiency in networking effectively with other business owners and artists.
  8. The talent with the basics of graphic design skills.
  9. Some prerequisite knowledge of working with software and systems, precisely, a tattoo shop software.

The job description of tattoo artist careers

tattoo artist reputation

Let’s describe this the old school jobseeker way.

The responsibilities of tattoo artists include maintaining a hygienic work environment, which further comprises – donning gloves when contact with broken skin is possible, sterilizing tattoo equipment after each application, and ensuring all work surfaces are disinfected to avoid the spread of blood-borne viruses.

The tattoo industry is a service industry. Needless to say, nurturing strong relations and rapport with your clientele is a must, and it’ll help with overall tattoo marketing strategies. Brewing good conversation and establishing trust in your client that puts you right at the top of their recommendation list will always stay at the core of your tattoo artist job description and help you get more tattoo clients!

Created by and for tattoo lovers.

Try TattooPro today!

Get Free Demo


Mistakes will happen, and yep, they’re permanent — you don’t need a degree, but it still requires you to burn the midnight oil and hit the books.

Here’s what you’ll need to do,

  1. Compile a portfolio showcasing your most delicate pieces of designs, and they can be originals or high-quality prints, and your potential outlook as a tattoo artist.
  2. An introductory course on drawing and graphic design is highly recommended (if you don’t have any prior formal art training).
  3. Grab a copy of ‘Basic Fundamentals of Modern Tattoo,’ and go through it once (or maybe twice)!
  4. Get the hang of skin diseases and preventions. Believe us, you are going to need this way more than you think you would.
  5. Get your dream apprenticeship for at least two years, under the supervision of a talented, renowned artist before you start and run your own shop.

And some noteworthy facts we think you should know before becoming a tattoo artist…

Well, not sure about the rest, but we’re with you in your decision to be a tattoo artist. It’s 2020, and it’s the raddest option out for art lovers, but before you embark on your journey, remember this solid life advice.

Save money before you begin, because there’s a massive chance you might need to work for free.

  1. There’s no guarantee that you will ever make tonnes of money. The average annual salary for a tattoo artist is roughly $35,000, and you still need to pay for your bills. Simply, if you want to be an artist, don’t do it for the money.
  2. At times, you will feel like a therapist. Your customers will bring in their most painful moments, and ask you to translate them into artwork.
  3. You’re going to mess up at times. When this happens, you will have to apologize and offer to cover it up (for free).
  4. When someone dives in with a bad idea, you will have to tell them!
  5. At last, you will need to cultivate an ultimate zen-like ability to focus only on the things that are right in front of you, and nothing else!
  6. Get trained in using tattoo software to book appointments.

So, you are all set from being tattooed to becoming a tattooer and know that the negative stereotypes of the tattoo industry aren’t always true. We are sure you’ll meet the nicest people and opportunities ever, and in no time, you’ll find a family in this tattoo industry that you wish you had known before!

FAQs: Tattoo Artist Career

Do I need a college degree to become a tattoo artist?

No, going to school is not a must. If you want to learn to tattoo, we recommend being patient and finding a great tattoo studio with a mentor.

What are the duties and responsibilities during the apprenticeship?

During your apprenticeship, you will learn,

1. Sterilizing the equipment
2. Learning to design tattoos
3. Operating a tattoo machine

What are the primary medical skills required for a tattoo artist?

When it comes to medical skills, tattoo artists must be skilled in the essentials of:

1. Hygiene and health
2. CPR and basic first aid
3. Infection-control practices

Featured Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash