Start Your Tattoo Apprenticeship: What Age Requirements You Need to Know

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Are you interested in becoming a tattoo artist, but unsure of what age you can start a tattoo apprenticeship? Tattoo apprenticeships are an excellent way to learn the craft of tattooing and hone your skills as an artist, but there are certain age restrictions in place that you need to consider before starting the apprenticeship. In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about what age you can start a tattoo apprenticeship.


Overview of Tattoo Apprenticeships

Overview Of Tattoo Apprenticeships

Tattoo apprenticeships are a great way for aspiring tattoo artists to gain hands-on experience and learn the trade. Typically, apprenticeships involve working alongside an experienced tattoo artist to learn the art of tattooing. Apprenticeships include basic instruction on how to set up and use tattoo equipment, as well as learning about safety, hygiene, and proper technique. During an apprenticeship, the apprentice may also learn about the history of tattooing, as well as the cultural and artistic aspects of the art form.

The age requirements for becoming a tattoo apprentice vary from state to state. Generally, the minimum age for a tattoo apprentice is 18, although some states may have additional restrictions. For instance, in some states, you may need to be at least 21 years old or have parental consent to start an apprenticeship. It’s important to check with your state’s laws and regulations before beginning an apprenticeship.

The length of apprenticeships may also vary. Most apprenticeships last for at least a year, although some may be longer or shorter. During the apprenticeship, the apprentice will be expected to work and practice under the guidance of the experienced tattoo artist. This may include tasks such as setting up the workspace and equipment, taking care of supplies, and cleaning up after the tattoo session is finished.

At the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentice will have gained the skills and knowledge necessary to become a certified tattoo artist. Apprenticeships are the best way for aspiring tattoo artists to gain the experience and skills needed to pursue a career in the field. So, if you’re wondering how old do you have to be a tattoo apprentice, the answer is usually 18, although additional restrictions may apply.

What Age Can You Start a Tattoo Apprenticeship?

What Age Can You Start A Tattoo Apprenticeship?

How Old Do You Have to Be a Tattoo Apprentice?

The minimum age to become a tattoo apprentice is 18. You must be of legal age in your state or country to get a tattoo apprenticeship.

What Age Can You Get a Tattoo Apprenticeship?

Most tattoo apprenticeships require an applicant to be of legal age in their state or country in order to be accepted. Some apprenticeships may be available to those aged 16 or 17 with parental permission, but this is not always the case. It is important to check with your local regulations before applying.

To get a tattoo apprenticeship, you must also have a passion for tattooing and a willingness to learn from experienced professionals. Most apprenticeships require a portfolio of artwork to showcase your skills, so if you are serious about a career in tattooing, it is important to start building your portfolio as soon as possible.

How to Get a Tattoo Apprenticeship at 16

How To Get A Tattoo Apprenticeship At 16

At 16, it is not impossible to get a tattoo apprenticeship; it just takes some extra effort. Here are a few tips to help you secure an apprenticeship at 16:

  • Research the tattoo industry and the shops in your area. Learn about the different tattooing techniques and the equipment needed. Also, look into the regulations governing the industry in your area.
  • Look for shops that accept apprentices. Most shops require their apprentices to be 18 years old, but there are some that will accept younger applicants. Contact the shop directly to inquire about their apprenticeship program.
  • Make a portfolio. Create a portfolio of your artwork and designs to showcase to potential employers. Show them your passion and enthusiasm for the craft.
  • Find a mentor. Look for a tattoo artist who is willing to take you on as an apprentice. This can be done through networking or even through online communities.
  • Be patient. At 16, you don’t have the same access to apprenticeships as someone who is 18 or older. You may need to be patient while you look for a shop that is willing to take you on.

Finding a tattoo apprenticeship at 16 is possible, but it takes dedication and hard work. With the right research and a portfolio of your artwork, you can find the right shop and secure an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship Requirements

Apprenticeship Requirements

  • Age: Depending on the state, you may need to be at least 18 years of age to become a tattoo artist.
  • Experience: Most tattoo studios will require at least 3-5 years of experience in the field, such as working in a tattoo shop, attending tattoo conventions, or even having previous apprenticeships.
  • Portfolio: A portfolio of your work is essential and should include sketches, drawings, and photographs of previous tattoos.
  • References: References from previous employers or apprenticeships are important in order to prove your skills and experience.
  • Training: Many states will require you to complete a certain number of hours of training before you can become an apprentice.
  • Testing: You may be required to pass a licensing exam or other tests in order to become an apprentice.
  • Health & Safety: In order to protect both the artist and client, you will need to demonstrate a knowledge of health and safety protocols.

Researching Apprenticeships

Researching Apprenticeships

When researching apprenticeships in the field of tattooing, it is important to look into the experience and qualifications of the mentor/teacher. Their experience and qualifications will determine the quality of the education and experience you will get. It is also important to research the cost of the apprenticeship, as well as the length of time you will be in the program. It is also important to research the type of apprenticeship the mentor offers, as there are different types of apprenticeships that require different levels of commitment. Lastly, researching the potential job opportunities that come with being a trained tattoo artist is important, as this will give you an idea of the job market and potential salary you can expect to earn.

Finding a Mentor

Finding A Mentor

Finding a Mentor is an integral part of any apprenticeship. A mentor provides guidance and support, as well as teaching their apprentice the skills and techniques needed to become a successful tattoo artist. Here are some important facts about finding a mentor:

  • Finding the right mentor is essential. Look for someone who is experienced and knowledgeable in the tattoo arts and who has the time to dedicate to their apprenticeship program.
  • It’s important to research potential mentors before committing to an apprenticeship. Ask questions and speak to other tattoo artists who have trained with them to get a better understanding of their methods.
  • Look for mentors who have a good reputation in the tattoo industry. This will ensure that you receive the best quality training and guidance.
  • It’s important to find a mentor who is willing to take the time to teach and mentor you. A good mentor should be patient, understanding and willing to provide feedback and help you to improve.
  • It’s also important to find a mentor who understands your goals and will help you to reach them. It’s important to have a mentor who shares your vision and is willing to help you reach your goals.

Finding the right mentor is essential for any aspiring tattoo artist. Research potential mentors and speak to other tattoo artists who have trained them to ensure that you receive the best quality training and guidance. With the right mentor, you can become a successful tattoo artist.

Applying for an Apprenticeship

Applying For An Apprenticeship

Applying for a tattoo apprenticeship is the first step in becoming a tattoo artist. Before submitting an application, it is important to understand the qualifications and requirements for the program.


Age Education
18+ High school diploma or equivalent

The application process for a tattoo apprenticeship may vary by establishment; however, there are some general requirements that will be the same. Most shops will require a portfolio of artwork and a resume that outlines your education, art experience, and any related work experience. You may also be required to provide references from people who can vouch for your artistic and professional abilities.

When submitting your application and portfolio, ensure that it is neatly organized and professional. Additionally, it is important to be on time and courteous when visiting the shop. This will make a good impression on potential employers and may help you to stand out from other applicants.

Finally, it is important to remember that a tattoo apprenticeship is a competitive field that requires creative and technical skill. With the right qualifications and a professional application, you can increase your chances of being accepted into a program.

Pros and Cons of an Apprenticeship


  • You learn from experienced professionals
  • You can earn while you learn
  • You gain a recognised qualification
  • You develop your professional network
  • You are able to learn hands-on skills


  • It may take longer to become qualified
  • You may be exposed to health and safety risks
  • The hours may be long and unpredictable
  • The wages may be lower than other jobs
  • You may be exposed to harsh criticism

When considering whether to pursue a tattoo apprenticeship, it is important to weigh up the pros and cons. If you are wondering what age you can start a tattoo apprenticeship, the answer depends on where you live. In some places, you need to be 18 or older, while in others you can start at 16. But regardless of what age you are, it is important to research the requirements and make sure you are prepared for the apprenticeship.

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications do I need to start a tattoo apprenticeship?

To start a tattoo apprenticeship, you will need to have a basic knowledge of artistic principles, including shading and drawing. You should also possess a high school diploma or GED and be at least 18 years old. Additionally, you must have an apprenticeship sponsor, who is a licensed professional tattoo artist. Sponsors are responsible for teaching you the fundamentals of tattooing, such as safety and sanitation, so they will look for a strong work ethic and commitment when considering you for an apprenticeship.

Are there Legal Age Requirements for Getting a Tattoo Apprenticeship?

  • Minimum Age Requirement – Most states require you to be at least 18 years of age to enroll in a tattoo apprenticeship. This is due to safety reasons and the fact that tattoos are considered a body modification.
  • Proof of Age – You must provide proof of age in order to be accepted into a tattoo apprenticeship. This is usually done by providing a valid form of identification such as a driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate.
  • Verification of Age – Some states may require additional verification of age before allowing you to participate in a tattoo apprenticeship. This could include a background check or a tattoo license.
  • Professional Certification – In some states, you may need to obtain professional certification from a recognized body in order to participate in a tattoo apprenticeship. This could involve taking additional courses or completing specific tests.

The legal age requirements for getting a tattoo apprenticeship vary from state to state, so it’s important to research the rules in your area before beginning the process. Make sure you have all the necessary documents and proof of age before attempting to enroll in an apprenticeship program.

Are there any Safety Concerns?

Safety is paramount when considering a tattoo apprenticeship. Make sure that the shop you are considering has proper safety protocols in place, including wearing gloves and using new, disposable needles for each tattoo. The shop should also have a strict policy for disposing of used needles. Additionally, make sure that the shop is licensed and inspected regularly.

How Long Does a Typical Tattoo Apprenticeship Last?

A tattoo apprenticeship usually lasts between 6 months to 2 years, depending on the artist.

  • During the first 6 months, apprentices learn the basics of tattooing and are expected to shadow their mentor.
  • Apprentices are taught how to properly use and maintain tattooing equipment, how to mix and choose tattoo inks, and how to properly design and execute tattoos.
  • The next 6 months is dedicated to honing their skills and mastering the basics of tattooing.
  • Apprentices are expected to practice on artificial skin and create tattoos on live models.
  • The last 6 months to 2 years is spent refining the apprentice’s skills and learning more advanced techniques.
  • At the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentice is expected to be able to create professional tattoos and can start their own business.

What type of tattooing skills will I learn during an apprenticeship?

During an apprenticeship, you will learn the basics of tattooing, such as how to set up a machine, how to prepare the skin for a tattoo, and how to properly apply the ink. You will also gain knowledge on the different techniques and tools used in tattooing, such as shading and outlining. Additionally, you will learn how to design tattoos and create custom artwork. You will become familiar with the different types of needles, ink, and equipment used in tattooing and learn the necessary safety protocols for preventing infection and ensuring optimal results.


Tattoo apprenticeships are an excellent way to start a career in the tattoo industry. Apprentices must meet certain requirements, such as being at least 18 years old, having a high school diploma or GED, and having some form of artistic experience. Although the minimum age to become an apprentice may vary from state to state, it is generally 18. It is important to understand the laws and regulations in the area where the apprenticeship will take place before beginning the process.


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