In the last several years, tattoos have become more mainstream. In fact, 36% of American adults fess up to having at least one tattoo, and 11% are 50 years or older.
More people are getting tattooed these days, making being a tattoo artist a lucrative career choice if you have artistic talent. But becoming a tattoo artist is not just about putting ink onto the skin.
If you’re looking at getting a Florida tattoo license, there is so much you need to know. From basics like health and safety practices to the more delicate intricacies of tattooing like understanding how the ink works with different skins and how it ages etc.
So, keep reading, and we’ll explain everything you need to know about getting a tattoo license in Florida so you can be on your way to inking in no time.
What Is a Tattoo Artist License?
A tattoo license is a license that, as of January 2013, is required by state law for anyone wishing to become a tattoo artist. This license controls and prevents the spread of infectious diseases in Florida. An artist who carries this license has undergone the proper training to tattoo people safely and responsibly.
These licenses also apply to beauty professionals who do make-up tattooing. Furthermore, anyone tattooing people must do so in a building licensed for this purpose by the state of Florida. Doing so without the proper licensing can result in penalties.
How to Get a Florida Tattoo License
To get a Florida tattoo license you must complete a state-approved tattoo education course. This course meets the FDOH’s education requirements on infectious diseases and bloodborne pathogens related to the tattoo industry.
Applying artists also need to meet the operational conditions and standards of practice as stated in Chapter 64E-28, Florida Administrative Code.
You will need:
- A Completed Application for a Tattoo Artist License
- Application Fee (currently $60)
- Copy of Verified Photo ID
- To Be 18 Years or Older
- Completed Bloodborne Pathogen and Communicable Diseases Course Certificate
A grade of 70% will be acceptable to qualify. A person applying for a Florida tattoo license must only submit proof of completion of this tattoo education course requirement and pass the initial licensure or registration examination. They will not need continuing education after completing the initial tattoo license course.
Once you complete all the requirements, submit your license application to your local county health department. Fee payment can be made via credit card, money order, or check. Do not send cash through the mail.
Tattoo School vs. Apprenticeship
There are several key differences between a tattoo school and an apprenticeship. A tattoo school will have a state-approved course curriculum that will be followed, whereas, with an apprenticeship, the applying artist must work under a mentor. A tattoo education course typically takes several weeks in contrast to an apprenticeship which lasts 1-2 years.
This is often limited to what the mentor knows and, more importantly, is willing to teach. Apprenticeships mean the artist works for the studio for free while they’re being trained to tattoo. However, being such a competitive market, you’ll often find many mentors not divulging all their trade secrets unless they’re looking to hire you for their shop.
You learn all the required information over eleven weeks by choosing an academy to study under. This course covers:
Week 1: The History of Tattoos
This section covers things like ancient practices and skin modification trends from all around the world. From hand-poke tattoos to modern electronic tattooing, an entire tattoo timeline is reviewed during this first week.
Week 2: The Art of Tattoo
This week is where applying artists can put their artistic talent to paper. Art styles are examined and discussed over the years, and students also learn about tattoo placement by using markers on human skin.
Week 3: Best Practices
This is one of the most crucial weeks of the course, and here you will learn health and safety best practices. This includes everything from cross-contamination to sanitation and studio safety. This week is also where you will receive your CPR and Blood Borne Pathogen certifications, which you will submit with your application.
Week 4: Machine Technology & Skin Biology
Another essential week where students learn about:
- Skin Biology
- Skin Health Assessment
- Reducing Trauma
- Clean Healing
- Interviewing Skills Centered Around Potential Skin Issues
This week, applying artists learn everything they need about tattoo machinery, such as building, breakdown, maintenance, and using power supplies, foot pedals, and rotary machines.
Week 5: Practical Tattoo Practice
Finally, the fun begins. During this week, students learn about primary line and shading techniques. Students are first guided on grapefruits, then move on to synthetic skin. This week, points like proper aseptic techniques, optimal depth, and distribution are also taught.
Week 6: Practice Skin
During this week, students learn about station setup and breakdown. Other factors like time management and consultation skills are also addressed during this week. Finally, students get to use this week to practice the principles of shading and color values. Throughout the course, applying artists are encouraged to use their own artwork.
Week 7: Intro Into Shop Life
This week students learn more about everything involved in running a shop, such as:
- Basics of Customer Service
- Shop Management
- Tattoo Pricing
- Proper Documentation Practises
This week, applying artists also get given pig skin to use and undergo an exam to become licensed.
Week 8: Consultations (Human Skin)
Consultations are one essential part of the tattoo business, and this week students hone their communication and listening skills to have more successful interviews. In addition, clients start meeting with clients this week.
Week 9: Artist Responsibility (Human Skin)
Applying artists use this “Family and Friends” week to build their portfolios. In addition, essential topics such as customer care, artistry, and ethics are also addressed this week.
Week 10: Client Care and Self Marketing (Human Skin)
Aspects like tattoo aftercare and touch-ups are addressed this week, and students continue to tattoo clients. Another essential part of the tattoo business is marketing; students review marketing skills they can apply later to their careers.
Week 11: Customer Service and Business Management (Human Skin)
This is the final week of the tattoo education course, and here the whole course’s portfolio that the student has gathered is reviewed and prepared for presentation. This is the final week and ends with course graduation.
To be eligible for enrollment, applicants must:
- Hold a high school diploma (GED or Wonderlic Test also Acceptable)
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be adept in English
- Have a basic understanding of drawing principles
- A passion for art
Renewing Your Tattoo Artist License
You need to renew your tattoo artist license once a year. You will need to submit your reapplication to your local county health department.
You will need to submit the following:
- Completed Application for Tattoo Artist License (check “Renewal” at the top)
- Renewal Fee (currently $60)
It’s essential to note that this application must contain the name of the tattoo location where the artist will be or is working from.
Reactivating an Expired Tattoo License
Renewal notifications are sent out around 45 days before expiration, but if the artist lets their licenses expire, it will enter an inactive status. When this happens, the artist will need to reactivate the license. Artists need to submit the following:
- Completed Application for Tattoo Artist License (mark the “Renewal” box at the top)
- $60 Renewal Fee
- $25 Reactivation Fee
The artist must submit this to the local county health department where they live, regardless of where they intend or are working.
Protocols for Guest Artists
If you’re a licensed tattoo artist in another state and wish to tattoo in Florida, you will need to register as a guest artist before undertaking any work.
When applying for a guest registration in the state of Florida, you need the following:
- A Completed Application for Guest Tattoo Artist Registration
- Registration Fee (currently $35)
- Copy of Verified Photo ID
- To Be 18 Years or Older
- A Certification of Completion of Bloodborne Pathogen and Infectious Diseases Course (min 70% passing grade)
Guest registration is valid for two weeks (14 successive days) in Florida. If you’re from a state with no license for tattoo artists, you will need to apply for a Florida tattoo artist license.
Begin Your Tattoo Career Journey Today
Being a tattoo artist is an enriching career. It allows you to spend your days creating art that will last your clients a lifetime. Knowing how to safely and responsibly tattoo someone is critical to success in this competitive industry.
Getting yourself officially registered and licensed means you can ethically partake in the art of tattooing, knowing your clients are getting the best you can provide.
If you’re looking for an excellent course to get your Florida tattoo license, we encourage you to look at our eleven-week Essential Tattoo Course. Professional tattooists and body piercers teach our classes, requiring strict attendance to graduate and get your certification.