Totally Tattoo: What’s Tattoo College, Exactly?

tattoo portfolio

You spend your time scrolling through your favorite artists on Instagram and all you want is to be just like them. If you feel called out by that statement, then maybe you’ll become the next one of the 7,300 tattoo artists in the US.

Well, you’re lucky to be living in the year 2021, when becoming a tattoo artist has never been more achievable, with tattoo colleges leading the way. Let’s talk about tattoo schools and what they can do for you.

What Is Tattoo College?

Most old-school tattoo artists learned the same way; through an apprenticeship. Tattoo colleges are different in the way that they teach you the fundamentals and the skills necessary to become a tattoo artist. They are taught in a classroom style with hands-on additional learning.

When you go to a tattoo college, you will be taught everything you need to know about tattooing from different styles, techniques, equipment, shop life, and more. The typical course curriculum will be broken down into weeks and they will usually last between 10 to 12 weeks.

You will be taught by an array of instructors with a diverse artistic backgrounds to maximize your learning, and you won’t be narrowed in your scope as you would with an apprenticeship.

What Are The Benefits?

There are plenty of benefits to attending tattoo school, more than we could even go over if we tried. Everybody who attends these programs will find benefits that are unique to them, so there’s only one way to find out what they all are! However, here are some of the big ones.


While in school, you will get the chance to meet new artists, work with people who have similar interests to you, and develop a brand new skill that could turn into a lifelong career! What’s not to like?

You may meet an artist who offers you an apprenticeship, a spot at a convention, or a job in their shop after you graduate. You may meet some people who want to pay you for a tattoo once you’re licensed. Don’t underestimate the value of networking in the tattoo industry.

Increasing Demand

Getting into the field now is one of the best decisions you could make for yourself. Tattoos are becoming increasingly popular with more than 36% of adults under 29 having at least one tattoo. That’s a huge increase from 20 years ago.

Because of this, getting into the industry with such an increasing demand maximizes your prospects for landing a job once you finish school and for job security throughout your career.

Peer Learning

One of the biggest benefits of a tattoo school as opposed to an apprenticeship is that there are more people with different artistic abilities and skillsets who can help you develop a wider range of skills.

When you’re in a class setting, working with peers and a variety of instructors will help you maximize your tattooing skills, motivate you to keep improving, and make you into the best artist you can be.


Another great benefit of tattoo school is that you can choose to either go straight into tattooing or get an apprenticeship after. Think about tattooing like any other trade. A plumber may take a course on plumbing and then take an apprenticeship for a few years to really earn their stripes and hone their skills.

Basically, you will be given all the necessary tools needed to become an artist in school, although many students may want more time to continue developing their skills! Having the fundamentals down will help you land an apprenticeship, should you choose one.


Just like with traditional colleges, anybody can attend tattoo art college. There is always financial assistance available to those in need and you can always apply for a loan to get you on your way to earning.

Don’t worry, tattoo school isn’t nearly as expensive as earning a degree from a private school, and again, it only takes around 11 weeks to graduate.

Learn The History And The Machines

Not every artist develops an understanding of the equipment they use every day or the history of their own field. It really is a shame because these are foundational building blocks for every master tattooer to understand.

In tattoo school, you will be taught about the evolution of the industry, why it’s important to understand, and how it’s still evolving. You’ll also be taught about shop life, handling your equipment, and ways to save money on the tools you’ll be using throughout your career.

Make A Living From Your Passion

If you love drawing, creating art, and making people happy, then tattooing is the career for you. They say that if you love what you do for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life.

If art is your passion, you are obsessed with tattoos, and you’re happy working around new people all the time, then you’ve passed the barrier of entry into the industry. Once you complete the course, all you need to do is build a portfolio of tattoos, pass the bloodborne pathogens test, and you’ll be ready to become a tattoo artist!

How Do I Get Started?

Now that you know what a tattoo school is and some of the major benefits of attending one, you may be wondering how to start. If you apply for a loan and enroll in a tattoo college program, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a professional tattoo artist. Stay up to date with our latest industry news, enroll in a program, or schedule a school tour today!