Tattooist And Body Piercer

Job Description:

Tattooists create permanent artwork on their clients' bodies. Body piercers pierce parts of clients' bodies so that they can wear jewellery.

Job Category:
Art & Fashion

What you will do:

As a tattooist you’ll:

  • advise clients on suitable tattoos
  • make sure the chosen design is exactly what the client wants
  • check that clients understand that the tattoo is permanent
  • copy the chosen design onto the customer’s skin, either by drawing freehand or using a transfer
  • follow the design lines with an electrically-operated needle, which injects ink under the skin
  • make sure all equipment is sterilised and clean
  • follow strict hygiene and health and safety procedures

As a body piercer you’ll:

  • discuss with the client the type of piercing they want and advise on what may be suitable
  • explain the procedure and point out any risks involved
  • advise on suitable types of metal and jewellery
  • sterilise the piece of jewellery and the area which is being pierced
  • dispose of the needle, following health and safety guidelines
  • show the client how to care for the piercing as it heals, and what to do if there’s a problem


You’ll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • ability and knowledge on how to use piercing and tattooing equipment
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • concentration skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure (leadership skills)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to use your initiative (ambition/drive)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming a Tattooist and Body Piercer typically doesn’t have strict educational requirements, like specific subjects. However, a strong foundation in art and a solid understanding of health and safety are crucial for success in this field. Here’s what you might consider:

  1. Art or Art and Design: subjects in art, fine art, or art and design can help you develop your artistic skills. A strong portfolio showcasing your ability to draw, paint, and create visual art is often more important than formal qualifications.
  2. Health and Safety: A deep understanding of health and safety regulations and best practices in the field of body art is essential. You should be well-versed in sterilization techniques, bloodborne pathogens, and hygiene standards. This knowledge helps ensure the safety of your clients.
  3. Anatomy and Biology: A basic understanding of human anatomy and biology can be beneficial, particularly if you’re involved in body piercing. Knowledge of the human body can help you identify safe piercing locations and understand how to minimize risks.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses run by private training organisations


You could start as an assistant in a tattoo parlour or body piercing studio. You would need to find a registered tattooist or body piercer, who is willing to take you on and train you.

You would learn alongside them in the workplace to get the skills, knowledge and experience needed for the job.

For tattooing, you’ll need:

  • an interest in tattooing designs
  • artistic ability
  • a portfolio of your own artwork and design ideas to showcase your talents

You might have to start as a customer service assistant in a studio, answering enquiries and booking appointments. From there, you could look out for trainee opportunities.

Other Routes

You could take short training courses and distance learning courses. These will not make you fully qualified. You’ll also need to get hands-on, supervised experience in a registered studio.

Career Tips

Many tattooists have experience or qualifications in art and design. It can be useful to have a portfolio of your work.

It’s useful to know about the styles and history of tattooing across different cultures. This can help you understand the traditions and meaning of images and how they are meant to be used.

Networking is a good way to get your skills known. Look for online community forums that can put you in touch with experienced tattooists or piercers.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 30-40 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings as customers demand.

You could work in a creative studio or at a store. You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could become self-employed. This could mean ‘renting a chair’ in someone else’s studio. With a business plan and sufficient funds, you could open your own studio and employ other piercers or tattooists.