Are you interested in becoming a tattoo apprentice? If you have a great artistic talent, attention to detail, and the flexibility of working with people of all walks of life in any situation, being a tattoo artist might be right for you. Body art and the tattoo culture is more popular now than it ever was in the past, and so training to become a tattoo artist is a more sustainable career option then ever was in the past.
However, as you can imagine, every tattoo art school varies in the value and benefits that it offers you. Some tattoo apprenticeships and tattoo art schools take one to three years to go through. On the other end of the spectrum, there are schools that boast of giving you all of the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful tattoo artist in two weeks. Common sense would tell you that you cannot possibly gain the same experience from a two-week-long school that you could get from a school that takes several years. If you are planning to take your education and career as a tattoo artist seriously, you should ask the following questions before choosing a tattoo training school:
- What are the regulations in your area, and what schools follow those regulations?
In many states, you are not required to go school to become a tattoo artist, but you do have to get certified and your education will help you with the certification requirements. Some of the certification requirements are health and safety related, and some are related to your skills administering tattoos. Before enrolling in a tattoo school or apprenticeship program, make sure that it gives you the tools and skills to pass the certification standards that your state requires in order to be a professional tattoo artist.
- Does your school offer blood-borne pathogen education?
A tattoo artist works with needles throughout their entire day. These needles come in contact with clients’ blood, and can be incredibly dangerous if not handled properly. In order to protect customers, the artist themselves, and general public, it is critical that you get extensive training on blood-borne pathogen safety when becoming a tattoo artist. Before enrolling in a tattoo art school, make sure that the school offers this certification.
- What level of hands-on experience do you gain through your education?
Many tattoo artists opt work as apprentices to gain experience to start their careers. However, this often only involves sweeping floors and cleaning toilets more than actually administering tattoos that will give them the knowledge to have a successful career. Even in a tattoo art school, there are varying degrees of hands-on experience. Make sure to discuss the curriculum and the amount of time you’ll spend administering tattoos before you sign up for school.
- What do you get for your money?
You’ll find the tuition expenses of going through tattoo school vary from one school to the next. Some schools brag that they can give you the tattoo fundamentals for $4500, while some schools cost upwards of $20,000. Before signing up for school, look into what is actually provided through the tuition you pay. Some include tattoo machine and tools needed to learn your trade, and some require you to buy tools in addition to paying your tuition.
Depending on the accreditation of the tattoo art school, you may be eligible for loans and grants to help cover the cost of education. This is an option to look into before signing up for school.
- Does the school help with job placement?
Many many tattoo artists run their own booth, and essentially work for themselves. If this is your endgame, you want to make sure that you gain the knowledge needed to run your own tattoo business in school. Even if you are planning to be self-employed, you may want to work for someone else to gain the clientele and experience before becoming your own boss. If that is your goal, make sure that the tattoo art school you enroll in offers assistance with job placement, so that you don’t get out of school with nowhere to go.
Do you have any other tips for finding a good tattoo art school? Please share them below.