Tattooist and Body Piercer

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 will 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 will need to get hands-on, supervised experience in a registered studio.

Day-to-day Tasks

  • 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

Skills and Knowledge

You'll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • concentration skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You need to be over the age of 18

Vaccinated against hepatitis B

The Isle of Man has specific legislation around tattooing, body piercing, electrolysis and acupuncture.

All such businesses/persons are required to be registered with and licensed with the Environmental Health Unit (DEFA). Registration is subject to routine inspections. All registered persons are issued with a certificate, which must be displayed on the premises.

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