Alternative titles for this job include Body artist

Tattooists create permanent artwork on their clients' bodies.

Average salary (a year)


Typical hours (a week)

30 to 40 variable

You could work

evenings as customers demand

How to become a tattooist

You can get into this job through:

  • working towards this role


You could start as an assistant by finding a tattooist who is willing to take you on and train you.

It may be possible to work as a customer service assistant in a larger studio, answering enquiries and booking appointments. From there, you could become a trainee as opportunities come up.

You'll need:

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

More information

Career tips

Many tattooists have experience or qualifications in art and design.

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.

What it takes

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 must register both yourself and your premises with your local council for a tattoo, piercing and electrolysis licence.

You'll need to vaccinated against hepatitis B.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you could:

  • 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

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

You could open your own tattoo studio.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a tattooist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Are you interested in becoming a tattooist?

Search for training courses near you.

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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