Tattoo Apprenticeships in Mobile

A resource for those people looking to obtain a tattoo apprenticeship in Mobile

Tattoo Apprenticeships – Mobile

Mobile, Alabama - Competition - Medium

Mobile has an estimated 25 tattoo studios and competition is medium for tattoo apprenticeships. This competition has been increasing. In the past few years as tattooing has grown in popularity, it has become harder and harder to find studios in Alabama and much of the Southeast willing to take on apprentices. That being said, where there’s a way, there’s a way, and good artists will always be in demand!

What do I need before I apply?

Getting an apprenticeship within a tattoo studio takes solid preparation and hard work whether you're applying in Arizona ….or Athens! Before applying, at Tattooing 101 we encourage all our students to take the time to prepare properly:

  • Portfolio of drawings
  • Mix of styles presented well
  • Tattoo certifications completed

For more detail read our comprehensive article on How to Get a Tattoo Apprenticeship.

Finding the right studios in Mobile

There are approximately 25 tattoo studios in Mobile, and most will have 1-2 apprentices in the shop. Not every shop will have an open spot, so you will need to spend the time approaching each one directly. Ideally, you want to start with known, high-quality shops and artists. We’ve found some of these below. 

Top Studios in Mobile

Name
Address
Rating

7675 McKinley Ave A, Mobile, AL 36608

6 S Conception St, Mobile, AL 36602

1222 Hillcrest Rd Suite E, Mobile, AL 36695

5800 Three Notch Rd, Mobile, AL 36619

9170 Airport Blvd, Mobile, AL 36608

3722 Moffett Rd, Mobile, AL 36618

Top Studios in Mobile

Name
Address
Rating

7675 McKinley Ave A, Mobile, AL 36608

6 S Conception St, Mobile, AL 36602

1222 Hillcrest Rd Suite E, Mobile, AL 36695

5800 Three Notch Rd, Mobile, AL 36619

9170 Airport Blvd, Mobile, AL 36608

3722 Moffett Rd, Mobile, AL 36618

Mobile, Alabama Tattoo License Laws & Certifications

While these are not required before you accept your apprenticeship, it’s best to be proactive.

Requirements

Experience

Must have minimum 36 hours under a licensed tattoo artist

Citizenship

Must be a US citizen

Certification

Must have blood-borne pathogen certificate

Requirements

Experience

Must have minimum 36 hours under a licensed tattoo artist

Citizenship

Must be a US citizen

Certification

Must have blood-borne pathogen certificate

How to Apply for a Tattoo License in Mobile

To be a tattoo artist in Alabama, individuals must have a “Body Art Operator Permit” issued by the state of Alabama. Body Art Operator Permits cost $50.00 in most counties. 

You must renew your permit every two years. Renewal costs $25.00 in most counties. 

The Application

To apply for a Body Art Operator Permit, you need to have the following:

Print and fill out a permit application.

You will need confirmation from a licensed body art facility (licensed tattoo shop) that you work in their space. (You will need to list the shop name where it says “Primary Facility Name” on the application.)

Provide proof of attendance in a bloodborne pathogen course.

Attach a copy of your certificate to your application.

You must have taken the course within the last 36 months

The course has to be approved by the Health Department.

You can find a list of Health Department-approved BBP courses here.

Provide one of these three and attach a copy to your application:

A copy of your Hepatitis B vaccination record

You can get a Hepatitis A and B Combination or Hepatitis B vaccine for $150 at Walgreens, CVS, or your preferred healthcare provider. The cost of vaccination may be covered by your health insurance.

Your declination form (paper providing legal proof explaining that you have refused to get the vaccine)

Proof of immunity.

Have a photo ID (driver’s license or passport). Attach a copy to your application.

You will need to be prepared to pay the $50.00 fee when you turn in your application.

If your county has additional regulations, you can find them here

The Application

To apply for a Body Art Operator Permit, you need to have the following:

Print and fill out a permit application.

You will need confirmation from a licensed body art facility (licensed tattoo shop) that you work in their space. (You will need to list the shop name where it says “Primary Facility Name” on the application.)

Provide proof of attendance in a bloodborne pathogen course.
Attach a copy of your certificate to your application.

  • You must have taken the course within the last 36 months
  • The course has to be approved by the Health Department.
  • You can find a list of Health Department-approved BBP courses here.

Provide one of these three and attach a copy to your application:

  • A copy of your Hepatitis B vaccination record
  • You can get a Hepatitis A and B Combination or Hepatitis B vaccine for $150 at Walgreens, CVS, or your preferred healthcare provider. The cost of vaccination may be covered by your health insurance.
  • Your declination form (paper providing legal proof explaining that you have refused to get the vaccine)
  • Proof of immunity.

Have a photo ID (driver’s license or passport). Attach a copy to your application.

You will need to be prepared to pay the $50.00 fee when you turn in your application.

If your county has additional regulations, you can find them here

Turn in Your Application. 

Take your completed application to your county’s local health department office. They will review your application right then. If approved, your license will be printed immediately and given to you that day at the health department.  

Things You Should Know:

Tattoo shops MUST have this health disclosure document displayed. However, as an individual artist, it is always good to have a copy to show to clients:

You CAN tattoo minors, as long as you have their guardian’s consent. The guardian must consent in person at the time of the tattoo and sign their agreement.

You will also need a copy of their ID. Keep those two documents (their signed consent and their ID copy) together in your permanent records.

You CANNOT tattoo anyone who is intoxicated/impaired in the state of Alabama.

You can only tattoo in a licensed facility. While there are a few exceptions for temporary setups (see pages 20-21 here), all tattoos have to be done in a body art facility (tattoo shop) with a current, valid tattoo license from the health department.


What if I can't get an apprenticeship?

Is there another way into the tattoo industry?

Traditional tattoo apprenticeships do not suit everyone. The spots are limited and many people are unable to accept a full-time job without pay. The good news is there is another way to become a professional tattoo artist.


Tattooing 101 is the largest online tattoo artist education platform in the world, now with over 3,000 graduates - Turning beginners into professional tattoo artists within 90 days. Many of our students go straight into shops as

paid artists or end up starting their own!

AUTHOR
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain. When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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