Tattoo Apprenticeships in San Francisco

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

Tattoo Apprenticeships – San Francisco

San Francisco, California - Competition - Medium

San Francisco has an estimated 85 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 California and much of the West 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 San Francisco

There are approximately 85 tattoo studios in San Francisco, 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 San Francisco

Name
Address
Rating

2440 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110, United States

5736 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112, United States

381 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States

228 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, United States

610 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108, United States

1157 Masonic Ave, San Francisco, CA 94117, United States

310 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States

555 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122, United States

3991 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94114, United States

4025 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, United States

Top Studios in SAN FRANCISCO

Name
Address
Rating

2440 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110, United States

5736 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112, United States

381 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States

228 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, United States

610 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108, United States

1157 Masonic Ave, San Francisco, CA 94117, United States

310 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States

555 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122, United States

3991 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94114, United States

4025 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, United States

San Francisco, California 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 Registration in California

A license is not required. Instead, artists must register with the county in which they do business. (This guide will refer to registration requirements in Los Angeles county.) Registration costs $54.

Registrations expire after one year and must be renewed every year. Renewal costs $54. Registration and renewal both use this application.

The Application

In order to register in Los Angeles county, you will need:

A copy of a valid government-issued ID

One passport-type photo (2x2 inch). You can get an approved photo at any CVS Photo location.
Click here to find a location near you.

Hepatitis B Vaccination Documentation or Voluntary Declination of Hepatitis B Vaccination Form

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

The Application

In order to register in Los Angeles county, you will need:

A copy of a valid government-issued ID

One passport-type photo (2x2 inch). You can get an approved photo at any CVS Photo location. Click here to find a location near you.

Hepatitis B Vaccination Documentation or Voluntary Declination of Hepatitis B Vaccination Form

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

Turn in Your Application. 

You will need to register with your local public health department. A list of local health service departments can be found here.

For Los Angeles County, you can submit your application in person at this address:  

County of Los Angeles
Department of Public Health
Environmental Health
5050 Commerce Drive
Baldwin Park, CA 91706

Your registration will become active within one week of your application being processed. 

Things You Should Know:

It is illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of 18, even if they have parental consent.

Find additional California State Regulations for Body Art here.


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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