How to Get a Tattoo License – Alaska

To become a tattoo artist in the state of Alaska, you must get a state license. In this article, we’ll break down:

  • What the requirements you must meet to get licensed
  • Where to get the paperwork you need
  • Where to learn more about your county regulations

Licensing and Permit Provisions for Tattooing and Permanent Cosmetic Work in Alaska

To be a tattoo artist in Alaska, you need a license issued by the state. There is a standard license, a temporary license, a temporary permit, and a courtesy license. Understanding which one you need will help you know which fees and documents to submit. 

If it is your first time getting a tattoo license and you are living in Alaska, you will want to apply for a Standard License.

Note:

The state public health division is the department that governs a person practicing barbering, hairdressing, and other areas of cosmetology.

Standard License Requirements

For a standard license as a tattoo artist, there is a $150 nonrefundable application fee, a $180 initial license fee, and a $60 examination fee. 

All checks and money orders should be made payable to State of Alaska as follows:

  • Application fee (nonrefundable): $150.00
  • Examination fee: $60.00
  • Initial license fee: $180.00

Temporary License Requirements - For New Artists Waiting on Their Standard License to Arrive - 120 Days

For a temporary license as a tattoo artist, there is a $150 nonrefundable application fee, a $100 temporary license fee, and a $60 written examination fee. (Full info see bottom of page 1 here.)

A temporary tattoo artist license (or body piercing) solely for 120 days can also be obtained. 

This temporary permit is for individuals who have completed their training and are qualified to take the examination (and have submitted an application to do so) but have not yet had a valid license issued or taken the exam yet. You must have paid the application and exam fees.

You will also need to complete a Statement of Responsibility form. This is a nonrenewable application. Each student permit is only valid for one area.

Temporary Permit - For Artists From Another State - 6 Months

Temporary permits are available for tattoo artists who are working in a shop approved by the state. A temporary permit may be granted to a tattoo artist for a period of six months, at which time the state will issue a permanent license or reject the application.

To apply for a temporary permit, you must issue a notarized copy of your license from another state (or copies from a licensed school in your initial licensing jurisdiction).

You will also need to pay appropriate fees (the temporary permit fee is $100 plus the application fee and permanent license fees).

Courtesy License Requirements - For Short Trips Like Tattoo Conventions, Guest Spots, Etc.

If you are a guest artist from another state, you can get a 30-day courtesy license and practice in a licensed shop. For a courtesy license, there is an $80 nonrefundable application fee and an $80 courtesy license fee.

Current Valid License Expiration Dates

You must renew your standard license by August 31 of odd-numbered years, unless they were issued within 90 days of that date (in which case, they will be good until the next August in an odd-numbered year). Renewal of an individual license costs $90. Renew your license here

Temporary licenses last for 120 days and are non-renewable. 

Courtesy licenses last for 30 days and can only be issued once per calendar year.

The Application Process for Tattooing and Permanent Cosmetic Licenses

To get a tattoo license, you must submit the following:

Note:

A “certified true copy” means a copy of your original document that has been notarized. UPS offers notary services. Find a notary near you here.

1

Tattooing and Permanent Cosmetic License STUDENT Application

2

Education Requirements for Tattooing and Body Piercing

Original or certified copies of education records to prove you meet the following requirements:

1000 hours of training. A minimum of 270 hours must meet these criteria:

Anatomy and Physiology – 30 hours

Skin and Skin Disorders – 10 hours

Aftercare Techniques, Equipment, and Supplies – 100 hours

Alaska Statutes and Regulations – 10 hours

At least 150 practical operations, which must include:

50 practical operations observed by the student

50 practical operations in which the student participated

50 practical operations performed by the student under supervision, but without assistance.

Original or certified copies of education records to prove you meet the following requirements:

1000 hours of training. A minimum of 270 hours must meet these criteria:

Anatomy and Physiology – 30 hours

Skin and Skin Disorders – 10 hours

Aftercare Techniques, Equipment, and Supplies – 100 hours

Alaska Statutes and Regulations – 10 hours

At least 150 practical operations, which must include:

50 practical operations observed by the student

50 practical operations in which the student participated

50 practical operations performed by the student under supervision, but without assistance.

3

CPR and Bloodborne Training/Sanitary Practices Courses

CPR and Bloodborne Training/Sanitary Practices Courses are important for anyone considering becoming a tattoo artist or working in body piercing.

These courses provide vital information on how to protect both the person being tattooed and the same person artist themselves from infection and disease. And, because they're offered by schools licensed by the state, they ensure that all tattoo artists have the same high standard of training. By taking these courses, tattoo artists can help to protect their clients and themselves while ensuring that their work is of the highest quality.

Because of this, you will need to submit a certified true copy of your current CPR and blood borne pathogens card from a course taught by a licensed healthcare professional. CPR courses must be offered by the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, or an equivalent organization, and must be taken in person, not online. 

You can obtain your blood borne pathogens training at any of the following sites:

If training was completed outside of Alaska, an “Affidavit Confirming Study of the Statute and Regulation Booklet” form must be submitted. The form and enrollment confirmation can be found on page 14 here. If your Affidavit is approved, you might not have to take the state exam.

4

Application Fee

You will need to be prepared to pay the $150.00 application fee and $60.00 exam fee when you turn in your application. The $180 initial license fee can be paid alongside the application, or after you pass the exam.

5

Additional Public Health Regulations by County

In some counties, tattoo artists must be licensed by the county as well as the state in order to operate. If your county has additional regulations, you can find them here.

Turn in Your Application

Applications and the other required documents can be submitted by post or by email.

Note: Your Body Piercing, Tattooing or Permanent Cosmetic Coloring License only covers the area you indicated in your application (tattooing). If you also plan to do piercing, you have to fill out another application for piercing, pay the fees, etc. separately.

The Exam

If your application is successfully completed and approved, you must take the state exam. You will be assigned a time and place for your exam. 

All the documents above must be received by the department of health 30 days before the date of your exam. Exams are given every four weeks in Anchorage and every eight weeks in Fairbanks and Juneau.

Applications For Persons Licensed in Other States 

For those who worked in tattooing or permanent cosmetic coloring in a shop licensed in another state, it is possible to get initial licenses without having to jump through all the normal hoops.

You will still need to pay an application fee of $150 for each type of license (body piercing, tattooing, etc.) along with the student permit fee for each initial license ($180 for each area such as body piercing, tattooing, or permanent cosmetic coloring).

You must have passed a written examination in the state in which you are currently licensed. If not, you will need to take the exam to ensure that the methods you already learned are methods approved in the state of Alaska as well.

You will need to provide verification of the training you receive outside of Alaska and submit appropriate documentation. You'll also need a verification of licensure and the Affidavit Confirming Study of the Statute and Regulation Booklet as well.

Finally, you will need to submit a certified true copy of current blood borne pathogen training and CPR training cards.

Things You Should Know:

It is illegal to practice tattooing on a minor in Alaska, even if they have parental consent. Tattooing a minor is illegal and adhering to the law is the primary responsibility of the tattoo artist and the shop owner. Violating this law is considered a class B misdemeanor.

Aftercare instructions must be provided to clients. Find the minimum aftercare requirements here.  

Alaska businesses are currently following the “Reopen Responsibly” guidelines, found here.

Find additional Statutes and Regulations here.

How to Get a Tattoo Shop Licensed in Alaska

If you plan on opening a permanent cosmetic coloring or tattoo shop in Alaska, you will need to start by getting a business license. You'll need to pay about $40 per year and go through regular inspections.

Tattoo shop owners must adopt regulations passed by the Alaska State Legislature. Any establishment operated for the purpose of tattooing and body piercing must follow various infection control practices and use appropriate sterilizing equipment. Only chemicals approved by the state may be used.

Each tattoo artist working in the shop must have a license to practice tattooing and have completed training in the minimum requirements for blood borne pathogens, sanitation, CPR, and so on. Tattoo shops may employ a student training to practice tattooing (they must have an apprentice license).

Tattoo studios must display this written complaint Sign. The written complaint sign is necessary to avoid various public health nuisances that may otherwise be missed.

General Sanitation Requirements for Tattoo Studios can be found here.

Final Thoughts on Getting a Permanent License for Tattooing in Alaska

If you're looking to become a tattoo artist in Alaska, there are some steps you need to take. In addition to meeting the requirements set by the state, it's important that you learn these important safety tips for both you and your clients. By following these guidelines and taking the necessary steps to become licensed, you'll be able to start your career as a tattoo artist in no time.

Have any other questions about getting a tattoo artist license in Alaska? Check out the links below for more information on how to get a practitioner license in this state.

Links

Renew tattoo license: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/CBPL/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardOfBarbersHairdressers.aspx 
infection control course and CPR: https://www.redcross.org/local/alaska/take-a-class ; https://www.heart.org/en/affiliates/alaska-contacts ;
https://ahainstructornetwork.americanheart.org/AHAECC/classConnector.jsp?pid=ahaecc.classconnector.home&_ga=2.27883004.1171253302.1626205693-1294928719.1626205693 
Affidavit document: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/portals/5/pub/bah4464.pdf
Application and training forms: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/cbpl/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardofBarbersHairdressers/ApplicationsForms/TattooingBodyPiercing.aspx
County departments: https://www.naccho.org/membership/lhd-directory?searchType=standard&lhd-state=AK#card-filter
Aftercare instructions must be provided to clients: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/portals/5/pub/bah4339.pdf
Alaska businesses are currently following the “Reopen Responsibly” guidelines, found here: https://covid19.alaska.gov/reopen/
Tattoo studios must display this Complaint Sign: https://dec.alaska.gov/media/10070/resources-public-facilities-sign-complaint.pdf
General Sanitation Requirements for Tattoo Studios: http://www.akleg.gov/basis/aac.asp#18.23
Statutes and Regulations: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/Portals/5/pub/BandHStatutes.pdf
Research on body art industry in Alaska:
https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/portals/5/pub/bah4464.pdf
https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/portals/5/pub/bah4404.pdf
https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/cbpl/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardofBarbersHairdressers/ApplicationsForms/TattooingBodyPiercing.aspx
https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/portals/5/pub/bah4464.pdf
https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/portals/5/pub/bah4464.pdf
https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/CBPL/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardOfBarbersHairdressers.aspx
https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/portals/5/pub/bah4339.pdf
https://covid19.alaska.gov/reopen/
https://dec.alaska.gov/media/10070/resources-public-facilities-sign-complaint.pdf
http://www.akleg.gov/basis/aac.asp#18.23
https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/Portals/5/pub/BandHStatutes.pdf
Division of Business Licensing – 907-269-8160
license@alaska.gov
Disease prevention Hepatitis B vaccination info: https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/services/hepatitis-b 

Prepare for a Tattooing Career with the Artist Accelerator Program

examples of students own tattoo

Learning the steps you need to take to get licensed is an important step in your journey, but it can also be pretty eye-opening to how difficult tattooing can be. Without the right knowledge, it’s impossible to level up your skills and become a professional tattoo artist. 

However, finding the straight-forward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into tattooing because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits. 

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need to build your skills and create incredible tattoos. 

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

Over 2500 students have already gone through the course, with many of them opening up their own studios. If you want to join them and learn the skills you need to start tattooing full time faster…

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

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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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