How to Get a Tattoo License – California

In California, body art practitioners 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.

Body Art Practitioner Registration Application

california body art and tattoo artist application form

The body art practitioner application covers tattoo artists, body piercing, permanent cosmetics, and branding. 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.

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

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

The body art practitioner application covers tattoo artists, body piercing, permanent cosmetics, and branding. 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.
  • Current Hepatitis B Vaccination Documentation or Voluntary Declination of Hepatitis B Vaccine 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 department of health. 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.

If You Are Opening a Body Art Facility:

All body art facilities (tattoo shop, permanent cosmetics, microblading and/or body piercing shops) in Los Angeles must submit the following:

  • Business Plans
  • Infection control plans (Guidelines for construction and infection plans here)
  • Valid health permit (fill out a Public Health Permit Application here)

Every artist in your facility must follow the regulations stated in the Safe Body Art Act and have completed an infection prevention training course. Read the Safe Body Art Act here.

Note:

Before constructing or renovating a space into a body art facility, you need to be approved by an environmental health officer from your local enforcement agency. Find more info in the Body Art Facility Plan Check Guidelines here.

Temporary Body Art Facilities:

If you are hosting a temporary event, you and each of the body art practitioners need to have appropriate health permits (see list below):

If You Are Opening an Mobile Body Art Facility:

You have to have a Public Health Permit to own/work in a mobile body art facility. You will have to either call (626) 430-5570 or email bodyartprogram@ph.lacounty.gov for more information.

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. 

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

  • 500 video modules
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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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