How to Apply for a Tattoo License – Iowa

To work as a tattoo artist in the state of Iowa, you must have a license from the Department of Public Health. This article will outline the steps required to get a tattoo artist license in Iowa.

Iowa body art by tattoo artist

Department of Public Health Tattoo Artists Requirements

To be a tattoo artist in Iowa, individuals must have a Tattoo Artist Permit issued by the state of Iowa. There is a $75 fee for your first permit application.

Permits expire and must be renewed every year by December 31. Renewal costs $75. If your license expires, you will also have to pay an additional $25 fee..

The Public Health Tattoo Artist Application 

In order to get a Tattoo Artist License, you must meet the following requirements before you can practice tattooing or receive any tattoo artist permits:


Age and Education Requirements

You must be 18 years of age or older.

You must also have a high school diploma or G.E.D. (online diplomas are not accepted).


Bloodborne Pathogen and First Aid Training

All applicants must complete Bloodborne Pathogen and Standard First Aid Training. The bloodborne pathogen training will acquaint you with all the sanitation practices and procedures you should follow to keep yourself and your clients safe.


Complete Online Application and Pay Fees

You must complete a Tattoo Artist Application through their online portal. Create a portal account here

Submit a $75 fee with the application. 

When renewing a permit, you must provide digital copies of current certificates for Blood Borne Pathogens and First Aid Training. You must renew by logging into your portal account

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

Turn in Your Application

You will submit your application through the online portal. If approved, you should receive your Tattoo Artist Permit within 3-4 weeks. The processing time varies depending on the time of year and when you submit your permit. You will obtain your permit in the mail.

You can also mail the application to:

Iowa Department of Public Health
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

Mobile Tattoo Units in Iowa

As of 2016, Iowa no longer administers new mobile tattoo units permits. If you wish to tattoo at a temporary event, you must obtain a temporary permit prior to doing so.

Other Rules About Tattooing in Iowa:

It is illegal to tattoo any person who is a minor younger than 18.

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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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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