How to Apply for a Tattoo License – Massachusetts

To be a tattoo artist in Massachusetts, you must have a Body Art Practitioner permit from your local Board of Health. For most local health departments, the cost of a permit for body art practitioners is around $100.

While they vary for each local department of health, most require permits to be renewed every year and the renewal fee is around $100.

The Application Process

Both tattooing and body piercing licenses are granted by your local department of health, and requirements can vary for each department. However, the following apply to most areas in Massachusetts. Contact your local health department to find out which trainings they accept and what other requirements they have.

In general, here are a few things you need to know about getting a professional license to tattoo:

The Application

First, you must fill out a Body Art Practitioner License Application.

Find an application for Boston here. 

For all other cities/counties, check your local health department.

Necessary Courses for Application and Maintenance of License

All licensed tattoo artists in Massachusetts must complete the following courses. You also must take them to apply for an apprentice license.

A college-level anatomy and physiology course (or its equivalent - many city officials will accept similar non-college courses)

A class on bloodborne pathogens and disease transmission

A basic first aid course

A basic CPR course

First, you must fill out a Body Art Practitioner License Application.

  • Find an application for Boston here.

Necessary Courses for Application and Maintenance of License

All licensed tattoo artists in Massachusetts must complete the following courses. You also must take them to apply for an apprentice license.

  • A college-level anatomy and physiology course (or its equivalent - many city officials will accept similar non-college courses)
  • A basic first aid course
  • A basic CPR course

Other Requirements

You must be employed by a licensed tattoo or body art establishment and complete a supervised apprenticeship. Most apprenticeships are two years and/or 2400 hours.

Many departments require that you get an apprentice license before beginning your apprenticeship. You must apply to your local department of health and include documentation proving that you have completed your required education, such as your blood-borne pathogens and CPR courses. 

Application fees vary for each local department of health.

Applying for a Professional License

Once you have completed your apprenticeship period, you can apply for a professional license. 

You must apply to your local department of health and include proof of completion of your required education, as well as documentation proving that you have completed your work experience requirement. 

Most will also ask you to include information on your employer (tattoo shop), an application fee, and personal identification, along with passport-style photographs. These photographs will verify your ID and must be taken within 30 days of submitting your application.

The following is a complete list of documents you'll need when you are ready to apply:

  • Copies of course certificates (Basic First Aid and Advanced CPR certificates generally must be both signed and dated)
  • The application feeThe application fee
  • Two forward-facing passport photos
  • Documentation that you have 2400 hours of full-time experience working in body art and tattoos (letters from shop owners, receipts from body art supply purchases, and other relevant documentation can be used for this)

In some places, you may also have to submit valid documentation that you have been vaccinated for Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) when you apply.

Contact your local health department for more information on how to apply. You may be able to do so in person or apply online via the county website.

When Does Professional Licensure Expire?

Your professional license, according to the model regulations, will expire on March 31, regardless of when it was issued. You can access a renewal form to avoid a lapse in job practice here.

Where to Get More Information For Your Location

If your county has additional regulations, you can find them at this website. 

For artists moving to Massachusetts, many states’ licenses will transfer. However, you will need to contact your local health department to make sure your license and supervision is valid in that county.

Finally, Massachusetts follows the Model Body Art Regulations. These regulations set forth a model code for the practice of body art and also release inspection forms for practitioners to reference.

Things You Should Know:

Tattooing of minors is not allowed in any circumstance. The minimum age to get a tattoo in Massachusetts is 18, as it is throughout the rest of the United States (minors may be able to get a tattoo with parental consent).

You must also be 18 to get a body art practitioners license.

Fun fact: Tattooing was illegal in Massachusetts until 2001.

Things You Should Know:

Tattooing of minors is not allowed in any circumstance. The minimum age to get a tattoo in Massachusetts is 18, as it is throughout the rest of the United States (minors may be able to get a tattoo with parental consent).

You must also be 18 to get a body art practitioners license.

Fun fact: Tattooing was illegal in Massachusetts until 2001.

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
  • Professional tattoo artist coaches
  • Private mastermind community
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.

write a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

SUGGESTED ARTICLES FOR YOU

MORE FREE CONTENT FOR YOU
June 23, 2022

*Price at time of publishingThe CNC CW2 tattoo machine is comfortable to ...

CNC CW2 Machine Review
December 15, 2021

Tattooing over stretch marks means working with uneven skin texture and uneven ...

How to Tattoo Over Stretch Marks
July 13, 2022

Oregon requires a license for tattoo artists. You can obtain a license ...

How to Get a Tattoo License – Oregon

Our Community

Join the Tattooing 101 Community today and get free, instant access to tools and resources that take you behind the curtain of all things tattooing. From apprentice to shop owner, we've got you covered.