How to Get a Tattoo License in Missouri

To perform tattoos in the state of Missouri, you must hold a Practitioner License issued by the state of Missouri. The application fee is $100.

Licenses must be renewed every 2 years. The renewal fee is $100.

Missouri Tattoo License Application Basics

ALL applicants must submit the following documentation for a state tattoo license in Missouri.

Completed, Notarized Application

The most important document you will need to submit to become a tattoo artist is the official application. You can find pages 4-5 here.

Applying for a Missouri tattoo license is a straightforward process. The first step is to complete an online application form, which requires basic personal information such as your name, address, and date of birth.

Once you have submitted the form, you will need to provide proof of your age and identity. You will also need to provide proof that you have completed a certified training program in tattooing (more on this below). After submitting these documents, you will be required to pay a non-refundable fee.

Proof of First Aid and CPR Training

Aspiring body piercing professionals and tattoo artists must complete a first-aid and CPR course. When you submit your application, you will need to provide proof of First Aid and CPR training (like a certificate indicating that you completed this program of study).

You will also need proof that you have completed any OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens training. This covers topics like infectious disease control, hand washing techniques, waste disposal, sterilization equipment operations and methods, and sanitization, disinfection, and sterilization methods and techniques. This list of purposes includes infectious disease control in your tattoo parlor as well as basic sanitation according to state regulations.

Each tattoo shop in the state of Missouri is subjected to regular inspections, and a bloodborne pathogen training program will show you what you need to know to work safely and legally.

Tattoo Artist Training

You have a few options when it comes to your tattoo artist training.

1

Tattoo Apprenticeship

To earn a license for tattooing or body piercing in the state of Missouri, each aspiring tattoo artist or body piercer must also complete an apprenticeship. The apprenticeship will allow you to work in a tattoo studio with a person who has an occupational status as a certified tattoo artist according to Missouri's office of health.

According to the health department, the apprenticeship requires 300 hours of work and 50 procedures. Your mentor must provide written consent to take you under his wing within 10 days of the start of your training. You can only apply for a license once you've completed that mandatory tattoo apprenticeship.

You will prove that you have completed it with a Licensed Practitioner Certification of Apprenticeship to be completed by your mentor at the start of your program (page 8 here) and by the Certification of Apprenticeship that shows 50 procedures and 300 hours (page 6 here).

If you have worked for at least three years as a tattoo artist in the past seven years, you may be able to substitute a supervisor's statement or some other type of evidence proving your experience (like tax returns).

2

Tattoo Course

In order to get a tattoo or body piercing license in Missouri, you must also complete a course of study in tattooing, permanent makeup, or body piercings. This should be in a school for one of these licensed professions or accredited as a school in any state or federal agency.

The course of study should be at least 300 hours of instruction/training. The instruction should cover the following topics:

  • Equipment handling
  • Disease control
  • Sanitation
  • Skin treatment and infections
  • Design and/or artistry
  • Clinical practice

To prove that you have completed this coursework at a school licensed for this purpose, you must submit:

  • Official transcript mailed directly to the Division by the school showing you completed the course of study above
  • Proof of practical experience that shows at least 25 procedures

It is important to note that this coursework as such relates to your tattoo license does not need to be in the state of Missouri. Any tattoo programs in other states that are approved under state office or federal law should meet the requirements.

For example, if you take classes in NYC or go to tattoo school in Georgia, you should be able to transfer the credentials over as long as they cover the core content described above (such as tattoos and branding best practice and procedures, sanitation requirements, etc). It’s recommended that you check with your local health department to ensure your school credit will count.

3

Tattoo Artist Supervisor Statement

If you’ve been working under a tattoo artist, you can submit 3 years worth of ONE of the following to verify your previous employment in practice as a tattoo artist:

  • Affidavits from prior employer(s)
  • W2 or 1099 forms
  • Tax returns verifying employment

Additional Regulations (According to County Tattoo Laws)

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

Although the process of getting a tattoo license in Missouri may seem daunting, it is important to remember that these regulations are in place to protect the public's health and safety.

Getting a Tattoo License Transferred from Another State

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

Although the process of getting a tattoo license in Missouri may seem daunting, it is important to remember that these regulations are in place to protect the public's health and safety.

Turn in Your Tattoo Artist Application

Applications must be mailed along with your application fee (check or money order only) to:
Office of Tattooing, Body Piercing, and Branding

PO Box 1335
Jefferson City, MO 65102

Or may be taken in person to the Office of Tattooing, Body Piercing, and Branding located at:

3065 Missouri Boulevard
Jefferson City, MO 65109

If you are approved, your tattoo artist license will be mailed to you within 1 to 3 business days after your application is received. Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you will be issued a Missouri tattoo license. This license will allow you to operate a tattoo business within the state of Missouri.

Things You Should Know:

To tattoo minors in Missouri, you must get written consent with the parent or legal guardian in your presence. Without this written consent from the parent or legal guardian, you could technically face disciplinary action for the illegal tattooing of minors.

However, according to Missouri revised statutes, there is technically no minimum age to get a tattoo (the laws are somewhat hazy in this area). So while it's wise to get consent for the safety of minors involved, it's unclear what constitutes as illegal.

Where they are clear, however, is that in order to become a tattoo artist, you must be at least 18 years of age.
Tattoos may not be performed on any person under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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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