How to Get a Tattoo License – New Mexico

To perform tattoos in the state of New Mexico, you need to have a Body Artist License issued by the state of New Mexico. A Body Artist License costs $100.

New Mexico body art by tattoo artist

Licenses expire one year from the date it was originally issued or last renewed. It is $100 to renew your license, with a $35 late fee if it’s not renewed by the expiration date. You must complete a bloodborne pathogens training every year and maintain current CPR and first aid certification in order to renew your license.You have to renew your license online

The Application

You must first complete an apprenticeship (training program) before applying for a body artist license in New Mexico.

Apprenticeship Program Steps:

Find a sponsor who has been licensed in NM for at least 5 years

Sponsor must complete this verification form

Complete this application and submit it along with:

$50 fee (check or money order)

Passport quality photo

Photocopy of driver’s license

Jurisprudence Examination (open book and multiple choice test - it starts on page 4 of your application

Work under the direct supervision of your licensed sponsor for at least 1400 hours

Log your supervised hours on this form which will be submitted with your license application once complete. It will cover how you ensure public health, take care of clients, and perform a tattoo procedure. Each subject will require a certain number of hours of training.

Once you have completed the above, you may apply for your license.

Apply for a New Mexico Tattoo License by Submitting the Following:

$100 fee

Passport quality photo (you can get these at most CVS locations)

Photocopy of driver’s license

Proof of CPR, First Aid, and Blood Borne Pathogens training

Notarized log and statement from apprenticeship sponsor

 Proof of passing tattooing theory exam through Professional Credential Services

Register for exam here

After registering, you will be shown available exam dates and test sites to choose from

When you arrive for your exam you must bring two forms of signature-bearing identification:

Primary ID (Choose One)

State issued driver’s license

State issued ID card

US passport

US military ID

Secondary ID (Choose One)

Credit Card (must be signed)

Social Security card

Birth certificate with raised seal

Exam costs $130 per test which is paid online when you register

You have three chances to take and pass the test

More information to prepare for your exam may be found at the following links:

At least 10 original photographs of healed tattoos that you have performed on skin

Transferring a Tattoo Artist License from Another State:

If you are licensed in another state, you may be eligible to skip the apprenticeship portion of the licensing process. To do so, with your application, you need to submit either:

Proof of your license in another state or

Proof of training hours and/or experience equivalent to those required for a New Mexico license (1400 supervised hours)

Apprenticeship Program Steps:
  • $50 fee (check or money order)
  • Passport quality photo
  • Photocopy of driver’s license
  • Jurisprudence Examination (open book and multiple choice test - it starts on page 4 of your application
  • Work under the direct supervision of your licensed sponsor for at least 1400 hours
  • Log your supervised hours on this form which will be submitted with your license application once complete. It will cover how you ensure public health, take care of clients, and perform a tattoo procedure. Each subject will require a certain number of hours of training.

Once you have completed the above, you may apply for your license. 

Apply for a New Mexico Tattoo License by Submitting the Following:
  • $100 fee
  • Passport quality photo (you can get these at most CVS locations)
  • Photocopy of driver’s license
  • Proof of CPR, First Aid, and Blood Borne Pathogens training
  • After registering, you will be shown available exam dates and test sites to choose from
  • When you arrive for your exam you must bring two forms of signature-bearing identification:
  • Primary ID (Choose One)
  • State issued driver’s license
  • State issued ID card
  • US passport
  • US military ID
  • Secondary ID (Choose One)
  • Credit Card (must be signed)
  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate with raised seal
  • Exam costs $130 per test which is paid online when you register
  • You have three chances to take and pass the test
  • More information to prepare for your exam may be found at the following links:
  • At least 10 original photographs of healed tattoos that you have performed on skin 

Transferring a Tattoo Artist License from Another State:

If you are licensed in another state, you may be eligible to skip the apprenticeship portion of the licensing process. To do so, with your application, you need to submit either:

  • Proof of your license in another state or
  • Proof of training hours and/or experience equivalent to those required for a New Mexico license (1400 supervised hours)

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

You can find additional forms (special event and guest applications, body piercing apprentice log, etc.) and forms here.

Turn in Your Application

Mail your application to:
New Mexico Board of Body Art Practitioners
P.O. Box 25101
Santa Fe, NM 87504

Make sure to include the following required documents:

  • Passport quality photo
  • Photocopy of driver’s license
  • Proof of CPR, First Aid, and Blood Borne Pathogens training
  • Notarized log and statement from apprenticeship sponsor
  • Proof of passing tattooing theory exam through Professional Credential Services
  • At least 10 original photographs of healed tattoos that you have performed

Tattoo Establishment License

Tattoo shops must also be licensed. The requirements for your location and the application for a tattoo establishment can be found here. Your shop will be subject to regular health inspections from a public health official to ensure artist and client safety.

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.

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