How to Get a Tattoo License – NC

North Carolina state rules that you must obtain a tattoo permit. Permits are granted by the local health departments. A tattooing permit costs $225.

North Carolina body art by tattoo artist

Permits expire one year from the date it was issued. Renewing a current permit costs $125 (this is an annual fee). If renewed after the expiration, the fee is $225.

Tattoo Artist Application

new permit application listed on NC government websites for environmental health

The only requirements by the state of North Carolina are that tattoo artists meet certain minimum sanitation standards (find the checklist here). These standards include:

An autoclave for sterilizing tattoo instruments

Sink(s) for hand washing

Providing a clean facility/studio with floors, walls, ceilings, and fixtures in good repair

Maintenance of records of clients & autoclave tests

Approved water supply and sewage disposal

Proper storage and disposal of solid waste

The only requirements by the state of North Carolina are that tattoo artists meet certain minimum sanitation standards (find the checklist here). These standards include:
  • An autoclave for sterilizing tattoo instruments
  • Sink(s) for hand washing
  • Providing a clean facility/studio with floors, walls, ceilings, and fixtures in good repair
  • Maintenance of records of clients & autoclave tests
  • Approved water supply and sewage disposal
  • Proper storage and disposal of solid waste

You must pass an inspection prior to getting your permit. (They don’t judge on your artistic ability; permit issuance is based on sanitation and environmental health standards.)

You will apply for a permit, and then the inspection will be completed by your local Health Department (find your county here). If you pass, you will be granted a permit. You must have your current permit posted in a visible area of the shop.

Applications are specific to each local department of health. Find yours here

If you plan to tattoo in Mecklenburg County, you can find the application here

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

You can find additional regulations for tattoo establishments here.

Turn in Your Application

To obtain a tattooing permit in Mecklenburg County:

Complete this application and mail it along with your $225 payment to the address below at least 30 days before you plan to begin tattooing.

Mecklenburg County Public Health
Attn: Tattoo Program
3205 Freedom Dr. Suite 8000
Charlotte, NC 28208

Permanent Makeup Artists

tattoos by makeup artist

NC considers microblading and permanent makeup to be an extension of tattooing, so you will need a tattoo artist permit to do permanent makeup.

Things You Should Know:

Tattoo permits are issued to a specific artist at a specific location. If a tattoo artist moves between multiple tattoo establishments, they will need multiple tattoo permits. Tattoo artists within an establishment must maintain their individual permit. It is not allowed for an individual to work under another artist’s permit.

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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