North Carolina state rules that you must obtain a tattoo permit. Permits are granted by the local health departments. A tattooing permit costs $225.
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
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
- An autoclave for sterilizing tattoo instruments
- Sink(s) for hand washing
- 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
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.
Tattoo license fact sheet https://www.mecknc.gov/HealthDepartment/EnvironmentalHealth/Tattoo/Documents/Tattooing%20Fact%20Sheet%202020.pdf
Infection control course by state: https://courseforbbp.com/states
permit application: https://www.mecknc.gov/HealthDepartment/EnvironmentalHealth/Tattoo/Documents/Tattoo%20Application%203%2029%2022.pdf#search=tattoo%20artist
Additional permit application: https://www.mecknc.gov/HealthDepartment/EnvironmentalHealth/Forms-Applications/Documents/TATTOO_PERMIT_APPLICATION.pdf#search=tattoo%20artist
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