How to Get a Tattoo License – Tennessee

Are you interested in getting a tattoo artist license in Tennessee? The good news is that, in the state of Tennessee, individual tattoo artists do not need a state tattoo license, but they do need to register with their local health department.

Statewide Tattoo Artist License in Tennessee: The Basics

An individual registration for a tattoo artist license costs $140.

All licenses expire on December 31st of each year, and must be renewed no later than January 31st of the following year. Renewal for the tattoo artist license costs $140.

The Application Process

When applying to become a tattoo artist in Tennessee, you will need to provide:

A passing score on the tattooing exam

$140 application fee 

A completed registration application (available in-person only at your local health department office) 

A government-issued photo ID (no license shall be issued to someone who is under the age of 18)

Proof of at least one year of apprenticeship (see next section)

A certificate of completion for Blood Borne Pathogen training

When applying to become a tattoo artist in Tennessee, you will need to provide:
  • A passing score on the tattooing exam
  • $140 application fee
  • A completed registration application (available in-person only at your local health department office) 
  • A government-issued photo ID (no license shall be issued to someone who is under the age of 18)

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

Apprenticeship and Professional Tattooist Course Requirements

To practice body art as a professional tattooist in Tennessee, you need to undergo a one-year training program/apprenticeship and pass a written examination.

To apply to take the tattooing exam, you will need to contact the local Department of Health and schedule a time to take the test. 

After taking the exam and getting a passing score, you'll pay the $140 application fee and intern (apprentice) at a licensed tattoo parlor for one year.

This tattoo parlor must be run by a tattoo operator with at least three years of tattooing experience. After your apprenticeship, you can return to the Department of Health and request your own license as a tattoo artist.

Turn in Your Application

Applications to become a licensed tattoo artist are not available online - you will need to pick them up and turn them in at your local department of health office.

While the timeline for tattoo artist licensing can vary depending on your county, you should receive your tattoo license within a few weeks of your tattoo artist application being submitted.  

Things You Should Know About Tattoo Artist Licensing in Tennessee:

Try to find an employer who will take you on for your internship before you complete the tattoo apprentice application and exam. That way, you know you'll have work lined up.

Also, keep in mind that it is illegal to tattoo a minor in Tennessee, even with parental consent.

Find TN Tattoo Laws here.  

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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