How to Get a Tattoo License – Texas

Texas tattoo artists are not required to be licensed; only facilities need to obtain proper licensing.

Texas body art by tattoo artist

However, you will need to have proof of history of training or work experience to show you are capable of tattooing, and a current certificate of Bloodborne Pathogen training. Find tattoo artist training options here, here, and here.                                        

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

If You Are Opening a Tattoo Shop:

To open a licensed tattoo establishment, you must do the following:

Fill out a Texas Tattoo License Application and return it to the Texas Department of State Health Services (you can also fill out an online application on the State Health Services Website).

Pay the $927 fee (Checks and money orders made out to Texas Department of State Health Services, Food & Drug Licensing).

Submit a written document from your local city/county Health Department, Zoning Section. It should list your shop’s address and that you are allowed to perform tattoos at your location according to local safety and health codes. (Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 146, Sec 146.003).

To open a licensed tattoo establishment, you must do the following:
  • Fill out a Texas Tattoo License Application and return it to the Texas Department of State Health Services (you can also fill out an online application on the State Health Services Website).
  • Pay the $927 fee (Checks and money orders made out to Texas Department of State Health Services, Food & Drug Licensing).
  • Submit a written document from your local city/county Health Department, Zoning Section. It should list your shop’s address and that you are allowed to perform tattoos at your location according to local safety and health codes. (Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 146, Sec 146.003).

*You may fill out your license application or renew a current license online.
Note: Future studio owners may need to provide government ID, like a driver’s license.

Tattoo AND Body Piercing Studios:

If you want to offer both tattoo and body piercing services, you will have to apply for separate tattoo parlor and body piercing studio licenses. However, you pay a smaller application fee for the body piercing application if you already have a tattoo studio license number.

To get a body piercing studio license, you must do the following:

Pay appropriate license fees ($412 fee or $309 fee with separate license for tattooing).

Submit a written document from your local city/county Health Department, Zoning Section. It should list your shop’s address and that you are allowed to perform piercing at your location according to the “Tattoo and Certain Body Piercing Studio Act.” (Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 146, Sec 146.003).

To get a body piercing studio license, you must do the following:
  • Pay appropriate license fees ($412 fee or $309 fee with separate license for tattooing).
  • Submit a written document from your local city/county Health Department, Zoning Section. It should list your shop’s address and that you are allowed to perform piercing at your location according to the “Tattoo and Certain Body Piercing Studio Act.” (Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 146, Sec 146.003).

*You may apply or renew online.
Note: Future studio owners may also need to provide government ID, like a driver’s license

Temporary Location License:

Texas tattoo laws allow you to apply for a special event license. This allows a license holder to conduct business in a temporary location for a maximum of seven days. The temporary location license fee is $464. The event location will need to be up to code with local ordinances and allow for routine sterilization practices.

Things You Should Know:

It is illegal to tattoo a minor unless a parent or guardian determines it would be in the best interest of the minor to cover an existing tattoo.            

Links used to create this article

DCA licensing center tattoo license application: https://www1.nyc.gov/nycbusiness/description/tattoo-license
New york city body art industry regulations: https://www.health.ny.gov/community/body_art/
New york city drinking water regulations: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/doh_pub_contacts_map.htm
New york city body art individual permit requirements: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/permit/address-affidavit.pdf
New york city tattoo license application: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/hany/tattoo-license-app.pdf
New york city tattoo license appointment contact info for further assistance: mailto:LicensingAppointments@dca.nyc.gov
New york city licensing citizen portal: https://a816-hlst.nyc.gov/CitizenAccess/
New york city tattoo manual: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/hany/tattoo-manual.pdf
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene blood borne pathogens / infectious diseases course for tattooing and body piercing https://www1.nyc.gov/nycbusiness/description/infection-control-course-for-tattoo-artists
http://www.nys-opal.com

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?

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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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