How to Apply for a Tattoo License – WA

You must have a Tattoo Artist License to perform tattoos in the state of Washington. Getting a tattoo license in Washington costs $250. 

There is a $5 print fee if you would like it printed at the Licensing Department and mailed to you. (If you mail in your application, you should include $5 for each copy that you want the Department of Licensing to mail to you.) Or, if you apply online, you can print it yourself for free.

Washington body art by tattoo artist

Licenses are valid for one year after the date it was issued. Renewing a tattoo license in Washington costs $250. If you renew it after it has already expired but within less than a year, it is $350. You can renew your license here.

Tattoo License WA Requirements

To obtain a tattoo license in Washington state, you must meet the following requirements according to state law:

Age Requirements for Professional Tattoo Artists and Body Piercing

You must be at least 18 or older shown on a government ID (driver’s license, passport, etc) to apply for licenses to practice body art in Washington. This is the minimum age to perform body art on clients in just about every state in the country.

Application Requirements for Licenses

First, you can complete an application online & pay the $250 fee.

If you don’t want to fill out the application online, you can complete this form and mail it with a check or money order (payable to Department of Licensing) and a copy of your bloodborne pathogens training certificate to:

Tattoo, Body Art, Body Piercing Program
Department of Licensing
PO Box 3856
Seattle WA 98124-3856

Bloodborne Pathogen Certification for Professional Tattoo Artists and Body Piercers

Submit proof of your bloodborne pathogen certification

A bloodborne pathogen certification for aspiring artists is a certification received after completing a course on how to safely handle and dispose of needles, ink, and other materials used in tattooing. The course covers proper sterilization techniques, how to avoid cross contamination, and what to do in the event of a needle stick injury.

The official OSHA training may be found here. You can also contact your local DOH for information on additional information on safety regulations and how to properly sanitize equipment and perform a sanitary procedure.

Requirements to Open Tattoo Shops in Washington

In order to ensure the safety of those who wish to tattoo or be tattooed, as well as the communicable disease risk to the general public, the state of Washington has put into place a set of guidelines that all county departments must follow.

These guidelines include, but are not limited to:

  • The use of only sterile needles and single-use ink cup holders
  • Thorough washing of hands
  • Wearing gloves while performing any procedure on a client

In addition, all equipment must be properly disinfected between each use. Any reusable equipment must be cleaned and sterilized in an autoclave.

All county departments must also maintain a table of records of all procedures performed, as well as the names and contact information of each customer or client.

Lastly, each county has the right to inspect any shop at any time, without notice.

These inspections can result in fines or even closure if serious violations are found. By following these guidelines, we can help protect every customer from unnecessary risks.

Additional Requirements for Tattooing and Body Piercing by County

In Washington state, each county has its own set of rules governing tattoo services and body piercers. All counties require that tattoo professionals be licensed and that shops be inspected on a regular basis.

If your county has additional requirements for tattooing and body piercing licensing and renewal, you can find them at this site, here. This page breaks down tattoos service requirements by county.  Most requirements can also be completed in-person at your local health facility, too.

Other Things You Should Know About Body Art and Body Piercing in Washington 

By law, tattoo services may not be performed on customers who are minors. That is  regardless of parental consent.

Every shop or mobile unit that performs tattoos must have a license in addition to individual artists. Guidelines for obtaining a business license may be found here.

Renewal of licenses for a tattoo artist can be done online. You will need to create an online account at the linked page (language other than English options are available, by the way).

Your license is valid for a limited period of just one year. It is your responsibility to ensure that your license is maintained and that all information in your online account record is up to date and accurate. You can request more information about the renewal process if you contact your local health officials.

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
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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