To work as a body-piercing artist in Maryland, you must be licensed. There are two courses of action to obtaining your license. First, you can attend a state accredited cosmetology program. Once you finish the program, you will test in front of the Maryland Board of Cosmetology to earn your license. Another way to obtain your license is to apprentice in an actual tattoo and body-piercing parlor.

Ask a licensed piercing artist to take you on as an apprentice. Licensed piercing artists must have a minimum of two years of experience before they can begin teaching others.

Begin shadowing the piercing artist. She will teach you tips and techniques for piercing various parts of the body. You must complete 350 hours of instruction before you can apply as an official piercing apprentice with the Maryland Board of Cosmetology.

Begin piercing clients while under the direct supervision of the licensed piercing artist. Before you begin piercing, you must inform your client that you are not licensed. Unless it's the ears, it is illegal to pierce minors.

Complete a total of 1,000 hours of instruction and piercing. Once the hours are completed, contact Prometric at 800-805-9124 or visit the company's website to inquire about a testing date for your piercing artist license. The Maryland Board of Cosmetology will issue the license; however, Prometric administers the exam. Expect the exam to cover piercing techniques, sanitizing equipment and piercing laws. As of 2011, the examination fee was $25.


Washington, D.C., does not require a license to work as a body piercing artist.