Does Idaho Require a License to Be a Tattoo Artist?

by Justin Schamotta; Updated September 26, 2017

In the legalese of Idaho state legislature, a tattoo is defined as “an indelible mark made on the body of another person by the insertion of a pigment under the skin.” Although there is no specific license required to operate as a tattoo artist in Idaho, there are a number of regulations that a tattoo artist and her place of work must comply with.

Premises

According to the American Academy of Micropigmentation, tattoo parlors in Idaho are subject to inspection by the department of health and welfare in order to prevent the spread of infectious and contagious diseases. Those who fail to meet its standards may be found guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to penalties. Parlors found to be in a sanitary condition are issued with a certificate of compliance that lasts for a year and must be displayed conspicuously.

Minors

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that at least 39 states have legislation in place that prohibits minors from getting tattoos. In Idaho, the tattooing, branding or body piercing of minors under the age of 14 is prohibited. Those between ages 14 and 18 must have written consent from their parent or legal guardian before receiving a tattoo. This consent must be “executed in the presence of the person performing the act or an employee or agent of that person.” Tattoo artists who fail to comply will be found guilty of a misdemeanor and fined up to $500. Fines can increase to $1,000 if further violations occur within a year.

Ink

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has traditionally refrained from exercising its regulatory authority over tattoo inks or the pigments used in them. After reports of adverse reactions however, the FDA began an investigation into the more than 50 different pigments and shades that are in use. According to the FDA, in some cases industrial-grade ink has been used that is more suitable for printer's ink or automobile paint. A tattoo artist in Idaho would therefore benefit from reassuring customers that their ink comes from reputable sources.

Optional Extras

Tattoo artists working in Idaho can provide their establishment with added respectability by obtaining certification from the American Academy of Micropigmentation. The AAM is a nonprofit educational and professional organization that certifies practitioners as "diplomats" and "certified micropigmentation instructors." Tattoo artists working in Maine, Massachusetts and New Jersey are required by law to have obtained AAM certification as of 2011.

About the Author

Justin Schamotta began writing in 2003. His articles have appeared in "New Internationalist," "Bizarre," "Windsurf Magazine," "Cadogan Travel Guides" and "Juno." He was a deputy editor at Corporate Watch and co-editor of "BULB" magazine. Schamotta has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Plymouth University and a postgraduate diploma in journalism from Cardiff University.