What Is Required to Become a Tattoo Artist in Missouri?

Missouri state law outlines the laws governing the practice of tattoos and body piercing in the state. Under the law, all practitioners, including tattoo artists, must obtain a license. The Missouri Division of Professional Registration, Office of Tattooing, Body Piercing and Branding issues these licenses.


Missouri requires all candidates for a tattoo artist license to complete a training course in First Aid and CPR. The course must come from a recognized group like the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association or the National Safety Council. Candidates must also complete a course in infection control that covers topics like handwashing, waste disposal and sterilization techniques. Both the Red Cross and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration offer such courses.


In addition to completing the required courses, all candidates for a tattoo artist license must receive training in the field. The Missouri Office of Tattooing, Body Piercing and Branding allows candidates to use one of three types of experience to qualify. Prospective tattoo artists may complete a 300-hour apprenticeship with a licensed tattoo artist, during which time they complete 50 supervised tattoos. Alternatively, candidates may complete a formal training course in tattoo art that lasts for at least 300 hours and includes the completion of a minimum of 25 tattoos. Candidates may also show proof that they worked for three out of the previous seven years as a tattoo artist; this requirement is used for Missouri tattoo artists who allowed their licenses to expire or tattoo artists who practiced in states that do not license the field.


All applicants for a tattoo artist license in Missouri must complete an application, which is available for download from the Missouri Office of Tattooing, Body Piercing and Branding. The application requests information about candidates' employment history and contact information. Prior to returning the application, candidates must have the form notarized. In addition, all candidates must pay a fee.


Tattoo artists who worked in another state that requires licensing in the field can qualify for a Missouri license through the state's reciprocity program, provided the requirements for the license are similar to those in Missouri. To qualify for a reciprocity license, candidates must send a copy of their license and the licensing rules from their state along with their notarized applications and application fees. Additionally, candidates must have the issuing boards for their out-of-state licenses send letters to the Missouri Office of Tattooing, Body Piercing and Branding verifying that the candidates' licenses have no restrictions, disciplinary actions or suspensions against them.



About the Author

Faith Davies has been writing professionally since 1996, contributing to various websites. She holds an LAH insurance license in the state of Pennsylvania and has experience as a bank branch manager and lending officer. Davies graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in art history.