Prior to December 2010, body art facilities in Michigan did not have to obtain a state-issued license prior to offering tattoo services, though local regulations sometimes required special licensing for such facilities. With the passage of Public Act 375, all body art facilities in the state must register for a license from the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Initial Inspection

Prior to obtaining a body art facility license in Michigan, all locations must undergo an inspection. The local department of health in which the facility is located conducts the inspection. The Michigan Department of Health publishes an extensive list of requirements that facilities must meet in terms of sanitation and infection control. The inspectors ensure that facilities meet each standard prior to giving them a passing score. Some necessary items included in the inspection are having a handwashing facility for tattoo artists and using only single-use, prepackaged needles.

Employee Requirements

The tattoo artists who work at a body art facility do not need to have an individual license for the facility to earn its statewide licensing. However, the owner of the body art facility must show proof that all employees received training in the sterilization of equipment, the control of bloodborne disease infections and the safe use of equipment when applying tattoos. All technicians must be at least 18 years of age. In addition, all tattoo facilities must offer to pay for hepatitis B vaccines for all employees and show proof of having complied with this regulation; technicians do not have to get the vaccines, but must be offered the opportunity. Some local townships, cities and counties in Michigan require tattoo artists to obtain a license prior to working in the field. Requirements for these licenses vary, and standards are typically available from the local department of health.

Medical Waste Registration

Under the definitions in Public Act 149, body art facilities are medical waste producers due to the fact that they dispose of needles, dressings and other equipment tainted with blood. Because of this status, all facilities must register as a medical waste producer with the Department of Environmental Quality. To do so, they must contact the department by telephone and request an application. Along with the application, facility owners must pay a fee, which was $75 as of May 2011.


Owners of body art facilities must complete an application prior to obtaining a license. The application is available to download from the Michigan Department of Community Health's website. The form requests the business' hours of operation, its federal tax identification number and information about its location and phone number. When submitting the application, owners must pay a licensing fee. As of May 2011, the amount of the fee was $500, or $250 if submitted after July 1.