Are you wondering what components make up a tattoo apprenticeship contract? If YES, here is a sample tattoo apprenticeship contract template in 2022. A tattoo apprenticeship is a way for a student to learn everything they can from an established tattoo artist. It more or less starts as a hands-off experience where they are trained on safety, proper sanitation, and how to build a machine. The average apprenticeship takes about 2 years.

A good number of tattoo artists believe that if they went through a grueling apprenticeship, anyone that wants to get into the industry should do the same thing; almost like a rite of passage or something that resembles a college fraternity. The correct apprenticeship is worth its weight in gold, however all apprenticeships are not the same.

Note that majority of apprenticeships are not bad but they all will take time with the average one taking about 2 years to complete, plus you are not in control of when you start or complete your journey to becoming a tattoo artist.

Within the typical 2-year tattoo apprenticeship, almost all the instruction happens at the end of the apprenticeship. They have been many artists who leave an apprenticeship after 2 years and have never performed a tattoo on human skin. That is why it is necessary for prospective tattoo artists to ask about the apprenticeship they are looking at, they are all different and not regulated.

Most great tattoo artists are not great teachers. Just very few artists have the patience, time, and ability to properly teach their crafts to others. However, before any kind of apprentice can be taken, there has to be an understanding between both the employer and the apprentice in regards to what he/she is going to learn and the duties and responsibilities that the apprentice will carry out.

Contracts for apprentices can be one of two types, and it’s important to get the right one. You should also understand what contract your current apprentices are employed under so that you don’t fall foul of the various legal ramifications.

What are Components of a Tattoo Apprenticeship Contract in 2022?

The exact reason for creating an apprenticeship agreement is so that both the employer and the apprentice adequately understand what needs to be done during the duration of the apprenticeship program. This ensures that the employer is able to give the apprentice what he/she needs to learn, and the apprentice complies with what the employer requires from him/her. So if you want to make a sound apprenticeship agreement, here are basic components to include;

  1. Apprentice Basic Information

Note that this is to ensure that the person who will be taking up the apprenticeship is exactly who this person states that he/she is. This is not just for formality purposes, it’s mandatory that they provide the information to ensure the validation that this person was able to complete his/her apprenticeship.

Therefore, you’re going to have to make sure that the apprentice places his/her complete name on the document, as well as other basic information such as his/her contact details and more. Also makes sure that the apprentice checks that there are no errors in this section as even one error on the name might just be enough to nullify the contract.

  1. Purpose of the Apprenticeship

Some apprenticeships are focused on quickly training an apprentice to become an artist and others are more focused on forcing an apprentice to earn the right to be a tattoo artist. Since obviously, the purpose of this program is so that the apprentice will learn the basics of how to ink a tattoo, as well as be able to meet with other qualifications related to the profession, it is imperative you state this explicitly on the contract agreement.

  1. Duration

Note that this will depend entirely on how long the duration of the apprenticeship program is going to be. Note that some employers decide how long the apprenticeship is going to take without following industry regulation on this regard. Howbeit, the contract needs to be very specific as to the duration of when the apprentice starts, all the way to the final date.

  1. Working Conditions

This is where the employer talks about the apprentice’s working condition. The conditions of the job will differ according to the employer and services being offered, but the contract should provide information such as the location as to where the apprenticeship will take place, the facilities that will be used, the different equipment that the employee will have to work with, the different tasks and activities that will take place and much more.

  1. Rules and Regulations

There are also rules that employers create that their apprentices will have to follow. However, if you’re going to be creating these rules and regulations, then you need to be as strict as possible when enforcing them.

For instance, point out that you will not tolerate any form of insubordination from the apprentice. The point of the apprentice being there is to learn from you in order to develop the skills needed to take on the profession in the future. If the apprentice shows any form of disrespect towards you, then you can take the necessary disciplinary action as stated on the agreement form.

The apprentice is also expected to always come to work on time, as well as input the required number of hours that have been designated in the work schedule. In just about every apprenticeship program, an apprentice will be required to work a specific number of hours so that the employer may be able to state that the apprentice had completed the program satisfactorily.

However, should the apprentice fail to meet the schedule or has incurred too many absences without any cogent reason, the employer has every right to remove the apprentice at any given point in time.

Also, the apprentice will not conduct any activities or perform any tasks that he/she has not been authorized to do. The reason is so that the apprentice will not jeopardize the image of the employer or so that the apprentice will not perform any activities that may endanger himself/herself, the employer, or anyone else around them.

  1. Accident and Incident Reports

Although it’s just an apprenticeship program, there’s always the possibility of incidents and accidents occurring that could very well place the lives of the apprentice, employer, or clients in immediate danger. Therefore, it’s imperative that you point out that the apprentice must do whatever is possible to prevent these accidents or incidents from happening.

In the event that an incident or accident does take place, the apprentice has the responsibility to establish a detailed report with regards to whatever took place. He/she will need to include the date of the incident, the location as to where it took place, the time it took place, the number of people that were involved, the cause of the accident/incident and much more. It should be stated in the agreement that the apprentice must create an accident or incident report if ever they take place.

  1. Disciplinary Actions

Just like in every other job, disciplinary action needs to be taken if an apprentice continues to fail in meeting the employer’s expectations. Here is a list of the disciplinary actions that the employer may be able to carry out:

  • Verbal warnings: This is indeed the most common type of disciplinary action if someone commits minor offenses. A good example of a minor offense is if the apprentice continues to come to work late. So let’s imagine that the apprentice comes to work 5-10 minutes late much too often, then it’s not a cause for alarm. Howbeit, it will prompt the employer to reprimand the apprentice with a verbal warning.
  • Written warnings: If the apprentice is one that continues to fail with meeting the expectations or has failed to meet with the goals that you have set out for him/her, then you may create a written warning which will tell the apprentice why he/she is receiving it, the problems that he/she is facing, and the remedies that will help fix these problems. Note that this is where apprentices will have to be very careful as this means they’re on the brink of being booted out of the apprenticeship program.
  • Termination: Have it in mind that it is not just employees that can be terminated, apprentices can be as well. For instance, let’s say that the apprentice does anything to jeopardize the image of the employer or conducts activities that could put the company at risk such as bad hygiene in the tattoo parlour, the employer has every right to remove the apprentice from the apprenticeship program.

Sample Template of a Tattoo Apprenticeship Contract

This Agreement, entered into on this day ……. between,

……………. Hereinafter called the employer, and
……………. Hereinafter called the apprentice

The Term of apprenticeship commences on ……… and will terminate upon the cessation of employment, completion of the apprenticeship training period or by mutual consent of both employer and apprentice. The term of apprenticeship is flexible and a Completion of Apprenticeship certificate will be issued to apprentices who complete all portions of their training and achieve a pass mark.

1. The employer agrees to
  1. Accept and train the apprentice in all areas of the trade or occupation so far as the employer’s facilities and availability of work permit;
  2. Ensure the apprentice is supervised by a well experienced person in the said trade and the ratio of apprentices to said persons, as established by the state apprenticeship board for the trade, is not exceeded;
  3. Permit the apprentice to attend in-school training classes approved by the trade advisory committee for the trade; and
  4. Cooperate with the Apprenticeship Training Officer in monitoring and recording apprentice’s progress, and in scheduling in-school training.
2. The apprentice agrees to
  1. Work as an apprentice and be trained in the trade or occupation by the employer;
  2. Show caution and respect for the tools and equipment, goods and property of the employer and avoid any damage or waste of them;
  3. Cooperate with the apprenticeship training officer in monitoring and recording apprentice’s progress, and in scheduling in-school training; and
  4. Attend the required in-school training classes for the trade or occupation.

3. The apprentice’s rate of pay shall conform to the current collective agreement, if the employer is a party to the agreement, or to locally accepted rates in the absence of a collective agreement.

5. All parties agree to be subject to and carry out the provisions of the Apprenticeship and                                           Trades Qualification Act and Regulations as they apply to the trade or occupation and                      this agreement.


In Witness thereof the parties hereto have hereunder set their hands in the day and year aforesaid.

______________________________                ______________________________

Witness                                                                       Employer

_________________________________         _________________________________

Witness                                                                       Apprentice


========================================================================= Registered at the office of the Manager, Apprenticeship & Training this day of…….


______________________________ Manager, Apprenticeship & Training

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is A Tattoo Apprenticeship?

A tattoo apprenticeship is a way for a student to learn everything they can from an established tattoo artist. It usually starts as a hands-off experience where they are trained on safety, proper sanitation, and how to build a machine. The average apprenticeship takes about 2 years.

  1. What Size Should A Tattoo Portfolio Be?

A tattoo portfolio should be a full page (8.5″x 11″) laid out similar to a comic book.

  1. What Should Go In A Tattoo Apprenticeship Portfolio?

Here are a few key details to include in your apprenticeship tattoo portfolio to make it great:

  • Highlight Your Creativity and Unique Concept Ideas.
  • Showcase Your Drawing Technique.
  • Include a Variety of Different Tattoo Styles.
  • Feature 50-100 of Your Best Tattoo Designs.
  • Maintain an Online Website and a Hard Copy Portfolio
  1. Can You Be A Self Taught Tattoo Artist?

Yes, you can be a self-taught tattoo artist but please note that being a successful self-taught tattooist will require dedication and hours upon hours of studying and practice.

  1. Do Tattoo Artists Make Good Money?

Tattoo artists can make good money because they do everything from infinity symbols on fingers to stunning full body designs. As a matter of fact, experienced body artists can earn up to $500 per hour or more.

  1. How Long Does A Tattoo Apprenticeship Last?

A tattoo apprenticeship can last anywhere between 1-3 years. Some have been known to last even longer depending on what speed your mentor chooses to teach you at. Some apprenticeships are even paid and working apprenticeships. Remember to ask a lot of questions when you are looking at becoming an apprentice.

  1. How Do You Approach A Tattoo Shop For An Apprenticeship?

Here is how you should approach a shop to ask for an apprenticeship;

  • Just like with any other job, you need to know who you’re dealing with, so do your homework first.
  • Don’t go on a weekend, go at a time when the shop isn’t too busy.
  • Show up in person.
  • Talk to the person at the front desk and ask what the best approach is.
  • Go with your portfolio.
  1. What Does A Beginner Tattoo Artist Need?

As a beginner tattoo artist, your tattooing supplies should always include needles, tubes, tips, and grips, ink, a machine, stencil products, and a power supply. The right tattooing equipment can get you started with creating beautiful works that will please your customers.

  1. Who Is The Highest Paid Tattoo Artist?

Don Ed Hardy is not only the highest paid tattoo artist but also the richest. His net worth is estimated to be $250 million. By the age of seventy today, Ed Hardy has retired from tattooing. Before he retired, he was charging around $1,500 per one hour of the tattoo session.

  1. How Much Do Tattoo Apprentices Make?

Tattoo apprentices make between $30,000 to $84,500 a year.

  1. Does It Really Matter Where I Get My Apprenticeship?

Yes it does, because some shops and mentors are better than others. There are plenty of apprenticeship horror stories. Getting a lousy mentor probably won’t kill you, but it will certainly slow you down, so choose carefully.

  1. What Is Best To Practice Tattooing On?

The best item to use to practice tattooing are fruits such as apples, oranges, and other contoured items, like rocks. They can simulate some of the difficulties you will have tattooing various parts of the body. Seek out items that somewhat resemble body parts commonly tattooed, so that you’re well prepared when someone requests a tattoo on a more curvaceous part of the body.

  1. Do You Really Need To Be An Apprentice In Order To Become A Tattoo Artist?

Yes, to become a tattoo artist you absolutely need an apprenticeship. This is because most licenses require training, and one of the only ways to get training is an apprenticeship with a licensed artist.

  1. How Many Pieces Should Be In A Tattoo Apprentice Portfolio?

Having 50-100 completed and colored pieces will indicate that you have put in the time and effort needed to perfect your skills and that you are ready to expand on your existing talent with a tattoo apprenticeship.

  1. What Do Tattoo Shops Do If Your Artist Gives You A Bad Or Messed Up Tattoo?

The best thing about dealing with tattoo mistakes is to notice the mistake as soon as possible. Usually, when the tattoo is messed up a sensible tattoo artist will offer some kind of compensation, cover-up, fix, or in the worst-case scenario a removal.

  1. What Do You Need To Do To Get Certified To Tattoo In Your State?

First, you will not need a degree to become a Tattoo Artist. Once you have completed the required bloodborne pathogen and communicable diseases training course and decided where you intend to practice tattooing, submit your completed application.

You will also need to complete an apprenticeship or Tattoo Course, and obtain a tattoo, piercing, and electrolysis license.

  1. Do Tattoo Apprenticeships Cost Money?

Although the best apprenticeships in the most reputable shops sometimes don’t cost anything, but they are also the hardest ones to get. Apprenticeships will probably cost you about $5,000. Some apprenticeships cost more ($10,000 was the highest I’ve heard about), so you will want to choose wisely and work hard to make it worth your while.

  1. Is It Hard To Get A Tattoo Apprenticeship?

Yes, finding a tattoo apprenticeship can be quite difficult.

  1. What Is The Best Fruit To Practice Tattooing On?

The best fruit to practice tattooing on is Apple.

  1. Where Can You Find A Tattoo Apprenticeship?

You can start by asking around to find out which shops are the best in town. Once you get a list, stop in and drop off a portfolio of your art as well as your resume. Your goal is to make a good impression and show that you’re a respectful and talented artist – a future artist that would make a good addition to their shop.

  1. How Do You Obtain A Copy Of Your Tattoo Artist Or Establishment License?

To obtain a copy of the Tattoo Artist License, please contact the local Department of Health office in the county having jurisdiction of the tattooing program in the county in which you reside.

  1. How Do I Obtain A Tattoo Artist License?
  • Complete an Application for Tattoo Artist License (154kb PDF) in its entirety.
  • Complete a department approved Bloodborne Pathogen and Communicable Diseases training course with a passing score of at least 70% on the examination.
  • Submit completed Application for Tattoo Artist License (154kb PDF), $60 state license fee, copy of certificate of completion from a department approved bloodborne pathogens and communicable diseases course, and a copy of a government-issued photo ID to the local Department of Health office in the county having jurisdiction of the tattooing program in the county in which you reside. It is also recommended that you contact the local Department of Health office to learn if there are any additional local fees for the license.
  1. Do You Need A College Degree To Be A Tattoo Artist?

Although there is no degree required to become a tattoo artist, it is necessary for an individual to possess natural artistic ability and creativity. Training through an apprenticeship is necessary in most states in order to meet licensure requirements (as per The Alliance of Professional Tattooists).

  1. How Long Does It Take To Receive The Tattoo Artist License?

Generally, becoming a tattoo artist takes between one and three years of apprenticing under a master tattooist. And that’s time you will need to be working hard and also be working elsewhere to support yourself: Tattoo apprenticeships are earned and are unpaid internships.

  1. How Old Do You Have To Be To Start A Tattoo Apprenticeship?

In most states, you will need to be at least 18 years old, and in many places, you will also need a high school diploma or a GED certificate to tattoo legally.

  1. Are Tattoo Apprenticeships Paid?

Well, in some fields, apprentices get paid while they complete their on-the-job training. That is usually not the case in the tattoo industry. Many professional tattoo artists who offer apprenticeship programs charge for their services.

  1. How Many Hours A Week Does A Tattoo Apprentice Work?

Generally, tattoo apprentices work close to 40 hours in the shop and 25-30 hours at paying jobs outside the shop. Some can even work up to 70+ hour weeks.

  1. Is The Tattoo Establishment License Transferrable From Location To Location?

No.  A Tattoo Establishment License is not transferrable from one location to another.

Should you wish to relocate your tattoo establishment, you will need to begin the licensure process by submitting a completed Application for Tattoo Establishment License to the local Department of Health office and scheduling an inspection. A new license must be issued before practicing tattooing at the new location.

  1. Does A Tattoo License Allow Me To Tattoo A Customer At Home?

No, you can only perform tattoos in the particular licensed tattoo parlor. It is illegal for a licensed tattoo artist to perform tattoos in unlicensed locations, such as at his or her home.

  1. How Long Does An Apprenticeship Take?

Usually, an apprenticeship takes a couple of years, but some last 3 years or more. It is smart to check your particular state’s requirements on the state’s Department of Health website.

  1. Why Is Friday The 13th A Big Deal In The Tattoo Industry?

The thought of the number 13 often leaves people shuddering to their core, in anticipation of bad luck. But in the tattoo world, the number 13 is considered to be a symbol of good luck. Friday 13th is seen as a perfect opportunity to get a new ink.

  1. Can I Renew My Tattoo Artist License Online?

Yes; provided you have received your billing invoice.

  1. Can You Be A Tattoo Artist If You Can’t Draw?

Yes, and as a matter of fact, there are no rules that say you need to draw to tattoo, it is quite alright to be a copy/color by numbers artist, or basic flash artist. There are many successful artists that do just that and make a good living at it, as well as about 90% of all the self-taught artist that do not wish to learn new mediums.

  1. What Are The Negatives Of Being A Tattoo Artist?
  • Tattoo artists have a questionable social standing.
  • Only a few mistakes can ruin your reputation.
  • You have a high level of responsibility.
  • Your mistakes are hard to correct.
  • Tattoo artists may infect people with diseases.
  • Tattooists may be liable for mistakes.
  1. Is It Worth Being A Tattoo Artist?

It depends on what you want, but I must say that the tattoo industry isn’t an easy industry to make it in, but if you’re persistent and work hard to constantly hone your craft, it can be incredibly rewarding. On a daily basis, you’ll be helping people commemorate milestones in their lives.

  1. If I Have A Cosmetology License, Do I Need A Tattoo Artist License To Provide Microblading (Tattooing) Services?

Yes. This is because any person that tattoos the body of any human being is required to obtain a license as a tattoo artist, the exception to this is a person licensed to practice medicine or dentistry under chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 466 who performs tattooing exclusively for medical or dental purposes.

  1. Can Tattooing Be A Side Job?

Yes, and as a matter of fact, tattoo artists often set their own schedules and are not forced to work traditional hours. In addition to having a large amount of flexibility, tattoo artists can have multiple occupations. This makes it the ideal choice for someone who wants to pursue multiple career paths at the same time.

  1. Is Tattoo Artist A Hard Job?

Yes, and as a matter of fact, you will have to learn to be extremely focused on tattooing only, for hours! Expect to start having back issues, pain in the arms, and neck after only a few years of tattooing! Becoming a tattoo artist will take a lot of hard work, and we’re talking about years of dedication and commitment.

  1. How Can You Practice Tattooing Without A Gun?
  • Draw constantly.
  • Draw on contoured objects.
  • Test your tattooist skills with a non-toxic marker and a friend.
  • Train yourself in inking lines and tracing.
  • Use a weighted pencil or pen to simulate the tattooing machine.
  • Purchase a cheap tattoo machine for practice.
  • Learn about the different kinds of tattoo machines.
  1. Will I Be Tattooing During My Apprenticeship?

You will do around 100 free tattoos during your apprenticeship. But in fact, “free tattoos” means that you pay the cost, so make sure to have a lot of money saved up for supplies. You can tattoo friends, family, and anybody and you can receive tips. You get to keep your tips. After you are certified, you can start charging clients.

  1. Do Tattoo Artists Sleep With Their Clients?

Some tattoo artists will sleep with their clients. While this is not common and is generally frowned upon by reputable tattoo artists, it can happen. Most artists keep a hard line between their personal lives and business, as a sexual encounter with a customer could be disastrous for their reputation as an artist.

  1. Is Tattooing Hard To Get Into?

Yes, tattooing is really hard to break into. Currently, there are more than 15,000 tattoo parlors in the U.S., compared to roughly 500 professional tattoo artists operating in 1960. The first step is to get an apprenticeship under a reputable artist who will teach you all they know, but that can take years of persistence.

  1. You Are Not Going To Charge A Fee To Anyone You Tattoo, Do You Still Need A License?

Yes. Regardless of whether you charge a fee or not, tattooing may only be practiced in a licensed tattoo establishment by a licensed tattoo artist.

  1. What Do I Need To Teach Tattooing, Permanent Makeup, Or Microblading?

If the curriculum includes tattooing on a live human being; i.e., (model): a Tattoo Establishment License is required.

A Tattoo Artist License or Guest Tattoo Artist Registration is required for each teacher and student that will be practicing on a human being (model).

Schools must also be registered with the Department of Education, Commission for Independent Education.