While there are no formal body piercing licensing or certification requirements in many states, you need to have as broad an overview of the tattooing and piercing industry as possible. Many piercers take it upon themselves to continue their education and develop their technique. Reputable studios and shops will encourage, and many times require, their employees to stay up to date with classes regarding CPR and blood born pathogens. In the body art industry, your reputation is your strongest career tool so take your technique as seriously as possible.
Learn as much as you can about the medical side of body piercing. Study anatomy and learn about the needs and implications of popular piercing sites on the body. Get certified in CPR and/or First Aid. These classes are often offered by the Red Cross or the YMCA. It's also a good idea to take a bloodborne pathogens class given by the Red Cross or The National Safety Council.
Find out what the state or local guidelines are regarding professional body piercing. Some states have passed legislation requiring piercers to have completed various medical courses. Piercers should also be familiar with local age restrictions. Ideally, a student piercer will have gone above and beyond these requirements. However, it's a good idea to have a starting point when you begin your training.
Locate a reputable studio with an experienced professional piercer and inquire about doing an apprenticeship. While not always legally required, it's by far the best approach to learn all of the skills that you'll need. If there's a local piercing studio that you have had experience with, start there. If not, there are several websites and message boards that help apprentices and mentors find each other.
Use your apprenticeship to learn about safety issues such as sterilization and cross-contamination. Observe any new piercing procedure before attempting it yourself. Be sure that you have the supervision of your mentor when trying any procedure for the first time. Depending on the volume of business that the shop does, a piercing apprenticeship could last anywhere from six months to one year. In addition to safety standards, training time should be used to learn about the business side of the industry. By the end of an apprenticeship, a new piercer should be familiar with jewelry selection, aftercare procedures, customer service and insurance issues.
Know that there are several reputable training seminars offered that cover skills and knowledge necessary to be a professional piercer. These seminars are often for multiple days and combine classes on hygiene, piercing techniques and anatomy. Reputable seminars can be found through the Association of Professional Piercers.
You'll want to find a mentor that has many years of experience, has a good and honest reputation, has a range of skills and techniques and who follows accepted APP (Association of Professional Piercers) guidelines.
Performing piercing procedures without proper training and extremely dangerous.