How to Get Certified by the Pennsylvania State Health Board to Do Tattooing

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There are currently no state health regulations on tattooing in Pennsylvania, and it is not required that tattoo artists become certified. However, all practicing tattoo artists must adhere to the 2001 Micropigmentation Law. Under this law, tattooing of persons under 18 years of age is prohibited. Additionally, according the State Board of Cosmetology, it is illegal for cosmetologists to provide permanent makeup services in a salon in Pennsylvania. Although it is not a requirement, those considering working in the tattoo arts may consider certification as it will help them prepare for their career.

Obtaining Tattoo Certification

Do your research. Although certification is not a requirement in Pennsylvania, obtaining training is a great way to start a career in the tattoo arts. You can acquire training online. There are websites dedicated to providing training and educational resources to tattoo artists.

Become aware of the rules surrounding tattooing in Pennsylvania. Professional tattoo artists are required to verify the age of all customers prior to tattooing to ensure they are at least 18 years of age. The Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology sets the rules regarding permanent makeup and prohibits licensed cosmetologists from providing permanent makeup services in a salon environment. Tattoo artists are not licensed by the State Board of Cosmetology.

Enroll in a training program and complete your education in tattoo arts. Having some form of education will help prepare you for an apprenticeship. Most comprehensive training programs include studies in ethics, skin anatomy and OSHA standards. Training programs are offered by private institutions and vary in cost.

Contact tattoo studios to inquire about internship opportunities. Working as an apprentice in a tattoo shop will help you get real-life experience and prepare you to accept clients on your own. Each studio has the ability to create apprenticeship training guidelines, and a number of apprentice hours may have to be completed before you can apply for an artist position.


In the state of Pennsylvania, performing a tattoo on any person under the age of 18 is classified as a misdemeanor and, if convicted, could warrant a fine of $100, three months in jail or both.