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How to Become a Legal Tattoo Artist in Utah

In the tattoo process, piercing of the skin can permit pathogens and harmful substances to enter the body. County health departments in Utah manage the registration and permit process for tattoo and body art businesses and the technicians or artists who work in the licensed facilities. The application process requires the tattoo artist to understand the health hazards of their art and to be trained in the proper use of their tools to protect clients from infection. Registration does not say anything about the tattoo technician's artistic skills.

Contact the county's department of health and ask for a registration package for a tattoo technician permit. Tattoo technicians are managed through county offices. and registration is necessary for each county in which you will be working. Requirements will vary from county to county.

Review all materials in the registration package. Tattoo artists will receive a copy of Utah's “Regulations for Body Art Facilities” and a copy of the notification given to clients that advises them of the risk involved in body art and skin piercing procedures. Tattoo artists must read and understand the information in both documents.

Get a Hepatitis B vaccination or file a declination form. Declination forms are available from any Utah health facilities that provide the Hepatitis B vaccination. Proof of the vaccination or declination must be returned with the body art operator registration form.

Complete a blood-borne pathogen course. Courses pertaining to blood-borne pathogens may also be referred to as exposure control classes. Approved classes may be taught through the county's department of health or a county approved third party. The course is paid for separately from the registration fee. In addition to completing the course, some counties may require the tattoo artist to demonstrate a tattoo procedure incorporating information about exposure control.

Complete the registration form and return it to the appropriate county office. Include the required registration fee and all supporting documents. Registration is not complete until the tattoo technician receives her certificate from the county. Fees vary from county to county and range between $50 and $85.

Display the registration certificate as required by the county. Customers should be able to clearly see the certificate.

Renew the certificate as required. Renewal times vary from county to county and can be one or more years in length. Verify your county's requirements. There is usually a fee required at the time of renewal.


Alex Burke holds a degree in environmental design and a Master of Arts in information management. She's worked as a licensed interior designer, artist, database administrator and nightclub manager. A perpetual student, Burke writes Web content on a variety of topics, including art, interior design, database design, culture, health and business.