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Tattoo artist license requirements

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Under NH law, tattoo artists are required to get an occupational license from the state Office of Professional Licensure and Certification.

Applicants have to apprentice in a tattoo shop, under the supervision of a licensed tattoo artist, for one year before qualifying for the license. They must also complete a course on sterilizing equipment and show proof of a hepatitis B vaccine, or apply for a medical or religious exemption. Get more information about tattoo licenses.

Many other states have similar regulations governing tattooing, though several—such as Louisiana, Illinois and Arizona—do not require a license to be a tattoo artist.

There is currently no effort underway to change New Hampshire's tattoo licensing rules.

Supporters of eliminating New Hampshire’s licensing requirement argue that it can be hard for aspiring tattoo artists to find a shop willing to supervise them through their apprenticeship. They say that eliminating the license requirement would open the market, providing an economic boost and giving artists equal chance to succeed.

Opponents counter that the health risks of tattooing and its permanency mean the state has a responsibility to ensure that only fully qualified and trained individuals are practicing the art. They argue that the current license requirements are not excessive, noting that in some states regulations go even further than in New Hampshire, where only licensed nurses or physicians are allowed to give tattoos.

Do you think NH should eliminate the license requirement for tattoo artists? Leave a comment and have your say.


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I have been a tattoo shop owner since 2014 and feel Tattoo Artist Licensing should not be a requirement; however, the tattoo shop should be.
There is a shortage of drug free, professional tattoo artists. Artists are now tattooing out of their homes and because of the low overhead, the tattoo price is often 50% cheaper than in a tattoo shop.
When the state changed: overseeing artist can only have one apprentice at a time it forced inspiring tattoo artist to tattoo out of their home unless they have the money to pay the overseeing artist. Overseeing artist can make from $3000 to $25000 cash just by signing a piece of paper. Tattoo Artist that are shop owners will use the apprentice for years to get free labor out of them and often never sign off on their license.
Independent Subcontractor: Tattoo Artist claim the status of independent subcontractor, but most do not know what the State of NH’s requirements are. They do not carry liability insurance, health insurance, or workman comp insurance, etc. This needs to change.
• In closing, license should not be a requirement in N.H.
• Tattoo Shop should hold the license and held responsible to track new artists training.
• Yearly audit of every N.H. Tattoo shop along with confirming current business registration, current shop insurance, and training process and log.
• Tattooing out of their home or shop that is not legal: fined and closed.
• Tattoo Committee: Should be a mixture of tattoo artists and none tattoo artist shop owners

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