New York State Body Art Regulations, Permits, Licenses, and Body Art Bloodborne Pathogens Training

What are the tattoo artist and body piercer licensing requirements in New York State?

As of May 22, 2022, the New York State Department of Health was still developing statewide regulations for tattooing and body piercing under the authority of Public Health law 4A.

When these regulations are finalized, they will:

  • Require tattoo and body piercing operators to obtain a permit to operate a tattoo or body piercing studio
  • Require all tattoo artists and body piercers to obtain an individual permit to perform body art procedures
  • Establish operating standards, fees, fines and penalties for failure to abide by the regulations

Until the new regulations are in place, local regulations, if any, apply.


What are the requirements to obtain a license to do tattooing in New York City?

Any individual tattoo artist working in New York City is required to have a Tattoo License.

New York City has a specific process for tattoo artists to obtain a license:

  • Before receiving a Tattoo License, all tattoo artists and permanent makeup artists must successfully complete the New York City Health Department’s Infection Control Course for Tattoo and Permanent Makeup Artists and pass the written examination.
  • This four-hour Infection Control Course is conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Health Academy. The course costs $26 and is given twice a month at the Riverside Health Center, 160 W. 100th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10025. There is a Tattoo License fee of $100.
  • All applicants who pass the written examination will then have their photo taken at the Health Academy. Applicants who do not pass the examination the first time will be allowed to immediately register for the next available course and examination at the Health Academy at no additional cost. Applicants who do not pass the examination after the second attempt will be required to register for another course and pay the Infection Control Course fee again.
  • A Tattoo License will be mailed to the applicant 4-6 weeks after successful completion of the course. The applicant may not begin to work until the photo ID (badge) and license document have been received. Licensed tattoo artists should keep both items with them while working.

If you wish to obtain a New York City Tattoo License, contact the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for current requirements.


Do local jurisdictions in New York State have identical training requirements for getting a permit or license to work as a tattoo artist?

No.

Each local jurisdiction can decide on what training, if any, is required.

New York City, for example, requires tattoo artists to take an infection control course.

Rockland County, however, requires tattoo artists to take courses in anatomy and skin diseases and to obtain certifications in bloodborne pathogens, first aid, and CPR.

So, don’t assume that body art training requirements are the same throughout New York. There’re not.

Contact your local county or city health department for information on the current regulations in your area.

Last updated: May 22, 2022