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Tattooist

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What do they do?

Tattooing is an art that has been practised going back centuries. Tattooists or Tattoo Artists are the creators who may design and then apply the permanent markings or modifications to their customers bodies.

If you’re artistic with a steady hand and strong stomach, a career as a tattoo artist could be for you.

Duties:

  • consult with customers to discuss what they would like and explain the procedures to them
  • ensure the customer is certain about the procedure before going ahead
  • clean, sterilise and maintain equipment and business to the standards prescribed by your state or territory
  • Help clients choose an image, interpret the client’s ideas to form a suitable image, copy or design image for the client
  • resizes image to fit the body part it is going on, design tattoos, create line drawings and stencils for tattoos
  • prepare the area to be tattooed or pierced, perform piercings using needles and tattoos using a tattoo machine
  • ensuring high standards of hygiene and contamination control
  • inform customers about after-care procedures and wound care
  • carry out all administrative and marketing responsibilities associated with a small business
  • train others

Skills required:

  • Excellent artistic abilities
  • Mature, professional and responsible approach
  • Good communication and customer service skills essential to give the customer what they want
  • The ability to put the customer at ease
  • Steady hand and able to focus for long periods of time
  • Good hygiene standards and practises, also comfortable with needles
  • Self-promotion, marketing and social media skills

Pathways

There are no formal qualifications required to become a tattooist in Australia.

It is highly recommended by the relevant Guilds and Associations that you complete courses such as Specialist Body Piercing and Tattooing, or complete units such as Maintain infection prevention for skin penetration treatments. Ensure you complete these courses with registered training organisations – you can check with My Skills.

Seek an apprenticeship with an established Tattooist who has a good reputation and sound business ethics. There are no formal apprenticeships available in Australia, so you’ll need to approach employers directly. Ideally you’ll need a portfolio of work prepared, have completed some basic courses and present well.

You might also benefit from undertaking some business courses e.g. Certificate IV in Small Business Management.

Before you begin working, you’ll need to look into the tattoo operator license requirements in your state or territory too.

Average salary $70,000 per year (Source: au.indeed.com).

Job growth in this area is predicted to be very strong (source: jobloutlook.gov.au).

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