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Do You Get Paid for a Tattoo Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to gain practical skills and knowledge while earning a wage. However, you may wonder, “Do you get paid for a tattoo apprenticeship?”

Tattooing is a unique art form that has been around for centuries and continues to gain popularity across the globe. Consider a tattoo apprenticeship if you have a passion for tattoos and dream of becoming a professional tattoo artist. 

In this article, we will delve into the details of tattoo apprenticeships and shed light on whether monetary compensation is typically provided.

Do You Get Paid for a Tattoo Apprenticeship

What is a Tattoo Apprenticeship?

A tattoo apprenticeship is a hands-on training program where an aspiring tattoo artist works closely under the guidance of an experienced and licensed professional tattooist, often referred to as a mentor. The main goal of an apprenticeship is to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to become a skilled and responsible tattoo artist. These programs generally focus on essential aspects such as tattoo design, hygiene and safety protocols, equipment handling, and client communication.

Duration of a Tattoo Apprenticeship

The duration of a tattoo apprenticeship can vary widely depending on the tattoo studio, the mentor, and the progress made by the apprentice. On average, an apprenticeship can last anywhere from six months to two years. It is crucial to remember that tattooing requires a high level of skill and precision, and rushing through an apprenticeship can lead to inadequate training, compromising the quality and safety of your future work.

Payment during a Tattoo Apprenticeship

Tattoo apprenticeships are traditionally regarded as an educational opportunity rather than a conventional job. Consequently, most tattoo apprenticeships are unpaid or offer minimal financial compensation. This structure aims to ensure that the apprentice’s primary focus remains on learning. 

Non-monetary Benefits

While financial compensation may be limited during a tattoo apprenticeship, several non-monetary benefits make it a worthwhile investment for aspiring tattoo artists:

  1. Knowledge and Skill Development: An apprenticeship offers invaluable hands-on experience and one-on-one guidance, which is essential for building the foundation of a successful tattooing career.
  2. Portfolio Building: During the apprenticeship, apprentices often practice their skills on willing clients, helping them build an impressive portfolio.
  3. Networking: Working within an established tattoo studio exposes apprentices to potential clients and industry connections, aiding in future career opportunities.
  4. Industry Insights: Being part of a professional studio provides insight into the business side of tattooing, including marketing, client management, and studio operations.
  5. Building Confidence: The support and mentorship from experienced artists can help boost an apprentice’s confidence, which is crucial when transitioning to a professional tattooist.


A tattoo apprenticeship is a critical step for those aspiring to become successful tattoo artists. While it may not come with significant financial compensation, the knowledge, experience, and networking opportunities gained during the apprenticeship are invaluable and form the foundation of a rewarding career in the tattoo industry.

If you are considering a tattoo apprenticeship, research and choose a reputable studio with experienced and supportive mentors who can guide you on your journey to becoming a skilled and responsible tattoo artist. 

Updated on July 1, 2023

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