How Much Does a Tattoo Apprenticeship Cost?
For those that want to begin a career as a certified professional tattoo artist, an apprenticeship is necessary. An apprenticeship is going to be a challenge, sometimes lasting more than a year. During this time, you will have to work for free while learning the ropes of the industry; this is accomplished by working with a professional in your area. The cost of one is going to greatly depend on the artist helping you, your location, as well as other various factors.
How much is it?
- It is recommended that you find a strong, reputable tattoo artist in your area that has more than 5 years of experience and is credible. While many are happy to take you under their wings for a low cost, most are going to cost anywhere from $2,000 to as much as $25,000 to complete the whole training process.
- Local tattoo artists generally will not charge as much as a school, but keep in mind that it is fairly hard to work with someone in your area that is credible. The reason for this is that they not only will have a lot of work, they may not have the time to focus on teaching you the ropes of the industry. A credible tattoo artist can charge anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000.
- For example, the International Institute of Tattoo has a tuition rate of $20,000. Their tuition rates include the equipment such as the machines, tube/tip/grip combos, and everything else necessary in order to get started doing tattoos.
What are the extra costs?
- Tattoos will be done for free but on your time. Shops will expect you to pay for necessary supplies such as the ink and needles. Plan on giving out at least 50 to 100 tattoos for your portfolio.
- On a school level, books, guides and other related materials such as supplies will be additional to the tuition. Some schools may include the equipment with the tuition fee. It is best to talk with the school to get more information on the fee schedule.
What is going to be included?
- To make sure that you are truly interested in the tattoo industry, most shops are going to push your limits at the beginning of the apprenticeship. This is going to include taking out the trash, setting up stations, as well as helping run errands. This is their way of getting rid of the weak.
- While most of the learning will be done by watching the professionals do their job, this is your opportunity to learn what they are doing as well as ask questions and learn more about the industry.
- When you feel ready to start the tattoo process, you’ll be able to practice on fake skin or fruits to show that you know what you are doing. Plan on doing this process for at least 6 to 18 months.
- Around the 12 to 15 month mark is your time to start doing tattoos on actual people. Keep in mind that many will make you do them for free and you will have to pay for the equipment necessary in order to do the job properly. This is your chance to build your portfolio for the future. In the end, this is your opportunity to become legally certified within your state.
How can I save money?
- Do not give up on finding an apprenticeship in your area. Talk with many shop owners to see what they can do for you. Make sure that you are working with someone that is credible (more than 5 years of experience.)
- To see if it is something that you want to get into, consider purchasing books that give you a more in depth look on what the industry is all about.