Are Tattooing Courses Worth It?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on October 1, 2021
    Last Updated: February 9, 2022

You’ve decided that tattooing is the career for you, but just where do you start? Do you go to college to learn, do you need an apprenticeship, or can you even teach yourself? There are lots of questions that you need answering and not all career advisors will have the answers. 

If you look online you’ll find many tattoo courses, some of these are offered as online courses and some require you to attend a tattoo school. 

Tattoo courses can be a controversial subject when discussing with tattoo artists. Many artists feel that the tattoo school damages the reputation of tattooing as you’ve taken a shortcut to get qualified rather than putting in the hours as an apprentice. 

If this is the way that you’ve decided to get into the tattooing industry, speak to some reputable tattoo artists beforehand to understand their opinions. You could also ask them if they are able to offer you an apprenticeship to learn from them while on the job.

How Can You Learn To Be a Tattoo Artist?

If you have a passion for tattoos and enjoy art and design, tattooing could be the right career choice for you. Some people think that it’s easy to become a tattoo artist but this isn’t the case. It takes many hours, lots of work, and commitment to become a good tattoo artist.

There are lots of tattoo courses available to study to be a tattoo artist. However, many reputable tattoo artists feel that these are not a good thing and that you should be learning as part of an apprenticeship. 

One thing you certainly need to do when learning to be a tattoo artist is to practice. You will need to practice drawing and also practice tattooing your art onto other surfaces.

Are Tattooing Courses Worth It?

Tattoo courses can be an expensive way for you to learn, costing thousands of dollars, and many are only for a short period of time. This means that you won’t be able to learn all aspects of tattooing and some see it as a shortcut to getting on the career ladder. However, one thing you will learn by doing a tattoo course is the health aspect of tattoos, you’ll learn about blood-borne pathogens and how to avoid cross-contamination and infection issues. 

You’ll also have the support of your teacher and classmates around you and this can be uplifting. This is especially so when you finish the course and continue your journey to become a tattoo artist. It helps to have the support of others who are at the same stage of progress as you are. 

What’s Included in a Tattoo Course?

If you do decide to join a tattoo course you will start by learning the history of tattooing and the traditions from around the world. This will give you an insight into how tattoos began and how they’re used. 

You will then learn about the equipment that you’ll be using, what you need, and how to set this up. You’ll get to know the equipment and how it should be used to get the best results. A large part of the course should be around safety precautions, blood-borne pathogens, and how to sterilize correctly, avoiding infections and cross-contamination.

You’ll then learn the basics of tattooing including, linework, shading, and blending. You’ll also learn how to construct, apply, and use a stencil. During the course, you will practice tattooing on other materials as well as completing supervised tattoos on real clients. This will help you to build a portfolio to show off to tattoo studios when looking for work or an apprenticeship.

Tattoo Apprenticeships

Many people would say that an apprenticeship is a far better way of learning how to tattoo as you’re shadowing tattooists in a real-life environment. However, a tattoo course could be a good start and give you the basics that you can use while doing an apprenticeship. 

This could give you the best of both worlds if you have the time and money saved to be able to complete a course and then an apprenticeship.

When looking for an apprenticeship, make sure that the tattoo studio that you approach is reputable and the tattoo artist has the time and is willing to teach you. You also need to make sure that your responsibilities are clearly stated before signing a contract. 

Your mentor should teach you everything they know to enable you to become a great tattoo artist. They should also help you to apply for a license and any certifications and insurance required. 


A tattoo course can be with it if you’re looking at it as the first stepping stone to becoming a tattoo artist. You shouldn’t look at the course as a way to avoid the hard work, many hours and commitment of completing an apprenticeship. 

The more experience and mentoring you can get, the better for your career as a tattoo artist.

Related Tattooing Articles