How to Obtain a Tattoo License in Illinois

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A tattoo shop
A tattoo shop (Image: geograph.org.uk/Creativecommons.org)

Until recently, tattoo artists in the state of Illinois were not required to have any kind of permit or license to operate--tattoo establishments weren't even subjected to routine inspections. Now, all tattoo artists in Illinois will need to follow newly established guidelines, including obtaining a license.

Prepare your tattoo establishment for yearly inspections by the Department of Professional Regulation by ensuring that you're following their hygiene, sterilization and sanitation rules. Visit their website for current guidelines.

Study to take the tattoo artist license test by reviewing Illinois state guidelines on the Department of Professional Regulation website.

Take the tattoo artist license test. It will cover state regulations regarding sanitation, safety, hygiene and Illinois tattoo laws. The test is only administered in January and July of each year--if you fail the test, you can retake it.

Pay the initial license fee of $200. Your license will expire after Dec. 31 of each year.

Keep your license current by paying the $20 renewal fee before Dec. 31 of each year.

If you do not renew your license on time and it expires, you will need to pay $100. In addition, you will need to take another test issued by the Department of Professional Regulation. If you fail the test, you will have to retake it; you cannot tattoo anyone until you pass, and your fees will not be refunded.

Prevent revocation of your license by complying with all Illinois tattoo laws, including the following: Do not tattoo anyone younger than 18 without parental consent; always explain risks and after-care to all clients before tattooing them; store proper records for each client for at least 10 years after servicing them; do not tattoo anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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