2014 Tennessee Code
Title 62 - Professions, Businesses and Trades
Chapter 38 - Tattoos and Body Piercing
Part 2 - General Provisions
§ 62-38-204 - Tattoo artist and operator registration, licensing and permits -- Temporary and apprentice artists.

TN Code § 62-38-204 (2014) What's This?

(a) No person shall engage in the practice of tattooing or act as a tattoo artist unless the person has registered as a tattoo artist with the department of health. A statewide tattoo artist license shall be issued and is transferable within this state to any studio holding a current studio certificate issued by a local health department. The department of health may, at its option, direct the local health department to act in its behalf in the application, examination and collection of funds concerning tattoo artist registration.

(b) No holder of a studio permit issued under this part shall allow a tattoo artist to engage in tattooing unless the tattoo artist:

(1) Has attained eighteen (18) years of age;

(2) Currently holds a tattoo artist license; and

(3) Either has a fourteen-day temporary permit or has an apprentice artist license.

(c) Any person desiring to engage in the practice of tattooing shall submit an application to the department of health or its designee. There shall be three (3) types of tattoo artist licenses: tattoo artist, apprentice artist and temporary artist. All tattoo artist and apprentice artist registrations shall expire on December 31 of each year. A tattoo artist, apprentice artist and temporary artist shall pay an annual fee of $140.

(d) All tattooing shall be under the auspices of a tattoo studio holding a current studio certificate issued by the local health department.

(e) Each tattoo operator or tattoo artist shall, before receiving a permit to operate a tattoo establishment or to apply a tattoo, undergo a training program to include:

(1) The alliance of professional tattooist course in sterilization;

(2) A local or state health department program;

(3) A course approved by the local health department in methods and techniques for the proper sterilization of instruments and materials used in tattooing; or

(4) Present acceptable evidence of having satisfactorily completed a course of instruction in sterilization techniques and methods from a college/medical sterilization course.

(f) The tattoo operator or tattoo artist, or both, shall be required to take and pass an examination concerning this part before a tattoo artist permit shall be issued. The examination shall be a written examination prescribed by the local health department. After passing the examination and complying with the other provisions of this part, a license shall be issued.

(g) In order to receive a tattoo artist license, the tattooist shall be trained in the profession of tattooing to include sterilization methods in a certified shop for at least one (1) year, under a currently licensed tattoo artist who has been certified and operating in compliance with applicable laws in this state for no less than three (3) years. Out of state tattoo artists must be able to show proof of at least two (2) years' experience as a professional tattoo artist in another state. Business licenses, tax records, etc. may be used to show proof of prior work. Artists currently in business in Tennessee on October 1, 1996, shall be exempt from this subsection (g).

(h) An apprentice artist license shall be issued if an artist is unable to comply with any of the provisions of this part. An artist shall remain an apprentice artist until all qualifications or provisions of this part have been met.

(i) A tattoo operator shall, unless registered as a tattoo artist, register with the department of health and shall comply with all provisions of this part, except for subsection (g). A tattoo operator shall pay an annual fee of $140.

(j) All fees shall be paid to the commissioner. If any fee is delinquent for more than thirty (30) calendar days, a penalty of one half (1/2) the fee shall be added to the fee. If a check is returned for any reason, a penalty of one half (1/2) the fee shall be added to the fee. The permit fee plus any penalty must be paid before the permit is issued.

(k) An applicant whose license has expired for more than one (1) year must reapply for licensure pursuant to subsection (g).

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