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Tattoo Schools vs a Traditional Tattoo Apprenticeship

Old school tattoo girl

Tattooing is an extremely skilled profession that takes a great deal of artistic talent, dedication and hard work. In order to become a tattoo artist, a person needs to go through rigorous training to learn the proper techniques and safety procedures required to be a successful professional. Traditionally, an aspiring tattoo artist would have to seek an apprenticeship from a tattoo shop in order to learn how to tattoo. However, today this is not the only option. People can now attend a school for tattooing and piercing instead of taking the traditional route. While the same skills, techniques and sanitary practices are taught in each, the experiences are very different.

School For Tattooing and Piercing

Tattoo schools exist to give hands on training to aspiring tattoo artists in a more structured setting. These schools admit students who have a high level of artistic talent and teach them the ins and outs of tattooing both through classes and in an actual studio scenario. One benefit of a school for tattooing and piercing is that they have a predetermined length of time for completing the tattoo learning process. Unlike with an apprenticeship, they don’t require students to work in the shop in order to receive training. However, students do have to pay tuition in order to attend.

Traditional Tattoo Apprenticeship

A traditional apprenticeship is viewed by many tattoo artists as the only way to learn to tattoo, and some established artists may not take someone who came from a tattoo school as seriously as they would someone who went through a rigorous apprenticeship. That said, it can be very difficult to obtain an apprenticeship, as tattoo shops are not always looking for new students like a school is. They are also often very challenging and time consuming. Most apprentices work in the shop in exchange for mentoring by their tattoo master, and they only complete their apprenticeship when their tattoo master decides they are ready.

While tattoo apprenticeships used to be the only way to go, aspiring artists now have more options. The same skills are learned through both different learning methods, but the experiences are very different, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. Any aspiring tattoo artist must decide for themselves which approach is best for them.

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