How to Become a Body Piercer

Three Methods:Beginning Your TrainingCompleting an ApprenticeshipGetting a Job

Becoming a body piercer takes patience and perseverance, but it ultimately is a very rewarding path. To become a piercer, you will need to check and fulfill all the requirements of your country or state. This involves taking a series of short training classes about sterilization and safety and doing an apprenticeship at a piercing studio, which can take anywhere from one to three years. After you finish your apprenticeship and get licensed, you can finally put your piercing skills to use and work your dream job!

Method 1
Beginning Your Training

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    Make sure that you are a suitable candidate. Before you go forward with your training, first consider whether piercing is the right option for you.
    • Body piercers must be at least 18 years old.
    • Body piercers also need to have exceptional hand-eye coordination. If you have unsteady or shaky hands, keep in mind that this could be a hurdle you may be unable to overcome.[1]
    • Piercers cannot be squeamish about regularly seeing body fluids and body parts, and should be able to perform well under pressure.
    • Finally, ideal piercers are outgoing and have great customer service.
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    Familiarize yourself with the tools of the trade. If you aren’t very familiar with piercing tools and procedure, take some time to learn more about body piercing. It’s important to have some familiarity with piercing before going on to do training or look for an apprenticeship.[2]
    • Use the Internet to find reputable articles and videos that discuss piercing basics.
    • Make sure that the Internet resources are up to date and reputable so that you don’t get any misinformation.
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    Check your state or country’s requirements. Different states and countries have slightly different requirements for becoming a piercer. Though the requirements are generally similar, read over the requirements in your area to make sure that you are on the right path before enrolling in training classes or starting an apprenticeship.
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    Attend a bloodborne pathogens training class. Before you get licensed to be a body piercer, you will need to attend several training classes. One of these is a bloodborne pathogens class, which will teach you how to protect yourself and your patrons from diseases that can be passed through needles.[3]
    • Make sure that the class you’re taking is given by the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), or meets their regulations.
    • Technically you can take this course after your apprenticeship, but you may want to take it before because you will be put in situations where this type of knowledge is useful.
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    Attend a First Aid/CPR class. Body piercers sometimes encounter stressful situations where patrons need medical assistance. Because of this, anyone who wishes to be a piercer is required to take a First Aid/CPR class. Try to take one given by Red Cross, the YMCA, or another reputable organization.[4]
    • You may decide to take this course after your apprenticeship. Do whatever works best for you.
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    Get a series of injections against transferable diseases. Before you do any kind of piercings, so need to get several injections against different kinds of diseases. These injections will help keep you safe and out of harms way once you start your apprenticeship.[5]

Method 2
Completing an Apprenticeship

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    Research studios. The majority of your training and learning will happen through an apprenticeship at a body piercing studio. Research different body piercing studios in your area that you would be interested in learning at.
    • Make sure to consider whether or not the studio also does tattooing, and if they do, whether they require all employees to know both skills.
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    Decide if you want to learn tattooing. Some studios require their piercers to also know how to do tattooing, while other studios only do piercing. Consider whether you would like to learn both skills or if you are solely interested in piercing. Learning to do both will make your training considerably longer.
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    Compile a list of studios to visit. Decide on a few studios to visit to ask about an apprenticeship. Only consider established, professional piercing studios, and stay away from mall kiosks or studios where they only use piercing guns.[6]
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    Go door to door. Most body piercing studios don’t advertise their apprenticeships online, so the most common way to find an apprenticeship is to visit different studios and ask if they are willing to take on apprentices. Even if you are visiting several studios, make each request personalized, and try to let your passion and interest shine through.[7]
    • You could say something like, “I was wondering if you take on apprentices here at Dragon Piercing. I think that you do really great work, and it would be great to be able to learn from such a professional studio.”
    • Don’t feel like you have speak or dress formally. A lot of piercing studios have a causal, independent environment, so while you should come across as driven and articulate, you don’t have to be overly formal.
    • Studios will be looking for apprentices with confidence and strong people skills. Remember to stand up straight, smile and speak clearly and with confidence.
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    Find a part time job. You will likely not receive compensation as an apprentice, so you should make sure that you will be able to support yourself financially before you begin. Either expect to use money that you’ve saved, or try to secure a part time job that can work around your schedule at the piercing studio.[8]
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    Start your apprenticeship. Once you have found a studio that will take you on as an apprentice, ask them how the apprenticeship will work. Find out how long they expect to have you on as an apprentice, and if you will get compensation for your work. Also ask about whether or not you will need to buy any tools or equipment.[9]
    • Typical apprenticeships take 1-3 years.
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    Learn the sterilization and safety procedures of the studio. Creating and maintaining a safe environment is an enormous part of learning how to be a body piercer. Learn the measures the studio you're training at takes to ensure their clients’ piercings will be infection-free.[10]
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    Learn how to do each type of piercing. Piercing procedure varies greatly depending on what part of the body you’re piercing, and what kind of piercing your client wants. Learn all the basic piercings like septum and earlobe piercings, as well as the more obscure ones like rook and snake bite piercings.[11]
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    Ask questions throughout your time as an apprentice. Your apprenticeship will cover a lot of ground, so try to constantly assess whether or not you need more training in certain areas. This can make you feel more confident as you leave your apprenticeship and become a professional piercer.[12]
    • In addition to how to actually do a piercing, you apprenticeship should cover: sterilization and disinfection, cross-contamination, piercing aftercare, piercing safety issues, and how to recognize when a piercing isn’t suitable for a patron. If you feel hazy on any of these points, let the studio know you need to brush up.

Method 3
Getting a Job

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    Get licensed. Check the way that your state or country certifies body piercers. You will likely have to submit the certificates for your blood pathogens and CPR/First Aid classes, as well as prove that you have completed an apprenticeship. You may have to pay a small fee to get certified.
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    See if your apprenticeship can turn into a job. Now that you are certified, you’re ready to work as a body piercer! The easiest way to find a job is to check in with the studio you finished your apprenticeship with and see if they are willing to hire you. This is a great first place to work since you are already familiar with their procedures and their staff.[13]
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    Assemble a portfolio. If the studio can’t hire you, you will have to apply to other studios. Before you do, put together a print portfolio that has pictures of your past work. This is a good way for studios to make sure that you are an able and qualified piercer, and will improve your chances of getting hired. Also ask the mentor or shop owner at the studio your were an apprentice at for a letter of recommendation.[14]
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    Look up studios. Research studios that interest you. Now that you know more about piercing, you should be able to look at galleries of their work online and see if they do high-quality work. Make a list of studios that you want approach and apply to.[15]
    • Some studios are very polished and professional, while others are more grungy and alternative. Try to pick a studio that aligns with your own personality.
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    Go door to door at piercing studios. After assembling your portfolio, go door to door and speak to the managers of the studios. Explain that that you have recently finished your apprenticeship and are eager to get a job as a piercer. Show them your portfolio and tell them why you are interested in their particular studio. [16]
    • It’s always best to go and talk in person instead of calling on the phone. This gives studios a better idea of your image and your personality.
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    Find opportunities online. After you have approached studios that interest you, go online to sites like Craigslist and see if there are studios that are actively looking for piercers. Many of them will likely request that you come in person to apply. Even if they don’t, assemble your portfolio, resume and letter of recommendation and go in to express your interest.
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    Keep track of your work. After you have found a job, keep track of your work. Take pictures of your finished piercings and save them for whenever you look for a new job in the future. Recording your work is important for building your career, and for reminding yourself of how far you’ve come!


  • Even if you are doing grunt work at the start of your apprenticeship, don’t be discouraged.
  • Ask for advice and guidance from fellow piercers.


  • Always be extremely careful when piercing and handling used needles, and make sure that you are aware of all safety risks.
  • Never pierce yourself or anyone else out of the sterile environment of a piercing studio.

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