Is Tattooing a High-Income Skill? (Not really

is tattooing a high income skill

Are you considering a career in tattooing? If so, you may be wondering if tattooing is a high-income skill.

There is a common misconception that tattoo artists make much money, but is this true?

Contrary to popular belief, not all tattoo artists make high incomes.

So, is tattooing a high-income skill?

The answer is not a simple yes or no. While some tattoo artists make much money, it is not guaranteed. Building a successful career as a tattoo artist requires hard work, dedication, and skill.

In the following sections, I will explore the factors that can impact your income as a tattoo artist and provide tips for building a successful career in the industry.

What is Tattooing Really About?

Tattooing is an art form that has existed for thousands of years. It involves using a needle to inject ink into the skin to create a permanent design. Tattooing is about creating beautiful designs and telling a story, expressing oneself, and marking significant events in one’s life.

tattoo artist

If you want to become a tattoo artist, it is important to understand that it is not just a high-income skill but also a craft that requires dedication, hard work, and a lot of practice.

To become a tattoo artist, you must undergo training and apprenticeship under an experienced tattoo artist.

Apprenticeship is an essential part of becoming a tattoo artist.

During the apprenticeship, you will learn the basics of tattooing, including how to use the equipment, create designs, and work with clients. You will also learn about the importance of hygiene and safety when tattooing.

Some states require tattoo artists to be licensed and certified in addition to apprenticeships. The licensing and certification process typically involves passing a written exam and demonstrating skills in a practical exam.

Is Tattooing a High-Income Skill?

If you are passionate about art and have excellent drawing skills, tattooing may be a career path worth considering. Tattooing is a form of art that has been around for centuries and has evolved into a lucrative industry.

However, the question remains: is tattooing a high-income skill? In my opinion, it is not.

I will explain why.

I wouldn’t categorize tattooing as a high-income skill compared to numerous other professional skills in the job market.

While tattoo artists can earn a respectable income, especially in certain regions, I believe that for tattooing to be considered a high-income skill truly, it requires individual talent and a strategic business approach.

To achieve high-income status in the tattoo industry, an artist must go beyond the craft itself and embrace the principles of entrepreneurship. This means leveraging marketing and advertising to build a strong brand presence, reach a wider client base, and create demand for their unique style and services.

By operating at scale, for instance, a tattoo artist could expand their business by opening multiple studios, hiring additional skilled artists, and possibly even franchising their brand.

They might also invest in online marketing campaigns, social media advertising, and influencer collaborations to increase their visibility.

Moreover, diversifying income streams can be crucial. This could involve selling branded merchandise, offering tattoo-related workshops or courses, and participating in conventions and art shows. By doing so, a tattoo artist can capitalize on their reputation and maximize their earning potential.

While tattooing can provide a solid income, reaching the high-income echelons of the profession typically requires a combination of exceptional artistry, savvy business practices, and effective marketing and advertising tools to amplify reach and revenue.

Can Tattooing Make You Rich?

Tattooing can be a lucrative career path for those passionate about the art form and willing to put in the work. However, it is important to remember that becoming a successful tattoo artist and earning a high income requires skill, hard work, and business acumen.

Tattooing has the potential to make you rich.

Still, it greatly depends on various factors, such as the artist’s skill level, reputation, business acumen, and strategies for marketing and growing their tattooing business.

Tattoo artists can charge a significant hourly rate, with most charging at least $100 per hour, and well-known artists can command substantially more.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly pay for a Tattoo Artist in the United States is $51.37 an hour.

Tattoo Artist Salary

While ZipRecruiter sees hourly wages as high as $190.62 and as low as $13.94, the majority of Tattoo Artist wages currently range between $20.91 (25th percentile) to $38.46 (75th percentile) across the United States.

The average pay range for a Tattoo Artist varies greatly (by as much as $17.55), which suggests there may be many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location, and years of experience.

However, it’s important to note that, like any profession, achieving wealth through tattooing requires dedication, hard work, and often, a lot of time spent building a client base and honing one’s skills.

As mentioned earlier, financial success in tattooing, like in any business, can be bolstered through effective marketing, brand building, and possibly expanding operations.

Without these elements, an artist may struggle to maximize their earning potential. Therefore, while not guaranteed, tattoo artists can become wealthy through their craft, especially if they leverage their talent with smart business strategies.

Finally, another factor that can impact your income is the location of your tattoo shop.

If you work in a high-traffic area or a city with a high demand for tattoos, you may be able to charge more for your services than in a less populated area.

How Do Tattoo Artists Make Money?

Tattoo artists make money in several ways, including:

1. Charging Hourly Rates

One of the most common ways tattoo artists make money is by charging hourly rates. The hourly rate can vary depending on the artist’s experience, skill level, and location. Experienced tattoo artists can generally charge higher hourly rates than beginners or apprentices.

2. Charging Flat Rates

Some tattoo artists charge flat rates for specific designs or projects. This can be a good option for clients who want a simple design or a small tattoo and for tattoo artists who want to work on multiple projects at once.

3. Receiving Tips

Tattoo artists can also make money by receiving tips from clients. Tips are usually given to show appreciation for a job well done. While tips are not mandatory, they can be a significant source of income for tattoo artists.

4. Selling Merchandise

Tattoo artists can also sell t-shirts, stickers, and prints. This can be a good way to promote their work and earn extra income.

5. Owning a Tattoo Shop

Finally, some tattoo artists make money by owning their tattoo shop.

Owning a tattoo shop can be lucrative, but it requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Tattoo shop owners are responsible for managing employees, maintaining the shop, and marketing their business to attract new clients.

Where Can I Find High-Paying Tattooing Jobs?

If you’re looking for high-paying tattooing jobs, there are a few places to start your search.

Tattoo Studios

Tattoo studios are the most obvious place to start your job search.

Many studios offer job openings for experienced tattoo artists. You can check the websites of local studios or visit them in person to inquire about job openings. Some studios may require you to submit a portfolio of your work, so make sure you have one ready.

Online Job Boards

Online job boards can be a great resource for finding high-paying tattooing jobs. Websites like Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor have job listings for tattoo artists. You can filter job listings by location, salary, and experience level to find the right job.

Social Media

Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook can also be useful for finding high-paying tattooing jobs. Many tattoo artists use social media to showcase their work and connect with potential clients and employers.

You can follow tattoo studios and artists in your area to stay up-to-date on job openings.


Freelancing can be a great way to find high-paying tattooing jobs. Many clients are willing to pay top dollar for custom tattoo designs. You can create a website or social media page to showcase your work and attract clients. Freelancing can also allow you to work on your schedule and choose the projects that interest you.

Wrapping Up

To sum up, tattooing can make you a lot of money, but it’s not just about being great at drawing tattoos.

Where you work, how well-known you are, and how you sell your skills matter greatly.

Some tattoo artists make a lot of money, but it’s not a sure thing for everyone. To earn big, you’ve got to be an awesome artist and be smart about running your business and getting the word out there.

In addition, building a strong portfolio and reputation is crucial for attracting clients and earning a higher income. This can be achieved by networking, attending tattoo conventions, and seeking apprenticeships or mentorship opportunities.

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