Healthcare practitioners serve their patients through annual visits and consultations, but you can take your expertise outside of the clinic. Many people require medical tattooing for various reasons. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare specialists can embrace their artistic spirits and read about these five things to know about becoming a medical tattoo specialist to continue improving their patients’ lives.
1. Decide Your Tattoo Preference
There are a few different types of medical tattoos. Some people with chronic health conditions get tattoos that provide a brief medical history for emergency responders. If the patient is unconscious and needs help, their tattoo points out their conditions, allergies or current medications.
People also get tattoos to make long-term treatments easier. A patient who has cancer may get tattoos to point out where their radiation gets administered.
Medical tattooing can also correct spots of skin affected by achromia. The artist would create a shade of ink that matches the person’s skin color and fill in patches that lack natural pigmentation.
2. Study Traditional Tattoo Styles
People who need medical tattoos that aren’t for pigmentation correction often put a personal spin on their design. Artists need to learn about traditional tattoo styles while becoming medical tattoo specialists. A patient could want something with Western outlines, watercolors or Neo traditional linework to display information for emergency responders. The final design should fit their personality and interests.
3. Start an Apprenticeship
An apprenticeship will give you experience in your chosen medical tattoo field. You’ll work with an expert while getting more hands-on in the process. You should use your apprenticeship to practice with different types of needles, like:
- Round liners
- Magnum shaders
- Flat shaders
Your time as an apprentice will also focus on refining the consultation process to develop the perfect design for each client. You’ll also walk them through their upcoming experience, which requires learning how to explain tattoo machines for pigment correction or after-care tips.
4. Get a State License
States have varying laws regarding how to become a medical tattoo specialist. Although you don’t have to get a tattoo degree at a traditional university, certifications and state-level courses teach people how tattooed individuals are more at risk for bloodborne infections if an artist’s needles aren’t clean.
Look into the state and county laws where you live. The courses and licensing don’t cost nearly as much as a bachelor’s degree but they will take some of your time. After earning your license, you can open a private tattoo shop or become an independent artist with the business where you worked as an apprentice.
5. Partner With a Doctor
Medical tattoos are for particular groups of people instead of the general public. It’s easier to find clients and thrive as a tattoo specialist if you partner with a doctor or two. They can identify patients who would benefit from the varying tattoo types and send them your way. Your reputation as an artist will grow with each positive review and you’ll continue expanding your presence within the medical community.
Become a Medical Tattoo Specialist
Now that you’ve read about five important things to know about becoming a medical tattoo specialist, consider your future as an artist. Healthcare practitioners can start this art form on the side or transition into making it your next full-time career. Your medical experience will help tattoo clients feel more comfortable about making an appointment and you’ll get to help more patients live comfortable lives outside of the clinic.