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How to Get a Body Art License

What Is Considered Body Art?

Ohio defines “Body Art” as the practice of physical body adornment, including tattooing, permanent cosmetics and/or body piercing. Tattooing is permanently placing

marks on or under the skin of a person with ink, dye, or pigment. This includes procedures such as permanent makeup, micropigmentation, or microblading.


What are the Regulations for Body Art in Ohio?

The Ohio Regulations are found in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) and the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC). It’s important to read these regulations since this page is just an overview of what is required for a body art license

Ohio Revised Code:

Ohio Administrative Code:


Who Provides Licenses for Body Art?

Hamilton County Public Health (HCPH) licenses body art facilities that are within Hamilton County (the green areas on the map), but are NOT within the cities of Cincinnati, Norwood, or Springdale. Contact the Cincinnati, Norwood, or Springdale health department if you want to perform body art there.

If you’re not sure who you’re licensed by, go to Who We Serve for more information.


What Do I Need To Do To Be Licensed?

There are three forms that you will need to submit to HCPH. You will need to submit an application, a plan review request form, and an Infection Prevent of Control Plan (IPCP). Those forms are available online here:


What Is An Infection Prevention And Control Plan?

The IPCP lays out the equipment and the procedures you will use to keep your facility safe and sanitary. Some parts of the sample plan may not apply to your body art operation and you can mark those as “NA”.

A copy of the finished plan should be kept on site and all body artists should be trained on this plan.


What Else Do I Need to Submit?

Make sure to your application or IPCP includes these:

  • Proof of an apprenticeship or training in body art
  • Current first aid training certificate
  • Current blood-borne pathogen training certificate
  • Written proof from your local zoning authority that you’re allowed to have a body art business at that location
  • A floor plan showing the general layout of the facility
  • Patron Consent or Authorization forms
  • Parental Consent form if a patron under the age of 18 will be pierced/tattooed
  • Procedure record forms to be kept on file
  • Aftercare information provided to patrons
  • Log used for steam sterilizer loads (if applicable)
  • Log used to demonstrate employee training on the IPCP

Examples of some of these forms can be found here:


How Long Does It Take To Get Licensed?

The initial licensing process takes up to 30 days. Completed paperwork can be mailed, emailed, faxed, or dropped off at our office and will be reviewed by staff. After the paperwork is reviewed, we will schedule a time for a licensing inspection. Once you are approved, we will mail the license to you, which you should hang on site.


Are Body Art Facilities Inspected?

Yes. Facilities are inspected by HCPH once before you are initially licensed, and at least once a year after that. Inspections may be random or scheduled and will include checking the equipment, site, and records.

It’s important to keep complete and accurate records on clients and services on site!


How Much Does It Cost To Be Licensed?

The initial license fee is $300. That can be submitted with the application or given to the inspector at your licensing inspection. The annual license fee is $300 and is due at the start of each year with a license renewal application. Initial licenses granted on or after October 1st are effective until December 31st of the following year.


What If I Want To Perform Services On Minors Under 18?

Any patron under 18 years old must have a parent or guardian sign a consent form and be there at the time of the service. You must keep a copy of the patron’s ID AND the parent/guardian’s driver’s license on file. If the patron and the guardian have different last names, they must bring proof of guardianship (e.g. official birth certificate or adoption records).

No tattoo or piercing can be performed on the nipple or genital areas of anyone under 18, even with parent or guardian consent.


What if I Want to Remodel or Change the Services I Provide?

You must contact HCPH if you want to remodel your facility or if you’d like to add or change the services you provide. This would include things like:

  • Changing or adding on rooms to the facility
  • Adding piercing to your services when you are currently approved for only tattooing
  • If you want to switch from single use tools to using an autoclave sterilizer

Depending on the changes, you may need to submit a Plan Review Request form and have a re-inspection.


Where Do I Send My Application?

You can mail, e-mail, or drop off your completed application to:

Hamilton County Public Health
Waste Management Division
250 William Howard Taft Road, 2nd Floor
Cincinnati, OH 45219

If you have questions about the licensing process or what is required, call the Waste Management Division at 513-946-7879.


Additional Resources