Congratulations, you decided to start your new career as a professional body piercer. Now what? It takes a great personality, precise skills, and drive, but you are ready to take on the challenge. Before you can branch out on your own, there are a few things to do.
Complete Your Education
Pass Safety Training
Health and safety training varies slightly by state. It is vital to keep yourself and your clients protected. Generally, you will have to take courses on CPR, first-aid, infections, personal protective equipment, and bloodborne pathogens. When you learn about sanitizing techniques, research the best autoclave for piercing.
Obtain a Mentor
You must find a mentor to complete your required apprenticeship for the Association of Professional Piercers. At a minimum, your mentor must have at least five years of experience in the industry and be current on their safety training. To find the best mentor, research local artists, read reviews, visit studios, and ask piercers if they are accepting apprenticeships. Remember that the better your mentor, the better you’ll become.
Complete an Apprenticeship
Once you secure a great mentor, you can begin your six to 12-month apprenticeship. The Association of Professional Piercers suggests apprenticeship minimums. You should have at least 100 hours of observing piercings. Those hours should include 100 or more piercings in a variety of locations. Apprentices are requested to perform at least 50 supervised piercings before working on their own. Additional time will be spent learning to sanitize properly and filling out paperwork. In total, you will have about 1,200 hours under your mentor.
Pass an Exam
Confirm with your mentor, state board of health, and county what the licensing requirements for local piercers are. Many areas require professional piercers to pass an exam covering health and safety laws. Even if your state does not require a license, consider passing the exam anyway. It can make you more reputable and provide better job opportunities.
Purchase Your Supplies
You should consider purchasing needle receiving tubes. Not all piercers use them, but they can be beneficial for freehand piercings. Your needle will be caught in the hollow tube after passing through the flesh. The glass or stainless steel tube protects you and your client from accidental pricks.
Forceps or Clamps
Pennington forceps, or clamps, are another popular piercing tool. Many piercers like to stabilize a person’s skin before passing a needle through. However, there is some debate regarding forceps. Some artists believe going freehand is more accurate because the skin is not displaced. You may find you like clamps for certain types of piercings but not others.
Not all piercers do dermal piercings. They can be temperamental, require additional training, and often require special tools. A dermal punch is the most straightforward tool for placing subdermal jewelry. The punch removes a round piece of skin like an extremely sharp paper punch. Jewelry is set into the pocket.
You’ll need a wide assortment of piercing needles. It’s best to avoid piercing guns as they can damage skin and are difficult to sanitize. Opt for hollow needles in a variety of gauges. Certain piercings, such as the navel, will also require curved needles. Look for surgical-grade materials instead of amalgamated steel.
You likely don’t need to purchase your own, but make sure your shop uses autoclave piercing sterilization. An autoclave is the most effective and efficient way to sterilize your tools and jewelry. It will quickly use pressurized steam to kill any microorganisms.
Becoming a professional piercer is a long road, but it can be worth the work. Complete your education and purchase your supplies to get started.