Connecticut Association of Professional Tattooers, Inc.

CAPT is a non-profit organization comprised solely of licensed Connecticut tattoo artists, who work in legitimate tattoo shops. Our goal is the betterment of the tattoo community, and preservation of the public health through appropriate education.

As advocates for those tattoo artists who engage in safe responsible practices, we are a collaborative voice to state representatives and health departments to establish regulations that reflect the wants and needs of tattoo artists. It will be a continuing effort to ensure that current regulations continue to reflect the present standards of the industry.

CAPT is comprised entirely of professional tattoo artists, men and women, small business owners in CT. We are also residents of Connecticut; we have families, children, parents. We care about the well being and safety of our community because it is our community.

In order to preserve the professionalism and integrity of our craft, we will dispel myths created through rumor, ignorance, and misinformation. We will ensure the safety of our fellow citizens through education by offering a free resource for accurate information.

By preserving integrity, we earn respect and ensure quality.

Please Support Safe Tattooing

Please make a donation to CAPT with PayPal
Our non-profit organization is funded solely by membership fees and donations of caring people like yourself.
Support Legitimate Tattoo Artists!
As professional tattoo artists with years of experience, we have an insight into the daily operation of a tattoo studio that those outside our industry simply have never been exposed to. Regulations have been put in place that are either vague or arbitrary, by those far removed from the tattoo industry. Now, exploiting loopholes in the law, and demonstrating a blatant disregard for the industry, opportunistic individuals have been selling licenses to those who are unqualified.

We need to have smart and consistent regulations that apply to tattooing and tattoo shops for the betterment of the tattoo industry, not just for the collection of fees.

Act Concerning the Licensing of Tattoo Technicians

The forming of legislation introduced in 2013 requiring tattoo artists to be licensed by the state Department of Public Health.
Choose a Professional Tattoo Artist
Owning a tattoo machine is not the only requirement to be a tattoo artist. Proper hands-on training in a legitimate tattoo shop is vital to understanding and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for both client and tattooer.
Professional tattooers strive to ensure the safety of their clients, co-workers, themselves and ultimately the entire community. Only by ensuring that safe tattoo practices are followed by everyone, can we ensure the safety of the public. Clean practices are already standard in todays modern tattoo establishments.

Currently, professional tattoo artists in Connecticut must hold certification in basic first aid and bloodbourne pathogens training and be registered with the state department of public health as a Tattoo Technician.

Tattoo establishments are subject to inspection by their local health department, and must meet with the requisite criteria and health standards. Used tattoo needles are a biohazardous byproduct of the tattoo procedure, they are required to be deposited of in approved tamper proof sharps containers to be collected and disposed of properly.

The Risks of "Underground" Tattooing

Amateurs who tattoo "on the side", at "tattoo parties", or those who make house calls, pose a public health threat and undermine the efforts of legitimate tattoo professionals.

Tattooing in a location such as a basement, garage, on the couch, or at your kitchen table is unsanitary, and exposes the recipient of the tattoo to an increased risk of infection. Surfaces inappropriate for tattooing aren't able to be properly sanitized, increasing the possibility of contamination which can infect others. Used needles that are disposed of in a regular trash receptical pose a potential needle stick hazard. An empty soda can is not an approved disposal container.

Tattoo Parties are a particularly bad idea for a number of reasons. Tattoos done at parties are a rushed job from a tattooer of questionable experience and sanitary practices. This exposes a whole group of people to the same unsanitary conditions at the same time, multiplying the opportunity for cross contamination exponentially.

Additionally, many reputable tattoo suppliers only sell to actual tattoo professionals. With the appearance of saving money and ease of aquisition, amateurs purchase inferior machines, lesser quality needles, ink of questionable origin, and other supplies from disreputable sources. These individual risks compound to form a high probability for a bad tattoo.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website:

...A few major research studies have not shown Hepatitis C to be spread through licensed, commercial tattooing facilities. However, transmission of Hepatitis C (and other infectious diseases) is possible when poor infection-control practices are used during tattooing or piercing. Body art is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, and unregulated tattooing and piercing are known to occur in prisons and other informal or unregulated settings...

By getting tattooed by an "underground" tattooer in an unsanitary environment, you are putting yourself and your household at risk, while perpetuating and encouraging the continuation of this reckless behavior. The risks to your health are not worth any amount of money that you may seem to "save".

Pop Quiz

The Connecticut Association of Professional Tattooers

The members of CAPT are all licensed professionals who have voluntarily chosen to embrace a higher standard to ensure both quality artistry and safe tattoo practices.

Look for the CAPT triangle logo when you get tattooed, and you'll know you are getting a tattoo from someone who cares enough to take the time and do it the right way.

CAPT Benefits the Community

The Connecticut Association of Professional Tattooers has taken the initiative to act in the best interest of the tattooed public, by being a force for positive change. We are actively working to benefit our communities through public health education.

Members of CAPT have represented Connecticut's tattoo artists at meetings of the CT Environmental Health Association (CEHA), and the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO).

CAPT has taken an active role in Connecticut by inviting health department officials from several of Connecticut's districts to our own meetings, to discuss the formation of uniform regulations for health inspectors. Members of CAPT were also invited to demonstrate to members of the CT Environmental Health Association (CEHA) what to look for during inspections of tattoo establishments.

Annually at the tattoo conventions in Connecticut, CAPT organizes a public information campaign. We offer guides to the public on safe handling of a new tattoo and educate tattoo patrons about the dangers of underground tattooing.

CAPT is currently working directly with the state Department of Public Health to form more realistic regulations for tattoo artists, and guidelines for tattoo shop inspection. CAPT has also worked with local health inspectors to identify and stop the operation of underground tattooers who have surfaced in our small towns right here in Connecticut.

The most important factor in public health and safety consciousness is appropriate education. Be smart and stay safe.

Support Professional Artists!

By supporting the Connecticut Association of Professional Tattooers, you can help dispel many of the myths and rumors perpetuated through lack of information. As tattoo artists, we hear first hand many of the misconceptions held by the public.

We are creating a resource for public education and health consciousness. This will be a place you can direct clients for accurate and reliable answers to those questions most frequently asked. Through public education we will help consumers avoid tattoo related scams and profiteers.

CAPT Standards

*CAPT endorses the professional discretion of the tattooer in the use of any additional personal protective equipment as is deemed necessary on an individual basis for any particular tattoo. Use of additional protective equipment does not constitute a precedent for required continued use on subsequent tattoos.

Traditional Apprenticeships

According to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary... Definition of apprentice
1 a : one bound by indenture... to serve another for a prescribed period with a view to learning an art or trade
b : one who is learning by practical experience under skilled workers a trade, art, or calling...

A tattoo apprenticeship is an arrangement in which a professional tattoo artist teaches in exchange for assistance in daily activities. Apprenticeships have been the relied upon training method for carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other trades for years. Benjamin Franklin was a printer's apprentice, Henry Ford apprenticed under a machinist, and Leonardo DaVinci apprenticed to be a painter.

There is usually only one apprentice per mentor; this individual training ensures true understanding of the lessons contained in real life situations. There must be a mutual trust; you become a representative of your mentor, he stakes part of his reputation on your performance. Respect for the knowledge, wisdom, skill, and experience of the working professional teaching you is the key to a successful apprenticeship. Your mentor is how other professional tattoo artists come to know and respect you. An apprentices success is ultimately that of the mentor as well.

A traditional apprenticeship is the only tried and true way to promote a thorough education in safe, responsible tattooing.

By being immersed in the daily function of a real working tattoo studio, with hands on training by an actual tattoo professional, you learn not only the techniques involved in the tattoo application process, but also customer service skills, attention to detail, self-discipline, and respect that just aren't possible to learn in a classroom. Through assisting in the daily operation of a tattoo establishment, alongside knowledgable experienced professionals, you accumulate real world experience and training. The individual oversight only attainable in a hands-on apprencticeship ensures that lessons are learned satisfactorily before moving on to the next. There is no week by week schedule; your advancement in your apprenticeship is based on performance and improvement, and this continues throughout your career as a tattoo artist.

Tattoo "Schools" Come Up Short

Tattoo Schools are not staffed by working tattoo professionals, they hire people with minimal experience to be "instructors", in a classroom setting, in a place with no actual tattoo studio. Remember, real tattoo artists work in real tattoo shops.

These so called "schools" are owned and run by shameless profiteers who are NOT part of the industry, who exploit the hard work and talents of professional tattoo artists. What's to stop more of these tattoo factories from opening in our state, in Hartford, New London, Groton, or across the street from your studio? These are not artists, you will not appeal to their sense of decency and they do not care about professional respect or your artistry. They do not care about the inferior quality of "education" they are selling. They are an impersonal business concerned about the bottom line and making money.

Paying high fees to have someone "teach" you how to tattoo in a few short months is not going to provide the skills required to be a professional tattoo artist. The reality is, that without doing a traditional apprenticeship, you miss out on being exposed to the most important things, those that you simply can't learn from a seminar. As in any skilled craft, individual hands-on training is crucial; you won't get that as one face in the crowd in the back of a classroom. Tattoo "schools" will take your money in exchange for a certificate of completion. They will even give you the title of "Junior Tattoo Artist", there is no such thing. Make no mistake, you are not buying an education. You will be engaging in a fantasy experience, they put a tattoo machine in your hand and tell you that you are qualified. It will not give you the skills required to succeed, nor will your certificate entitle you to any employment as a tattoo artist. Inquire about employment opportunities for "tattoo school graduates" at any legitimate tattoo shop, and you will get a common answer. Their guarantee of job placement only means that when their graduates can't find a job in a real tattoo shop, they have no choice but to work for the school.

Obtaining an Apprenticeship

There is no one right way to go about getting a tattoo apprenticeship, but there are many common wrong approaches. The most common is asking a tattoo artist whom you've just met, or barely know, if they will take you on as an apprentice.

A better approach is to spend some time in your local tattoo shops, and get to know different artists. Find a Professional Tattoo Artist who actually does tattoos for a living in a legitimate tattoo establishment. Someone who you would get tattooed by yourself, someone who's work you respect. Assuming you like tattoos, you should consider getting tattooed yourself, this would be a far better use of your time and money than an introductory seminar. While there, you can see what goes on in a real tattoo shop. Most likely you will see other tattoo artists and people like yourself getting tattooed. Remember, your tattoo artist is at work, and you may possibly begin to get a realistic view of what daily life is like in a tattoo shop.

Don't confuse being persistent and passionate, with being pushy and impatient. If you ask for critiques of your drawings, accept their honest opinions of your work. Talk to your artist, ask a few intelligent questions, but don't expect them to teach you anything for free. Professional tattooers have put in their time to get to where they are. In order to succeed, it takes years of hard work, focus, and dedication. Since a working relationship must be established, any mentor will want to assess your character, your dedication, work ethic, punctuality, etc. These are all things that are difficult to judge upon first impressions, and a potential mentor will want to know who you are before committing to anything. Just like any goal worth working towards, it won't be quick and easy.

Teaching yourself to tattoo at home, or learning from a disreputable underground tattooer leads the way to all kinds of problems. Receiving inaccurate advice, or struggling to figure out techniques for yourself will get you rooted in bad habits. There is no solid foundation for you to build upon, and it is difficult to improve.

Unsafe practices and the exposure to blood causes an unnecessary increase in the likelyhood of disease transmission. Improper handling and treatment of contaminated equipment in an uncontrolled environment is irresponsible and dangerous to yourself and every person you tattoo. And what about your friends and family who let you practice on them? Nothing will haunt you like that horrible tattoo you plopped on your girlfriend's forearm.
There are no shortcuts to a quality education.

Just showing up until the end of the semester doesn't make you qualified.

Beware of those claiming that they will make it easy for you and guarantee you job placement.

No school can guarantee success.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Connecticut Tattoo Artists:
Join The Association

All Tattoo Artists with a valid CT Tattoo Technician license working in a legitimate tattoo establishment are welcome to be a part of the association.

Have your voice heard! Your opinions matter and will be respected.

CAPT is the official association for the State of Connecticut to consult with on these matters. Our organization has already recieved the attention of the state health department, and we are already enacting change within the state.

Pop Quiz

If you are a CT tattoo artist and are interested in becoming a member of CAPT, you can join online at our members site If you have any questions about membership, please send a message to

Attend group sponsored events and get to know your fellow tattooers!

The Connecticut Association of Professional Tattooers provides assurance to tattoo patrons that their tattoos are done by qualified professionals.
We work to ensure that Connecticut regulation of tattoo technicians reflects the modern concerns and current standards of the tattoo industry.

This association is comprised of Individual Artist Members. This is about rules imposed on us as individuals, whether shop owners or otherwise. Having just one artist from your shop as a member doesn't mean all of your coworkers are represented.

It's time for tattoo artists to unite, put aside any differences and acknowledge that which we all have in common, the love of tattooing. We are ultimately in charge of educating our clients, and the entire public, on tattoo safety. There are less than 700 registered tattoo technicians in CT.

Through our collective efforts we will succeed in preserving our dignity and maintaining an industry built on respect and rooted in tradition.

The Connecticut Association of Professional Tattooers, Inc. (CAPT) does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity and expression, age, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.

Official CAPT Sponsors

These companies and organizations have graciously offered discounts for our members.