Tattoo Artist Salary

Tattoo Artists in the United States can expect only a modest salary, with average pay of just $30K annually. Around one in ten report receiving medical coverage from their employers and less than five percent collect dental insurance. Men make up the majority of Tattoo Artists (62 percent) survey respondents. This field is filled with high levels of job satisfaction; most Tattoo Artists are happy with their jobs. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.
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$14,729 - $53,725
(Median)
$15K
$30K
$54K
MEDIAN: $30,415
10%
50%
90%

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$9.93 - $126.41
(Median)
$9
$50
$130
MEDIAN: $49.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$80K$160K$240K
Salary
$14,729 - $53,725  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $29,361  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$18,833 - $211,581  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 87
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50$100$150
Hourly Rate
$9.93 - $126.41  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.12 - $12.67  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$100K$200K$300K
Bonus
$0.00 - $29,361  
   
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$18,833 - $211,581  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 54
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Job Description for Tattoo Artist

A tattoo artist applies permanent artwork to people’s bodies with the use of needles. The tattoo artist should always comply with health codes. It is important to keep the facility and materials clean and sterilized. Some tattoo artists do freelance work, while others work for a company. Prior to being hired by a company, it will usually be necessary to present a portfolio and demonstrate work. Many tattoo artists will work on commission. Some tattoo shops will offer an apprenticeship for a tattoo artist to learn the skills needed for the job. This job may have lower or no pay.

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Tattoo Artist Tasks

  • Apply tattoos on customer skin.
  • Ensure the shop environment is sanitary and the tools are sterilized appropriately.
  • Design original or variations of known tattoos for customers.

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Pay by Experience Level for Tattoo Artist

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Respondents with less than five years' experience take home $31K on average. In contrast, those who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably higher average of $40K. Tattoo Artists claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $50K. Respondents who boast more than two decades on the job don't boast commensurate pay, unfortunately; these veterans see average earnings of only $42K.

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Experience Affects Tattoo Artist Salaries

Experienced
up arrow 38%

Late-Career
up arrow 15%

Mid-Career
up arrow 12%

National Average
$36,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 14%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 11 votes.

Gender

Female
38 %
Male
62 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
32%
5-9 years
33%
10-19 years
22%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 11% dental benefits Dental: 5%
vision benefits Vision: 5% employee benefits None: 89%
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