26 Jun 2012

I received a message from a girl who was interested in becoming a piercer:


I've been interested in becoming a piercing artist for a while and have asked about apprenticeships, but have had no luck until today when one of the artists at a nearby shop said that he would apprentice me for one hundred dollars a week. Should I consider this? Would a reputable place ask for this or are they just interested in getting my money?

This is something I'm serious about doing and am willing to do anything for at this point.



Hi J.,

If you have an interest in becoming a professional piercer, I would absolutely recommend that you read my book, The Piercing Bible, as your next step. It isn't a "how to pierce" book per se, but every page will have useful and helpful information, and everything in there is something you will ultimately need to know. There's also a chapter entitled "A Career in Professional Piercing" and that has lots of crucial information for you too. I can say I'd be surprised if you didn't think it was the best $20. you ever spent toward learning about body piercing.

After reading The Piercing Bible you will be extremely well educated about the subject, and in fact, you'll have a lot more information than some "professional" piercers who are practicing in the field!
Here's a brief excerpt:

Evaluating an Apprenticeship

There are no standardized criteria for specific apprenticeship terms or curricula, or for the credentials of a piercer who is eligible to teach. Unqualified mentors can only turn out inferior piercers, bringing down the overall level of competency. A top-notch instructor is crucial. Even a respected and experienced piercer is not necessarily blessed with the ability to impart her knowledge to others. Find out how long she has been piercing, how she learned, and if she has previous experience teaching others to pierce. Did she train any of the staff at the studio? Ask to speak with them or other former students, and check around to determine her reputation in the body art field and the community at large.

The terms of an apprenticeship can range from a casual agreement—“Yeah, come on over. I’ll teach you”—to a formal contract. You may be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, a noncompete clause, or other legal forms. Even if you are walking on air over landing an apprenticeship, don’t sign anything you don’t feel comfortable with or don’t understand. If it is not written in plain language, consider having an attorney look it over. Even if you don’t have a pact on paper, it’s a good idea to work out specific terms before starting. Will you be paid, and, if so, how much? Does the instructor have a formal program in mind? What exactly will your duties include? How long is the anticipated duration of your training? When will you actually start to pierce? A comprehensive apprenticeship should provide instruction in anatomy, hygiene, sterilization, bloodborne pathogens, jewelry quality and selection, aftercare, troubleshooting, and customer service, as well as plenty of supervised hands-on instruction in piercing procedures.

To order locate the book cover in the right-hand column then select your shipping method from the drop-down menu. Click the "Buy Now" button, or email: [email protected]; or, in the US, call toll free: 888 888-1APP. Orders are being filled by the Association of Professional Piercers. I serve on the Board of Directors as President of the organization. A portion of the proceeds from the book goes to the organization, and you will receive a signed copy of my book.

I would strongly suggest you read it before undertaking any form of apprenticeship. FYI--I actually paid my apprentices (I didn't charge them). And I kept them employed for 10+years at my studio.

I can think of a few other resources that might be useful for you:

The blog archives of my site contain hundreds of posts about piercings: http://piercingbible.com/blog/archive

The APP website contains a FAQ and all kinds of good information: http://www.safepiercing.org/piercing/faq/

The APP procedure manual, too can now be downloaded for free from the site: http://www.safepiercing.org/publications/procedure-manual/cd

Back issues of The Point, the quarterly journal of the APP, are all available for free download: http://www.safepiercing.org/publications/the-point/back-issues/

If you'd like to see me performing piercings, and demonstrating exactly where they should be placed, I've got videos available here: http://www.clips4sale.com/store/10557  (They're not "how-to" videos, per se, but they do show a lot of information, too!)

There are free archives available of all the columns I've written for Pain Magazine (answering piercing questions) here:
http://www.painmag.com/archives.php My article is always on page 16.

A good resource for anatomy is The Human Body Book.

I teach annually at the Association of Professional Piercers conferences. You don't need to be a member to attend. It is a truly amazing event and it is wonderful to network with other piercers, and there is always more to learn

I wish you the best of luck on your journey.

If you find that my website, book, or this response has been helpful, please "Like" the Facebook page for my book.

Thank you!


Elayne Angel, Author
The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing
President, Association of Professional Piercers

[email protected]


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