Tattoo and Body Art

The Louisville Metro Public Health & Wellness Department (LMPHW) regulates, certifies and inspects all body art studios, including tattoo, permanent make-up, body and ear piercing.   Recently tattoos and body piercing have become mainstream and are viewed by enthusiasts as expressive forms of body art.  Louisville Metro has observed a gradual increase in certified studios over the past 10 years.

As of February 2019, Kentucky requires all tattoo artists and piercers to complete a bloodborne pathogen class each year.

What courses can be used to meet the Bloodborne Pathogen training requirement?

Any course, either online or in person, that is OSHA compliant and provides opportunity for students to pose questions is sufficient for tattoo artists and piercers. Online training companies should be able to verify whether or not students have access to instructors for subject-matter questions. Many list phone or email support for student questions as part of their curriculum.

Below is a short list of compliant online training courses. This is not a complete list; always feel free to contact KY Food Safety at 502-564-7181 if you are unsure that a course meets CFR requirements.

Tattoo artist


Fee Schedule

Click here to view the fee schedule for studios and artist certifications. Permits/Certifications expire December 31, a late fee will be added if payment not received by January 31.


Regulations and Statutes


Tattoo and/or Body Art Studio Certification

There are requirements that must be met before a tattoo and/or body art studio certification can be issued. Call 502-574-6655 to schedule an appointment for an opening inspection.


New Studio

All new studios must have a certification to operate. All tattoo artist and body piercers must have a registration from the local health department prior to commencing operations.  Items needed to open new studios:

  • Plans submitted and approved
  • Opening inspection
  • Pay permit


Ear-Piercing Studio

  • Owners must obtain a studio certification from LMPHW prior to operation
  • The annual studio certification fee is $200.


Mobile Studio

A mobile unit is an establishment on wheels or otherwise mobile. Permitted units pay one yearly fee and may operate statewide. Mobile units may not remain at one location longer than 14 consecutive days.  


Temporary Studio

All temporary tattoo and body piercing studios must have a certification to operate.  All temporary tattoo artist and body piercers must have a registration from the local health department prior to commencing operations. Studio registrations are valid, if the establishment complies with regulations, for up to seven days at one location within a 90-day period.

Artist Registration

The Body Art Program registers tattoo artists and body and ear piercers. Anyone engaged in the practice of tattooing or body/ear piercing in Louisville Metro must be registered/certified by LMPHW.


  1. $100 precertification check or money order payable to:
    Louisville Metro Government
    Attn: Environmental Health Services
    400 E. Gray St.
    Louisville, KY 40202 
  2. Application filled out by artist. Note: Tattoo and body piercers must be 18 years of age. Ear piercers must be 18 years of age.
  3. Must submit copy of driver’s license or photo ID.
  4. Must be working at a registered studio
  5. Must provide proof of current Bloodborne Pathogens training (Sent to [email protected])

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