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Thread: So do you pay to be an apprentice?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Alice's Avatar
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    So do you pay to be an apprentice?

    I was recently reading a forum, and in the forum there was a thread where a tattoo artist was answering peoples question about the business. Someone asked how much is a good price range to pay for an apprenticeship, his response was:

    “DONT PAY FOR AN APPRENTICESHIP! IF YOU PAY YOU ARE GETTING SCAMMED!”

    Now…I dont have any friends who are tattoo artists, nor anyone whos really had experience in this…but are free apprenticeships common? Because every tattoo artist in my area that ive spoke with tells me itll cost around roughly 3,000$ to apprentice under them.

    Any advice/first hand experience stories with this sort of thing would be very helpful.

    Thank you!
    Current mods: 3/4 Lobes, 14g Lip, 12g Septum, 1 Tattoo.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member babypietattoo's Avatar
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    From the artists I've asked around here, I've been told you pay for any supplies used, and pay for any use of equipment/space. I mean obviously a tattoo artist wont want someone taking up their space and time for free. I've heard it swing in both directions though.
    Petra - I attack from the back, because it's easy; and I can assail while wearing very nice jewelry:
    5/8" lobes, 8g + 6g R flats, 14g R daith, 12g L/R nostrils, 2g septum, torso micro. 23hrs tattooing.
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    Senior Member Samantha_Sick's Avatar
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    From what I've heard there are 2 ways to go about apprenticing.
    #1 is the paying version. You pay for the apprenticeship and then once it's done ur free to go do whatever you want
    #2 is you work under the artist for "x" amount of time to "pay" for the apprenticeship
    Either way ur paying, either with money or your time
    Have been pierced 75 times/ currently have 32 unnatural holes in me
    78 star tattoos, lots of other tattoos/ L & R 4g conch punches / L & R 2g helix punches/ L & R 6g nostril punches/ 2 brandings / 1 cutting and flesh removal / 2 magnetic implants / 0g lip scalpelling/ secondary lobe reconstruction

  4. #4
    BAF Employee bluebananaeater's Avatar
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    Do you pay for an education at a traditional or trade school? Yes... So what's the differnce? I see it appropriate to pay the teacher for their time and any other inconvienves you may cause (time, space, materials, ect) that they otherwise would not be paying for, or possibly making money on...

  5. #5
    Senior Member David's Avatar
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    I also remember reading an article (somewhere on bme I believe) about apprenticeships. The author made a good point in stating that he (the piercer) is essentially training potential future competition by taking on an apprentice. So I think it only makes sense to at least pay to be an apprentice to make it worth their time.
    -Dave

    Currently have: 2 18g lobes, 18g left nostril, 6g septum, 2 12g vertical nipples and 6g Apadravya.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bondi's Avatar
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    - BASICALLY there are no hard and steadfast rules when it comes to apprenticeships. There are some where you stand to gain more than others, but there's more than one way to skin a cat. Anyone who insists that if it's not their way it's a scam seems rather narrow minded IMO. An apprenticeship should be viewed as an exchange; you gain knowledge and experience, and give your money or your time. YES there will be some scam artists out there, but do your homework and make sure you know what you're entering into.

    - apprenticeships that ask for no payment will often require you to work full time for them without pay. If you pay, however, your involvement need only be in a learning capacity and you should find yourself with a lot more free time and the ability to hold a seperate job on days you aren't required to be in the studio. So it should pretty much more than equal out. Make sure to ask how much involvement and how much responsibility you will be asked to take on in the studio, and weigh this against the cost. Also, of course, the more time you're willing to put into it the more you stand to gain from it.

    - the most important thing to do is to choose a good and reputable studio/tattooist, regardless of cost. Go for the very best.

    - don't be fooled by anyone who offers you a qualification. There are no recognised qualifications in this area. An apprenticeship should however be viewed as valuable work experience which will give you a huge leg up in the industry (if you work hard and prove yourself competent), but it's important to recognise that having 'completion of a tattoo apprenticeship' under your belt is not valuable in and of itself; rather the value is directly proportionate to the reputation of the studio/tattooist you work under and the reference they give based on the talent and work ethic that you have shown them, and of course the portfolio you can build during this time.

    - also you might want to ask about your employment prospects after completing the apprenticeship. Studios will often take on their apprentices afterwards but this isn't always the case. Someone who has agreed to help you find a placement elsewhere once you are ready might be considered of equal value, and then there are also those who will simply leave you to your own devices once their end of the deal has been upheld.

    There's loads more I could say but I realise I've written an essay already! Just keep your smarts about you and you'll be fine!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Alice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bondi View Post
    There's loads more I could say but I realise I've written an essay already! Just keep your smarts about you and you'll be fine!
    Thank you so much for sharing all that, if you have any more info please feel free to post or PM me if youd like. Your information has really helped me.
    Current mods: 3/4 Lobes, 14g Lip, 12g Septum, 1 Tattoo.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member chloe.faith's Avatar
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    that was so awesomely helpful haha.
    32mm lobes | 8ga nostrils | empty septum | 14ga philtrum | 14hrs tattooing
    (◕‿◕✿)

  9. #9
    Member y0ung's Avatar
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    Never posted on here before but ive been looking around and i just had to chime in on this. I'm currently an apprentice in southern NJ and i thought i would let you know that i paid over 7 grand for my apprenticeship, granted the shop is the most well known and awarded in my area. Keep in mind though that every shop/artist is different and you may find a great free oppurtunity but you also get what you pay for. Good luck, any questions feel free to ask.

  10. #10
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    I have a quick question! So when paying for an apprenticeship, whether it be $3000 or $7000 or whatever amount, does your mentor require the whole amount upfront usually? Or do you think it's common to say, pay half up front and the other half later on? Has anyone ever heard of an apprentice making regular payments? Thanks in advance, I really appreciate it!

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