Tattoo Apprenticeship

Hand in glove holds red tattoo machine isolated on white background. Retro stylization


A Tattoo Apprenticeship is a training program which teaches tattoo skills, tattooing techniques, styles of tattoos, and business skills. A Tattoo Apprentice will have the opportunity to learn skills needed to work in, manage or own a tattoo shop. Below are some of the skills and training provided:

  • Proper Hygiene Practices
  • Client Intake Procedures & Documentation
  • How to Create Stencils by Hand and using iPad Pro
  • How to Prep a Client for Stencil
  • Proper Stencil Application 
  • Stencil Application Common Mistakes
  • Efficient Sanitary Station Set Up and Tear Down Practices
  • Daily Opening Tasks [mop, empty trash, check all fluid bottles and refill as necessary, fold paper towels for stencil station as needed, set up stations for first appointments, clean scrub brushes, windex glass surfaces, check stencil station supplies and tattooing supplies to ensure enough for day]
  • Proper Machine Setup and Maintenance 
  • How to Properly Hold Machine to Reduce Hand Fatigue
  • Stretching Techniques
  • Basic Lining and Shading Tattooing Techniques
  • Proper Body Positioning for Tattoos on Different Areas of the Body
  • How to Prep Completed Tattoo and Explain Proper Aftercare
  • Skin Contraindications to Look Out For

At the start of a Tattoo Apprenticeship the Apprentice interns for no pay, just tips, in exchange for their education. Neck Deep Tattoo provides needles, ink, and other supplies to the Apprentice as well as use of a clean safe environment to work in at a licensed Tattoo shop. As the Tattoo Apprentice progresses they will receive reviews by their Tattoo Artist Mentor evaluating their performance of Apprentice tasks, tattoo skills, and the volume of clients they bring in. If they are performing at a consistent satisfactory level after 2 months they will begin receiving walk-ins and after their 6 months review they will have an opportunity to begin receiving a percentage of their tattoos.

A work station with tool box and equipment like massage beds and arm rests to provide tattoo service is provided to the Apprentice. The Apprentice is required to provide their own rotary tattoo machine, power supply, foot pedal and clip cord. We recommend a rotary tattoo machine by Cheyenne or a rotary tattoo machine which accepts the needles provided by the shop, otherwise Apprentice provides their own needles for non-compatible rotary tattoo machines.

Tattoo Apprentices are required to work at least 3 days a week 1pm-11pm Wednesdays-Sundays. They must provide their mentor with the days they are available to work 1pm-11pm in advance and are encouraged to work as many of the days the shop is open but the minimum to retain the Tattoo Apprenticeship is 3 days each week.  Tattoo Apprentices must have reliable transportation and not have any issues with working in Kaneohe or being on time the days/hours they commit to.

Tattoo Apprentices must be willing to learn, be willing to receive training and constructive feedback, be willing to follow directions and be willing to work with others in a positive way. Neck Deep Tattoo has a zero tolerance for harassment, hazing, bullying, drama provokers, and ego-maniacs. Neck Deep Tattoo is a laid back shop that provides our artists and clients a positive comfortable safe experience and artists wanting to work at Neck Deep Tattoo must be a good fit for the Team.

The Tattoo Apprentice must complete at least 1 tattoo per week the first month of apprenticeship and by the end of the 2nd month must complete 3 tattoos per week.

The Tattoo Apprentice must provide their own clients for the first 2 months. If the Apprentice completes two months of Apprenticeship tasks and weekly tattoos consistently AND their tattoo work receives a approval from their Tattoo Artist Mentor the Tattoo Apprentice will be rewarded by being given walk in clients.

Tattoo Apprentices must be willing and able to perform the following tasks every work day:
– Arrive on time and perform daily opening tasks without being asked [mop, empty trash, check all fluid bottles and refill as necessary, fold paper towels for stencil station as needed, set up stations for first appointments, clean scrub brushes, windex glass surfaces, check stencil station supplies and tattooing supplies to ensure enough for day]
– Size up tattoos
– Make stencils
– Prep and stencil clients
– Watch and ask questions while Mentor Artist is tattooing to learn skills and techniques
– Draw on free time to work on art skills.
– Setup and breakdown of senior Apprentice and Tattoo Artist workstations.

Upon successful completion of the Apprenticeship training the title of Tattoo Artist will be earned. A Tattoo Artist will have a thorough understanding of ink placement, needle choice and be able to demonstrate proficient line work, color work, black and grey, and shading techniques in many different styles. a Tattoo Artist will have a thorough understanding of client intake, required record keeping, tax responsibilities, ordering supplies, shop maintenance, and how to overall operate a Tattoo Shop. Once the title of Tattoo Artist is earned the skills learned  can be used to own and operate a Tattoo Shop, continue to work as a senior artist at Neck Deep Tattoo, or work as a Tattoo Artist at another tattoo shop. A Tattoo Apprenticeship requires a commitment of at least one year or more to learn all the skills required to be a Tattoo Artist and depends on each individual person’s dedication to learning, practicing skills, and consistently efficiently producing quality tattoos.

Some Tattoo Shops charge over ten thousand dollars for Apprenticeships, may not even provide supplies, and/or don’t let their Apprentices tattoo for months or even after a year! The Neck Deep Tattoo Apprenticeship program provides the Apprentice training in exchange for the work in the shop. Apprentices at Neck Deep Tattoo are expected to practice tattoo skills within the first week on fake skin and tattoo a human within the first month. The Apprentice is only required to have a valid Hawaii tattoo license and provide their rotary tattoo machine, power supply, clip cords, and foot pedal. Neck Deep Tattoo provides everything else!


If you would like to be considered for an Apprenticeship at Neck Deep Tattoo please print out, complete, and submit the below application. You may submit your application in person at the shop or by emailing You may also stop by the shop in person to pick up an application and fill it out. A Hawaii State Tattoo License is not required to apply for a Neck Deep Tattoo Apprenticeship but it is required prior to beginning Apprenticeship if you are selected. Once your application is received you will be contacted to schedule an in person interview at the shop. You will be required to provide examples of your art skills in either a physical portfolio or digital format at the time of your interview. This can be any medium of art and does not have to be tattoo related. We want to see your artistic skills in action no matter if it is oil paintings, pencil sketches, chalk art, watercolor painting, digital abstract art, etc.

Neck Deep Tattoo Apprenticeship Application

Below are helpful links for Tattoo Apprentices considering working at Neck Deep Tattoo:

Requirements to apply for State of Hawaii Tattoo License.

New Tattoo Artist Application Form

DOH Physical Exam Form for TB & Syphilis Tests

Bloodborne Pathogens Certification Course

State of Hawaii Rules and Laws Relating to Tattoo Artists


World Health Organization Free Online Training for COVID19 Health & Safety

Protrainings COVID19 Health & Safety Online Training

Tattoos and Piercings are available:

During TIER 1 of Hawaii COVID QUARANTINE RULES we are closed.
During TIER 2 of Hawaii COVID QUARANTINE RULES by Appointment only.
During TIER 3 and TIER 4 Hawaii COVID QUARANTINE RULES by Appointment or Walk-in during the following hours:
♦️1pm-7pm Wednesdays, Thursdays Sundays
♦️1pm-8pm Fridays & Saturdays
♦️Mondays & Tuesdays by appointment only.

Nose and mouth cover required for entry.
Neck Deep Tattoo 46-178 Kahuhipa Street Kaneohe, Hawaii. Free Parking next to building. Directly across from Windward Dodge, near Windward Mall.

Call 808-200-0161 during business hours to schedule an appointment. Neck Deep also accepts appointments by text through the link below or text 808-699-8683 to send a message. Someone from the Neck Deep Tattoo Crew will get back to you as quickly as possible!