If you are a tattoo artist, or a body modification artist – or you are thinking of becoming one – you are probably aware that to get a tattoo license most states require a bloodborne pathogen certificate from a reputable training provider with a tattoo specific BBP course.
The second most common state requirement is CPR/AED certification training. Many states also want First Aid, so you may have to actually get three certifications in order to apply for your tattooing license.
It can seem daunting trying to get these certifications, but they are very important for the safety of yourself, your artists and your clients, not to mention the reputation and credibility of your tattoo studio.
What is CPR certification for tattoo artists?
- CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which is a lifesaving technique that can help restore blood flow and oxygen to someone who has stopped breathing or whose heart has stopped beating.
- There is no special CPR training for tattoo artists, unlike for BBP where a specific bloodborne pathogen certification for tattoo artists course must be taken. For CPR any course from a reliable provider, in-person or online should be fine.
- CPR certification is a verifiable credential that proves that you have completed a training course and learned how to perform CPR correctly and safely. In the USA tattoo artists would usually look for a course that follows American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines.
CPR certification is usually valid for two years, after which you need to renew it by re-taking the same CRP course, taking another course or passing an exam. The two year expiry period is based on best practices for retraining and knowledge retention.
Why do tattoo artists need CPR certification?
- In some states, tattoo artists are required to hold a CPR certification in addition to any other licensing or permitting requirements.
- This is because tattooing involves the use of needles, ink, and breaks the surface of the skin, which can involve some risks of infection, bleeding, allergic reactions, or other complications. In the event that these risks escalate into a cardiac incident, or someone else in your studio is simply unlucky enough to experience a sudden cardiac event there, your knowledge of CPR could help save a life.
- Having a CPR certification can help tattoo artists to be prepared for any medical emergencies that may occur in their studio, and to provide first aid to their clients or coworkers until professional help arrives.
How to get CPR certification in-person
- To earn a CPR certification for tattoo artists, you must successfully complete a certified first aid course at a training facility, hospital, or health care facility.
- The course will cover the practical and theoretical aspects of CPR, such as how to assess the situation, how to perform chest compressions and rescue breaths, how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED), and how to handle choking, drowning, or cardiac arrest cases.
- The course will also teach you about the legal and ethical issues of providing CPR, such as obtaining consent, avoiding liability, and respecting confidentiality.
- The course will usually take a few hours to complete, and you will have to pass a written test and a skills demonstration to get your certification.
Where to find in-class CPR courses?
- There are many organizations that offer CPR courses across the USA, such as the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, the National Safety Council, or the American Safety and Health Institute.
- You can search for a CPR course near you by visiting their websites, calling their toll-free numbers, or simply searching for ‘CPR near me’ on any search engine.
Online CPR courses
Just like your bloodborne pathogen certificate you can now train online for CPR and AED certification.
Online CPR courses allow you to learn at your own pace and take the test online.
There are quite literally thousands of online CPR training providers, but do be careful, as many simply offer cut and pasted texts from the AHA or the Red Cross on a webpage and then charge you for a certification – which may well be rejected.
This is because some states may not accept online courses as valid for tattoo licensing purposes. Therefore, you should check with your state’s regulations before enrolling in an online course.
Other Tattoo Studio safety requirements
A tattoo studio can be an extremely hazardous environment, in addition to the risk of human blood and OPIM exposure you also have to maintain a sterile and clean environment, which is a lot more difficult in a studio open to the public than it is in, for example, a healthcare clinic.
OSHA seeks to address these key dangers in its bloodborne pathogen standard. For a more detailed look at the standard relating to tattoo studios and body art read this article.