How does one learn to pierce well?
Legitimate credentials for piercers other than medical degrees have not been officially established. The standards and guidelines below may be used as criteria for safe practice.
Courses in piercing we have reviewed do not offer a reasonable cost/benefit ratio. Valid courses, seminars, schools or training programs for body piercing seem unavailable at this time, with little more benefit than to serve as a primer for supervised on-the-job training or apprenticeship.
No college, trade school or university has shown any legitimate interest in providing courses of instruction specific to body piercing with acceptable curriculum other than comparable training for surgical technicians. With the ability to demonstrate that type of safety knowledge, one might get a position at a studio for on- the-job supervised training. Then again, one might simply go ahead with nursing or surgical tech work and make a considerably greater wage, with benefits.
A person could study to be a medical/surgical technician through a local college. Learn appropriate chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, to be able to apply it in your practice. Once you have that set of principles and skills, we can talk shop and move ahead. Having more educated colleagues will help the piercing field improve as it grows. We learn best through constant interaction, and each develop different solutions to issues that we face together.
Anyone could learn to pierce by imitation - monkey see, monkey do - but the principles should be learned on a much more fundamental level before a novice does anything that could harm another person. Then make the move to the hands-on practical application of the learning process that should be supervised.
Technology is forcing us into professional status whether we want to be professionals or not. One thing that distinguishes a professional from a craftsperson is knowledge of theory, the underlying principles that make the craft work.
A craft is learned by emulation: watching a master perform and then imitating that person. A profession is learned from first principles so that when things change, the professional understands the changes and adjusts techniques to fit.
Philip Meyer, Knight Chair in Journalism, UNC Chapel Hill