How do you learn to pierce well?

We’re contacted about this constantly.

The good news is that the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) recently established guidelines for apprenticeships. These guidelines establish fundamentals that you should learn, an outline of how many hours and procedures you should expect to observe and then be supervised performing, as well as establishing criteria for potential mentors.

Apprenticeships are a lot of work for both the trainee and the mentor.

If we’re going to offer training to a candidate, here’s what we would like to see:

  • An age over 18. Due to the “mature” nature of our business, we can’t offer apprenticeships to anyone under 18.
  • Dedication to receiving safe piercings. We need to know you’re not only serious about being a piercer, but about being a GOOD piercer. That means you’ve sought out quality experiences for yourself and your friends, most likely by being a regular client of our shop.
  • Dedication to learning. By taking it upon yourself to receive training in CPR, First Aid, BBP as well as classes in Anatomy/Physiology/Histology, Infection Control Practices, Sterilizer Technology, Biomaterials Science, etc, it shows us that you really care about understanding the fundamentals. These skills and knowledge are the building blocks upon which your apprenticeship will be built. We can’t start any hands on training until you have this knowledge.
  •  An understanding of the history of our craft. We’ve come a LONG way since 1992, but it’s still important to know how we got here. Read up on old PFIQ issues, the Point articles, Modern Primitives and the like to get a better picture of the roots of the industry.
  • A good work ethic. How fast you move through your apprenticeship and if you ultimately complete your training are largely up to you. If you aren’t willing to put in the hard work to learn the necessary skills, you’ll never make it to “piercer” status. It’s up to you to do your “homework” and practice boring things like properly putting on gloves until you get it right. We want to see that you have a history of completing projects on your own.
  • A support system. Until your apprenticeship moves into it’s later stages, you’ll get very few paid hours at the shop. You’ll need another paying job or some other way to support yourself while you’re learning.
  • Good customer service and communications skills. Many of you are more comfortable communicating by texts messages than anything else, but you still need to be able to answer the phone or reply to an email in an intelligent and professional way. You’ll need to handle all sorts of customers and answer their questions in a mature manner while you’re at the shop. Sometimes the most important thing to know is what you don’t know, so you can get your mentor involved before you give someone incorrect information.

What is expected of an apprentice

  • You will be expected to work as a counter person at least 2 days a week. This is a win-win situation for both you and Piercing Experience. Your shifts behind the counter give you plenty of experience with customers, let you learn EVERYTHING you can about jewelry, and give you plenty of time to learn all of our policies and procedures. The benefit to us is that we know we’ll have someone behind the counter who is really enthusiastic!
  • You will have “school days” as well. While there is plenty of things to learn behind the counter, your duties there can make it hard to watch procedures and learn move of the actual mechanics. There will be shadowing of procedures and other learning opportunities.
  • Initially, you’ll have a lot of “homework”. There’s a lot of background information that you’ll be responsible for learning. It will mean reading a lot of textbooks and scholarly journals at night, then discussing with your mentor when you’re in the shop. And yes, you will be tested!
  • Once you’ve learned the background information and can demonstrate basic asepsis, you will start to work hands on with clients. The first procedures will be helping change jewelry in healed piercings, then in unhealed piercings.
  • Performing actual piercings is the last step. You’ll need very good friends to practice on!

Do you meet all of these qualifications? Submit an application.