OLR Research Report

November 17, 2004




By: John Kasprak, Senior Attorney

You asked if physicians must oversee tattoo parlors in Connecticut and if so, must that physician be licensed in this state.

State law requires that a Connecticut-licensed physician supervise those engaging in tattooing.

Under Connecticut law, tattooing can be performed by a (1) physician licensed in Connecticut; (2) a Connecticut-licensed advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), working under the direction of a Connecticut-licensed physician; (3) a Connecticut-licensed registered nurse (RN) or physician assistant working under the supervision, control and responsibility of a Connecticut licensed physician; or (4) a technician providing service under the supervision of a Connecticut licensed physician (see CGS 19a-92a; Public Health Code, 19a-92a-1). The law defines “tattooing” as marking or coloring, in an indelible manner, the skin of any person by pricking in coloring matter or by producing scars (CGS 19a-92a(a)(5)).

Department of Public Health (DPH) regulations specify that a physician supervising a technician engaged in tattooing must provide explicit instructions and clinical training to the technician concerning tattooing and sanitation procedures. The supervising physician must document the technician's knowledge and clinical competence in an annual review and make the documentation available to DPH and the local health director upon request. Before supervising the tattooing technician, the physician must conduct and document an on-site inspection of the technician's practice site to ensure that appropriate sanitary procedures are in place. Inspections must be done at least annually or more frequently as necessary to ensure clients' health and safety. Again, documentation of such inspections must be available to DPH and the local health director upon request. The physician cannot delegate the inspection responsibility, which must be performed while the technician is on-site (Public Health Code, 19a-92a-1(d)).

Additionally, the supervising physician must provide written information to the technician specifying situations in which medical consultation or referral is required. The physician must be available to the technician for direct communication either in person or by telephone, radio, or other telecommunication at all times that the technician is engaged in tattooing (Code, 19a-92a-1(d)).

The law prohibits the tattooing of an unemancipated minor under 18 years old without the permission of the minor's parent or guardian (CGS 19a-92a(c)).

Finally, the law provides that any person who violates these provisions faces a fine of up to $100, imprisonment of up to 90 days, or both (CGS 19a-92a(e)).