Becoming a piercer requires training from an experienced, professional piercer. Apprenticeships are widely recommended by the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) and most reputable body art facilities offer them. A paid apprenticeship will also help to ensure that the apprentice is able to work full time and can afford to focus on their piercing career.

APP recommends that an apprentice receive 100 hours of documented observation and instruction by a piercer. This is an ideal amount of time to fully learn a variety of modern piercing techniques and locations. Observation should include actual piercing execution, jewelry insertion and retraction as well as proper sharps disposal and hand washing protocol. It is also important that the mentor provides instructions on marking, skin prep and jewelry selection to allow the apprentice to develop their own style. In addition, mentors should instruct their apprentice on how to best educate clients and answer any questions that may arise during the piercing procedure.

Many states and individual piercing studios require professional piercers to complete health and safety training and pass a test in order to gain a license to practice. These certifications include CPR, a blood-borne pathogens course and sometimes a basic anatomy class.

Some body piercing practitioners and parlors also choose to be IBMS Certified Members of the International Board of Medicine and Surgery (IBMS). In addition to proving their commitment to safety, professionalism and education, IBMS Certification gives them access to a wealth of resources for continuing educational opportunities that they can apply to their craft.