Body Piercer jobs(Also known as Piercer, Body modification artist)
Body piercing is any process which involves making a cut, incision or puncture of the skin, cartilage or other body part for the purposes of body modification. Most body piercing refers to the process of making an incision in the skin for the purposes of wearing jewellery. Body piercing has played an important role in cultural and religious practices for millennia. It's a practice that has transcended geographical boundaries and has been practised in almost all cultures. As an art form, it's not without controversy and some religions consider the modification of the body, which ultimately remains the property of God, a sin. In ancient culture piercing was, however, seen as a deeply spiritual practice and is still a means of expression for many individuals. The role of the piercer in Western society is to puncture skin in a healthy and safe manner to ensure that infection is avoided. There is a wide range of piercing types and body modifications undertaken by body piercers. While most of us are familiar with the more traditional practices of ear and nose piercing, body piercers may also practice more extreme art forms such as scarification. Practising body piercers will be asked to engage in a range of body modifications. Most piercings are temporary and can be removed and in this respect piercing is more temporary than other body modification practices such as tattooing. Common piercings include:
- Antitragus/ Tragus: The piercing in the ear.
- Body: Any piercing of a body part including the navel or genitals.
- Bridge: Piercing between the eyes.
- Conch: Piercing of the inner surface of the ear cartilage.
- Labret: Piercing of the lips.
- Septum: Piercing of the nostrils or nose.
- Tongue: Piercing of the tongue.
SalaryMany piercers are self-employed and salaries vary widely depending on the stage of your career and whether you own the studio. Summer months are traditionally the busiest.
- A piercer starts on around £15,000 per annum.
- An experienced piercer may earn between £18,000 and £30,000 per annum.
- A piercer owning his/ her own business and employing others can earn in excess of £50,000 per annum.
ResponsibilitiesA piercer's daily duties would include the following:
- Cleaning and sterilising equipment and work areas. The key piece of equipment is an autoclave which sterilises all equipment.
- Updating health records including spore checks on equipment.
- Preparing body parts for piercing including sterilisation and cleaning.
- Meeting with clients, talking through the process and aftercare.
- Recommending products needed for aftercare.
- Actual piercing, including the use of needles, piercing guns and other specialist equipment.
- Keeping up to date with the latest health and safety procedures.
QualificationsThe body piercing industry in the UK is currently unregulated and as such there are no pre-requisites to becoming a piercer. There are therefore no recognised qualifications. However, piercers will still have a legal duty of care and paramount to this is health and safety. Piercing studios will be investigated by local government offices to maintain compliance with legal standards. It is advisable to contact your local health and safety office prior to commencing work, particularly if setting up your own studio, as they will be able to advise you of best practices. You will as a minimum be expected to have a knowledge of:
- Requirements of environmental health standards.
- Equipment hygiene and sterilisation, including how to reduce the risk of infection and inflammation.
- How to use equipment safely and hygienically.
- Body piercing technical skills e.g. types of piercing, risks to the body, potential allergic reactions and piercing rejections and details of the potential effects of using different piercing materials and jewellery.
- Pre and post piercing care.
- First aid.
- A steady hand and good eyes.
- A love of alternative culture.
- Patience and dedication.
- Good interpersonal skills.
- Attention to detail.
Working ConditionsBody piercers are often self-employed and will work from a studio or salon which must be registered with the local council. Professional studios will have stringent cleaning processes and dedicated work and preparation spaces. You will likely work normal office hours of 9-5 although some studios may open later and close later. Some studios also stay open later one or two days a week. The working week is likely to include Saturdays. Single piercings are not particularly time consuming but you will need to be able to concentrate for short periods and spend time with clients explaining the risks and aftercare procedures. Due to the semi-permanent nature and risk of infection it is imperative that any piercing is completed in a controlled and hygienic environment.
ExperienceIt will be highly beneficial to gain experience at an established studio. Positions as apprentices are available and most studios will be prepared to take you on provided that you are committed and enthusiastic. Due to the nature of the industry the majority of jobs involve getting to know people and immersing yourself in the culture.
EmployersThere are no major employers as such and the best way of looking for work is to look through your local telephone directory for practising studios and approach them direct.
Russell Ashworth - Practising body piercer