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Careers and No Visible Tattoos

Posted on April 05 2018

Although tattoos have become a huge part of our popular culture there are still quite a few professions that don't allow visible tattoos. Here's a short list of some of the most common employers that either don't allow tattoos or ask you to cover them up at work:

Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare Jobs and Tattoo PolicyMany hospitals and medical offices require some piercings and tattoos be removed or covered. More traditional ear piercings are usually accepted, but large tattoos may present problems in being hired to work in certain hospitals or clinics. Tattoos are usually restricted in this field because most healthcare professionals deal directly with patients.

Police Officers and Law Enforcement

Piercings are usually ruled out due to the risk of resisting suspects being able to injure the officer. Another view is that it is unprofessional and intimidating for members of the public. Law enforcement still views tattoos as something associated with law-breakers. When booking suspects officers are required to photograph and document all of the tattoos he or she has. This is because of the stereotypical connection of tattoos being gang related, as well as making it easier to identify someone if they have changed their appearance in other ways. Despite the restrictions quite a few police officers have tattoos and have to cover them up while on duty.

Law Firms

legal profession and tattoosAnother area of law enforcement and the justice system includes attorneys and their staff. The legal profession is similar to the medical field. Like doctors and surgeons, lawyers and attorneys may have tattoos but cannot show them while at the firm or in a court room. You will definitely not see any highly visible tattoos such as neck or knuckle tattoos on a lawyer. Their support staff such as secretaries and clerks are also meant to be professional in their appearance and in most cases tattoos are not accepted. Appearance standards in the legal profession can be very strict.

Administrative Assistants and Receptionists

Major firms will likely not employ someone with visible tattoos as they often have rigid policies about excessive make-up, jewelry, nail varnish and unnatural hair colors. It is a safe assumption that facial piercings and tattoos will also be deemed unacceptable in the workplace for administrative assistants.

Financial Institutions and Banks

This includes a wide variety of careers including accountants, financial advisors, bank tellers, stock brokers etc. Tattoos and piercings are not usually seen in the banking sector, as individuals need to be seen as highly professional and trustworthy in the banking community. Even if tattoos have absolutely nothing to do with your ability to do the job they are still seen as unprofessional in the financial sector.


Teachers and Tattoos StandardsThere tends to be more leniency from public schools when compared to expensive private schools. However, they often require tattoos to be covered at all times. Their requests mostly stem from parent complaints or fear of tattoos. The areas with the most leniency are colleges and universities, day care workers and art teachers (excluding those in private schools). Much will depend on the attitude at the particular institution, as some employers that work with young children are concerned about hiring “appropriate” role models to work with children.

Hotels / Resorts

Hospitality is another field of business where it depends on which area you work in. Luxury hotels and resorts generally require their front office staff in particular to be piercing and ink free. Staff members that don’t come into contact with hotel guest might be allowed to display their tattoos but this is unusual and the dress code is usually applied to all hotel or resort staff members.


A career with the government is a no-brainer when it comes to the question of tattoo acceptance. It is frowned upon in this field for the same reason as it is in law enforcement. This area also uses the professionalism justification for often banning visible tattoos.


military tattoo policy restrictionsThe armed forces always present a contradiction when it comes to tattoos. The contradiction is that tattoos are restricted but many members of the military have visible tattoos. Quite a few Navy traditions revolve around getting tattoos when you cross the equator or sail around Cape Horn. Each branch has different rules in place.  The Air Force tends to be the most lenient when it comes to tattoos. 

Tattoos are a form of self expression and there's no doubt that many people feel strongly about their body art.  Employers can't discriminate based on race, age or gender but they can enact strict appearance policies. Much depends on the specific job you have an how your employer feels about visible tattoos.  However, you can bet that getting a face or neck tattoo will make getting a job in specific professions like law enforcement or banking much tougher. What's confusing is that we want our rock stars to have tattoos but not our lawyers or bankers. 

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