Doctor with tattoos on his right arm

Have you heard of stories about professionals being denied a position or worse, a promotion, just because of the tattoos on their skin? Maybe it was due to an official policy an institution has against tattoos in the workplace or it might be due to someone’s personal views on a person’s appearance.


With healthcare professionals, most employee handbooks have a section regarding piercings and yes, tattoos. In rare cases, certain hospital jobs are only available to people with no tattoos. In general, however, most medical institutions apply minor restrictions that only prohibit offensive and/or excessive tattoos.


Tattoos are becoming more and more accepted and while this is true, not every employer welcomes their presence. Prejudices still exist and the law is undoubtedly on the employer’s side. The number of tattooed professionals is rising.


Here are some statistics about tattoos in the workplace:

  • 76% of employees feel piercings and tattoos hurt job interview chances
  • 73% of employers say they would hire staff with visible tattoos
  • 6% of tattooed people say they would not hire someone with visible tattoos
  • Only 4% of pierced or tattooed people say they have actually faced discrimination at their current jobs

As the popularity of tattooed people increases, most organizations are now responding by implementing quite flexible policies as well as less restrictions in terms of tattooed individuals. Healthcare professionals do not face as much scrutiny regarding their appearance compared to other members of the corporate world.



There is currently no nationally accepted policy concerning piercings and tattoos in the workplace. With that said, unwritten rules and formal restrictions vary greatly from hospital to hospital. Most institutions accept people with a little bit of visible tattoos, given that they are not offensive.


Non-visible tattoos are almost always permitted. If your tattoos is not exposed or it can be easily covered, you will rarely experience problems with the upper management – even if they know about your tattoos. Full sleeves and other excessive body ink that are visible are not always accepted, but in some institutions are tolerated.


Facial tattoos, on the other hand, along with other offensive tattoos that are visible are often prohibited – even if the medical institution has no official policy regarding the subject. Protecting the professional image of the organization always comes first. Chances are, such cases might be viewed in a negative light due to social stigma.


So, unless you go overboard with your choices in tattoos, you will likely find a healthcare job that lets you enjoy some freedom of expression.

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