FIND PERSONALIZED JOBS
Sign up to Zippia and discover your career options with your personalized career search.

Log In

Log In to Save

Sign Up to Save

Sign Up to Dismiss

or

The email and password you specified are invalid. Please, try again.

Email and password are mandatory

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Sign Up

reset password

Enter your email address and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Back to Log In

FIND
PERSONALIZED JOBS

Become A Painter

Where do you want to work?

To get started, tell us where you'd like to work.
Sorry, we can't find that. Please try a different city or state.

Working As A Painter

  • Getting Information
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Repetitive

  • $39,695

    Average Salary

What Does A Painter Do

Painters apply paint, stain, and coatings to walls and ceilings, buildings, bridges, and other structures.

Duties

Painters typically do the following:

  • Cover floors, furniture, and trim with dropcloths, tarps, and masking tape, to protect surfaces
  • Remove and replace pictures and outlet and switch covers
  • Fill holes and cracks with putty or plaster
  • Prepare surfaces by scraping, wire brushing, or sanding to a smooth finish
  • Calculate the area to be painted and the amount of paint needed
  • Apply primers or sealers so the paint will adhere
  • Install scaffolding and set up ladders
  • Apply paint or other finishes, using handbrushes, rollers, or sprayers

Applying paint to interior walls makes surfaces attractive and vibrant. In addition, paints and other sealers protect exterior surfaces from damage caused by weather, sunlight, and pollution.

Because there are several ways to apply paint, workers must be able to choose the proper tool for each job, such as the correct roller, power sprayer, or brush. Choosing the right tool typically depends on the surface to be covered and the characteristics of the material applied.

A few painters—mainly industrial—use special safety equipment. For example, painting in confined spaces, such as the inside of a large storage tank, requires workers to wear self-contained suits to avoid inhaling toxic fumes. On some projects they may operate abrasive blasters to remove old coatings, which may require the use of additional clothing and protective eyewear. When painting bridges, ships, tall buildings, or oil rigs, painters may work from scaffolding, bosun’s chairs, and harnesses in order to reach work areas.

The following are examples of types of painters:

Construction painters apply paints, stains, and coatings to interior and exterior walls, new buildings, and other structural surfaces.

Maintenance painters remove old finishes and apply paints, stains, and coatings later in a structure’s life. Some painters specialize in painting or coating industrial structures, such as bridges and oil rigs, to prevent corrosion. These workers are sometimes called industrial painters.

Artisan painters specialize in creating distinct finishes by using one of many decorative techniques. One such technique is adding glaze for increased depth and texture. Other common techniques include sponging, distressing, rag rolling, color blocking, and faux finishing.

Show More

Show Less

How To Become A Painter

Most painters learn their trade on the job. No formal education is typically required to enter the occupation.

Education

There are no specific education requirements to become a painter, but high school courses in mathematics, shop, and blueprint reading can be useful. Also, some 2-year technical schools offer courses through apprenticeships affiliated with union and contractor organizations. Credits earned as part of an apprenticeship program usually count toward an associate’s degree.

Training

Most painters learn their trade on the job. They typically begin by doing simple tasks, such as helping carry materials and laying drop cloths, and then move on to more complicated tasks, such as priming surfaces to be finished.

Some painters learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship, although a few local unions have additional time requirements. For each year of the typical program, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. Through technical instruction, apprentices learn how to: use and care for tools and equipment, prepare surfaces, mix and match paint, and read blueprints. In addition, they may learn about application techniques, the characteristics of different finishes, including wood finishing, and safety practices. 

After completing an apprenticeship program, painters are considered journey workers and may perform tasks on their own.

Unions and contractors sponsor apprenticeship programs. Some apprenticeship programs have preferred entry for veterans. The basic qualifications to enter an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Physically able to do the work

Although the vast majority of workers learn their trade on the job or through an apprenticeship, some contractors offer their own training program for new workers. The National Association of Home Builders through the Home Builders Institute offer Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT), which covers information for eight construction trades, including painting.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Those interested in industrial painting can earn several certifications from NACE International Institute or from the Society for Protective Coatings. The most common certification, from both groups, is called Protective Coating Specialist. Courses range from 1 day to several weeks, depending on the certification program and specialty. Applicants also must meet work experience requirements.

Important Qualities

Color vision. Painters must be able to identify and differentiate between subtle changes in color.

Customer-service skills. Workers who paint the inside and outside of residential homes often interact with clients. They must communicate with the client, listen to what the client wants, and help select colors and application techniques that satisfy the client.

Detail oriented. Painters must be precise when creating or painting edges, because minor flaws can be noticeable.

Physical stamina. Painters should be able to stay physically active for many hours, because they spend most of the day standing with their arms extended while climbing ladders.

Physical strength. Painters must lift and move numerous items during the course of a job. For example, a 5-gallon bucket of paint weighs over 40 pounds.

Show More

Show Less

Painter jobs

NO RESULTS

Aw snap, no jobs found.

Add To My Jobs

Average Length of Employment
Ornamental Painter 6.8 years
Shading Painter 6.2 years
Sign Painter 5.8 years
Auto Painter 5.5 years
Journeyman Painter 5.3 years
Picture Painter 5.3 years
Painter Foreman 5.2 years
Bridge Painter 4.8 years
Spray Painter 4.5 years
Automotive Painter 4.4 years
Aircraft Painter 4.3 years
Senior Painter 4.0 years
Oil Painter 4.0 years
Lead Painter 3.8 years
Automobile Painter 3.7 years
Finish Painter 3.6 years
Set Painter 3.5 years
Carpenter/Painter 3.5 years
Body Painter 3.5 years
House Painter 3.3 years
Blaster/Painter 3.0 years
Painter 3.0 years
Industrial Painter 2.9 years
Hand Painter 2.9 years
Metal Painter 2.9 years
Interior Painter 2.8 years
Roof Painter 2.8 years
Plate Painter 2.8 years
Vehicle Painter 2.8 years
Production Painter 2.8 years
Shipyard Painter 2.7 years
Facilities Painter 2.7 years
Powder Painter 2.7 years
Design Painter 2.7 years
Roller Painter 2.6 years
Mural Painter 2.5 years
Furniture Painter 2.5 years
Buildings Painter 2.5 years
Landscape Painter 2.4 years
Touch Up Painter 2.2 years
Painter Apprentice 1.9 years
Bottom Painter 1.8 years
Painter Assistant 1.8 years
Painter Helper 1.7 years
Brush Painter 1.4 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 10.6%
Cook 6.3%
Manager 4.8%
Driver 4.0%
Supervisor 3.9%
Owner 3.7%
Welder 3.7%
Technician 3.5%
Server 3.5%
Top Employers After
Cashier 6.0%
Owner 5.8%
Driver 5.5%
Welder 4.8%
Technician 4.7%
Cook 4.7%
Supervisor 4.0%
Manager 4.0%
Carpenter 3.4%

Painter Demographics

Gender

Male

83.6%

Female

15.2%

Unknown

1.1%
Ethnicity

White

79.6%

Hispanic or Latino

12.9%

Asian

5.6%

Unknown

1.3%

Black or African American

0.5%
Show More
Languages Spoken

Spanish

70.4%

French

7.1%

Polish

3.6%

German

3.5%

Japanese

2.7%

Italian

1.7%

Carrier

1.7%

Arabic

1.4%

Portuguese

1.3%

Russian

1.1%

Venetian

1.1%

Korean

0.8%

Chinese

0.6%

Dakota

0.6%

Mandarin

0.5%

Greek

0.5%

Czech

0.5%

Hebrew

0.3%

Romanian

0.3%

Khmer

0.3%
Show More

Painter Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.4%

Universal Technical Institute

7.1%

Tidewater Community College

6.1%

Kaplan University

5.7%

Kirkwood Community College

4.9%

Liberty University

4.9%

Vincennes University

4.8%

Ball State University

4.8%

Lansing Community College

4.4%

Grand Valley State University

4.1%

The Academy

4.1%

West Virginia University

4.1%

Ashford University

4.0%

Savannah College of Art and Design

4.0%

University of Vermont

3.8%

Thomas Nelson Community College

3.8%

Ohio State University

3.8%

Baton Rouge Community College

3.7%

Central Washington University

3.7%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

3.7%
Show More
Majors

Business

19.6%

Automotive Technology

8.9%

General Studies

8.4%

Fine Arts

7.6%

Criminal Justice

7.1%

Graphic Design

5.6%

Precision Metal Working

5.2%

Computer Science

4.0%

Psychology

3.9%

Communication

3.0%

Accounting

3.0%

Education

3.0%

Electrical Engineering

3.0%

Liberal Arts

2.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.8%

Nursing

2.6%

Management

2.6%

Kinesiology

2.6%

Heating And Air Conditioning

2.2%

Biology

2.1%
Show More
Degrees

Other

45.4%

Bachelors

25.3%

Associate

14.6%

Certificate

8.4%

Diploma

3.0%

Masters

2.7%

License

0.4%

Doctorate

0.3%
Show More
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Painter Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Matte Painter Pacific Data Images, Inc. Redwood City, CA Apr 01, 2013 $115,000
Matte Painter Pacific Data Images, Inc. Redwood City, CA Apr 01, 2011 $110,000
Background Painter Nickelodeon Animation Studios Inc. Burbank, CA Aug 29, 2016 $87,256
Matte Painter Dreamworks Animation LLC Glendale, CA Jun 25, 2012 $86,318
Matte Painter Pacific Data Images, Inc. Redwood City, CA Apr 01, 2011 $80,266
Painter Creative Engineering, Inc. Islandia, NY Jul 22, 2016 $66,435
Scenic Painter Vision Scenery Corporation, Inc. Selma, CA Nov 17, 2016 $66,310
Painter DBD Contracting, LLC Freeport, NY Aug 21, 2015 $63,700
Painter JSB Enterprises DBA Harrington New York, NY Jan 27, 2015 $60,299
Painter JSB Enterprises DBA Harrington New York, NY Jun 07, 2011 $59,062
Painter Alchemy Services Inc. Hackensack, NJ May 11, 2011 $58,436
Painter Avid Management Inc. Somerville, MA May 14, 2015 $57,117
Painter Harinc Corp Medford, MA Oct 14, 2015 $57,117
Bodyshop Bodyman/Painter Raiford Motor, Inc. Port Arthur, TX Oct 26, 2016 $54,000
Painters R.C Painting Nantucket, MA May 04, 2016 $44,766
Painter Palmer Wellington Painting Nantucket, MA May 16, 2016 $44,766
Painter Hans Dalgaard Painting Inc. Nantucket, MA Apr 01, 2016 $44,766
Painter Jebco Enterprise, LLC Hamburg, NJ Jan 04, 2011 $43,827
Painter Beverly 84 LLC Dover, NJ May 31, 2011 $43,827
Painter Diamond Paper Peelers Wharton, NJ Sep 09, 2011 $43,827
Painter J & L Painting Contractors, Inc. Roselle, NJ Sep 28, 2015 $43,410
Painter S & S Painting and Coatings, Inc. Castro Valley, CA Sep 02, 2011 $43,243
Painter Load Trail, LLC TX Sep 01, 2014 $33,392 -
$39,653
Painter Load Trail, LLC TX Nov 01, 2014 $33,392 -
$39,653
Painter R.C. Painting Inc. MA Mar 15, 2013 $32,891
Painter Hans Dalgaard Painting Inc. MA Mar 15, 2013 $32,891
Painter Load Trail, LLC TX Sep 01, 2014 $32,703 -
$39,653
Painter Archive Finishing LLC Hailey, ID Nov 01, 2014 $32,119
Painter GAE Mi Construction LLC Roswell, GA Oct 28, 2015 $32,000
Painter Persona, Inc. Watertown, SD Apr 01, 2015 $31,868

No Results

To get more results, try adjusting your search by changing your filters.

Show More

Top Skills for A Painter

PrepUnevenSurfacesDrywallRepairSandSafetyProceduresPaintingHousesJobSiteExteriorPaintingCustomerServicePuttyKnivesDropClothsInterior/ExteriorHandToolsPaintingEquipmentExteriorSurfacesCoverSurfacesNewSurfacesNewConstructionResidentialPaintingElectricSwitchHvlp

Show More

Top Painter Skills

  1. Prep Uneven Surfaces
  2. Drywall Repair
  3. Sand
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Use of putty, wood filler, spackling and caulks interior and exterior to prep uneven surfaces and joints.
  • Paint with airless sprayer, conventional sprayer, brush, roll, drywall repair and ceiling texture.
  • Prepared locations for painting including sanding, masking, and use of drop cloths.
  • Prepare surfaces, maintain clean work areas, promote a safe work environment by ensuring established safety procedures are followed.
  • Worked with a group of entrepreneurial college students cleaning and painting houses.

Top Painter Employers

Show More

Painter Videos

To Be a Painter

Day in the Life of a Line Painter

The Prince and the Coachline Painter

×