A Painter prepares and paints walls and surfaces. As a painter, you will clean and tape the job site, covering up furniture or surfaces you wish to protect from damage. You will prep scaffoldings for buildings, carry out minor repairs, apply plaster to fill cracks and holes, cover fixtures, and scrape off old paint. You might apply primers, solutions, or sealer on the walls of rooms, buildings, or other structures before going in with wallpaper or paint on the walls.

You will need to blend paint, oil, and other materials to achieve the desired vision of your client and use the necessary tools to efficiently apply a durable coating to the surfaces in question.

You have to be able to follow orders and manage your time efficiently, as well as carry out the necessary logistical arrangements such as acquiring and transporting your tools and materials.

What Does a Painter Do

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

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How To Become a Painter

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

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Painter Career Paths

Average Salary for a Painter

Painters in America make an average salary of $42,339 per year or $20 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $59,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $30,000 per year.
Average Painter Salary
$42,339 Yearly
$20.36 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?

How To Become a Painter
How To Become a Painter Career Overview

States With The Most Painter Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active painter jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where painters earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Painter Jobs By State

Painter Education

Painter Majors

18.2 %

Painter Degrees

High School Diploma

49.3 %


18.3 %


13.8 %

Top Skills For a Painter

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.8% of painters listed ladders on their resume, but soft skills such as color vision and customer-service skills are important as well.

  • Ladders, 12.8%
  • Coats, 9.0%
  • Safety Procedures, 7.5%
  • Scaffolding, 6.8%
  • Caulking, 6.1%
  • Other Skills, 57.8%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Painter Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Painter templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Painter resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Painter Demographics

Painter Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among painters, 13.8% of them are women, while 86.2% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among painters is White, which makes up 61.3% of all painters.

  • The most common foreign language among painters is Spanish at 74.0%.

Online Courses For Painter That You May Like

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Best States For a Painter

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a painter. The best states for people in this position are New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, and New York. Painters make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $56,758. Whereas in Massachusetts and California, they would average $55,761 and $54,515, respectively. While painters would only make an average of $51,997 in New York, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Jersey

Total Painter Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Wisconsin

Total Painter Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Pennsylvania

Total Painter Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Painters

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Top Painter Employers

Most Common Employers For Painter

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Independent Contractor$47,550$22.8639
3Northrop Grumman$47,119$22.6546
4General Dynamics$46,637$22.4243
5BAE Systems$44,306$21.3066
6Smith Painting & Services$43,633$20.9831
7Tradesmen International$42,355$20.36417
8Finishing Touch$42,263$20.3232
9Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization$42,206$20.2946

Painter Videos

Becoming a Painter FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Become A Painter?

It takes 2 years of professional experience to become a painter. That is the time it takes to learn specific painter skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education.

Where Do Painters Work?

Painters may work in a commercial setting, such as an office, factory, or store. They may also work in a residential setting, such as a home, apartment, or condo. Some painters work with other artists, such as sculptors, while others work alone.

Do Painters Get Paid Well?

No, painters do not get paid well overall. There are painters as laborers, and there are painters as artists. Either way, their pay varies significantly.

The highest-paid painters as artists can earn millions on a single piece. According to a report by NBC News, a piece by social activist and artist Banksy sold in 2018 for $1.4M. After the artwork failed to self-destroy after being purchased, an act of social commentary by Banksy, the half-destroyed art sold again but this time for over $25M.

Is Being A Painter A Good Career?

Yes, being a painter can be a good career. But, this is typically only the case for painters working for themselves. Independent painters usually have high levels of autonomy in dynamic and rewarding work.

What Are Careers In Painting?

Art restoration specialists, gallery managers, and paint decorators are careers in painting. Here are descriptions of each of these careers and others in painting:

  • Art restoration specialist

    Art restoration specialists are professionals in the art industry who repair and restore damaged or aged paintings.

    Some common tasks of the profession include maintaining the quality of paintings through restorative techniques, documenting all strategies employed for restoring a painting, collaborating with museums and art galleries, and maintaining professional relationships with art suppliers.

    Most art restoration specialists have a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting or a bachelor's degree in art restoration. Many also break into their career through apprenticeship programs. These are offered at many museums and other fine art painting-related facilities.

  • Gallery manager

    Art gallery managers maintain and often create art shows that include paintings at their gallery. Painters become gallery managers because they have the skills and eyes needed to spot talented painters and innovative paintings.

    Other common tasks include collaborating with artists and other galleries, managing and promoting art exhibitions, overseeing a gallery's finances, and running its website.

    In addition to a painting degree, gallery managers often have graduate degrees in art administration, art management, or art business.

  • Paint decorator

    Paint decorators manage exterior and interior painting projects during the construction of a new building or structure. They will employ creativity; however, their job is more focused on practicality and functionality.

    Some common responsibilities include preparing surfaces for paint, filling out damaged or holed surfaces, maintaining and utilizing the proper painting equipment for different jobs, gathering materials, and managing the painting portion of a project's budget.

    Paint decorators generally have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, while some also have a bachelor's degree in painting. Apprenticeships are also common in this field.

  • Art therapist

    Art therapists utilize creative tools with the aim of having their patients or clients grow emotionally, creatively, and spiritually. They often develop guided exercises geared toward helping their patients express themselves through creating art.

    Art therapists work with a wide range of patients, including those experiencing anxiety or depression, ones with PTSD or past trauma, phobias, and behavioral disorders. They also may work with clients that don't have any serious mental health issues but simply want to grow creatively.

    They often use the medium of painting to help treat their patients.

    Art therapists have a strong background in art but also are likely to have bachelor's or advanced degrees in psychology or another related area. Art therapy is also a major course at some colleges.

  • Painter

    Painters are artists that paint original artworks intended for sale or exhibitions. They may run a private portrait studio and paint commissioned pieces for clients or paint abstract artworks that they seek to sell on the art market.

    Becoming a successful painter is often a difficult track. Many choose to become apprentices or art assistants to professional artists before gaining their own careers in the field.

    Painters may have a bachelor's or master's degree in painting and fine art. Some also do not have any higher education if their talent as a painter is already profound.

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