(Last Updated On: 05/04/2017)

Painter Job Description

Painters use rollers, brushes and spray guns to paint buildings, equipment, walls, and other surfaces. Common responsibilities for painters include:

  • Estimating the total cost of a job by estimating the materials and time required for completion.
  • Using caulk, plaster, putty and other fillers to fill cracks and holes.
  • Protecting surfaces during painting with masking tape, dropcloths, and other materials.
  • Removing fixtures such as switch covers, lamps, door knobs and pictures before painting.

Work Environment and Schedule

The working environment for painters varies greatly depending on the type of painting that they do. For example, painters who specialize in interior painting spend all of their time working inside, while industrial painters do most of their work outside. Painters who work outside are highly dependent on the weather to get their work done. Warm and dry weather is best for painting, and painters need to take advantage of those conditions when they can. This can mean working overtime while the weather is nice, and then being inactive during periods of rain. Working as a painter can be dangerous at times. Some painters paint bridges, the exteriors of tall buildings, and other structures that require working from great heights. Working as a painter requires a lot of bending and lifting, which can result in injuries. Most painters work full time, and over half are self-employed. While self-employed painters have a little more flexibility in their schedules, ultimately, their schedules are determined by the demands of their clients.

How to Become a Painter

Most painters learn their trade through informal on the job training, but some learn through an apprenticeship. To get an apprenticeship, you will need to have a high school diploma or GED, and be at least 18 years old. Apprenticeships normally take between 3-4 years to complete. During each year of the apprenticeship, painters have to complete 2,000 hours of paid on the job training, as well as 144 hours of technical classroom instruction. During the apprenticeship, apprentices learn how to mix paint, read blueprints, use their tools and equipment, and use different application techniques depending on the finish they’re working with. If you’re still in high school and you’re considering a career as a painter, taking courses in algebra, geometry, and shop can be very helpful. There are a few certifications available to painters. Though they aren’t always required, getting one demonstrates a level of proficiency and can improve your chances of employment. To learn more about available certifications, have a look at the National Association of Corrosion Engineers website

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Employment Outlook

There are currently 442,760 painters in the United States, with 10,650 new painter job openings created each year.

Painter jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.

Painter Salaries

Overall Salaries

Painter salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most painters make between $27,500 – $44,900 per year, or $13.22 – $21.59 per hour.

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