Painter essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $35,190
- 2012, number of jobs: 184,330
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 18 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Less than high school
Painters; what they do:
Painters paint a variety of objects from equipment, walls and buildings to bridges and other large structures. They use different types of tools and equipment from rollers, brushes and spray guns to ladders, scaffoldings and harnesses.
A painter career includes removing old paint through sanding or wire brushing to prepare surfaces for new paint, protecting floors and furniture with drop-cloths, setting up ladders or scaffolding and filling cracks or holes in walls with putty or similar fillers.
A painting career includes mixing colors to achieve desired color or thickness, applying sealers and using tools such as brushes, rollers or power sprayers to paint areas.
Painters work in job categories such as:
- Construction painter: Paints, stains and coats interior and exterior walls of different kinds of buildings and structures.
- Maintenance painter: Removes old paint and then apply new coats and stains later in a structure’s life.
- Artisan painter: Uses different painting and decorating techniques such as glazing and color blocking to create special finishes.
- Painting and coating worker: Apply materials to different objects and transportation equipment from toys and furniture to airplanes and buses.
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Painter job titles:
- Facilities Painter
- Industrial Painter
- Residential Painter
- Exterior/Interior Painter
- House Painter
Painters Education, Certification and License Requirements
People interested in a painter career typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and they need to complete their training.
Painter unions sponsor apprenticeship programs where workers learn skills within 3 to 4 years. For each program year, apprentices must complete 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid onsite training. Painting skills taught range from preparing surfaces and mixing paints to application techniques.
Painters interested in industrial painting can earn different certifications, such as the Protective Coating Specialist certification, from the National Association of Corrosion Engineers. Certificate program lengths range from a day to several weeks, depending on the specialty.
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Painters Job Outlook
Forecast: 18 percent employment growth for painters from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
The employment growth stems from the short paint life on home exteriors, the ever-changing painting techniques and color trends and the demand of investors for painting services. Employers seek industrial painters for their skills at preventing corrosion of structures such as bridges, which ultimately extend their life expectancy.
- 2012 median annual wage: $35,190
- 2012 workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $46,080
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $28,040
- Painting and wall covering contractors industry