Painting Jobs Are In High Demand – ConsumersLocal
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Painting Jobs Are In High Demand

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Painters (Construction & Maintenance)

Career, Salary & Education Information

What They Do: Painters apply paint, stain, and coatings to walls and ceilings, buildings, bridges, and other structures.

Work Environment: Painters work indoors and outdoors in many different work environments. Painting is physically demanding and requires a lot of bending, kneeling, reaching, and climbing. Painters who paint bridges or buildings may be exposed to extreme heights and uncomfortable positions.

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

Salary: The median annual wage for painters, construction and maintenance is $40,280.

Job Outlook: Employment of painters is projected to show little or no change over the next ten years. Openings are expected to arise from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation each year.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of painters, construction and maintenance with similar occupations.

What Construction & Maintenance Painters Do

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

Duties of Construction & Maintenance Painters

Painters typically do the following:

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

Paints and other sealers protect surfaces from damage caused by weather, sunlight, and pollution.

There are several ways to apply paint to a surface, and painters must choose the correct tool for each job, such as a roller, power sprayer, or brush. Choosing the right tool typically depends on the type of surface to be painted and the characteristics of the paint to be used. Some employers require painters to provide their own equipment.

Painters may wear special safety equipment for a job. For example, painters working in confined spaces, such as the inside of a large storage tank, must wear self-contained suits to avoid inhaling toxic fumes. Some painters wear additional clothing and protective eyewear when operating abrasive blasters to remove old coatings. When painting bridges, ships, tall buildings, or oil rigs, painters may work from scaffolding or harnesses.

How to Become a Construction & Maintenance Painter

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

Education for Construction & Maintenance Painters

There are no formal education requirements to become a painter, although some technical schools offer certificates in painting and some workers learn to paint in apprenticeship programs.

Construction & Maintenance Painter Training

Most painters learn their trade on the job. They learn how to prepare surfaces, apply coating, hang wall covering, and match colors. Painters may have to complete additional safety training in order to work with scaffolding and harnesses.

Although less common, workers who have a high school diploma or equivalent and who are at least 18 years old can become painters through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of a typical program, apprentices complete at least 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training before becoming journey workers. Some apprenticeship programs give preference to veterans.

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.

Licenses, Certifications, & Registrations for Construction & Maintenance Painters

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

The National Association of Home Builders, through the Home Builders Institute, offers Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT), which provides entry-level training for painting and other construction occupations.

Construction & Maintenance Painter Salaries

The median annual wage for painters, construction and maintenance is $40,280. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,130, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $67,560.

The median annual wages for construction and maintenance painters in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Nonresidential building construction$44,130
Residential building construction$39,780
Painting and wall covering contractors$39,150

Apprentices make less than fully trained painters, but they receive increases as they learn to do more.

Most painters work full time. Self-employed workers may be able to set their own schedule.



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