Skilled Trade


 Average Hourly Wage


What You Need

  • 18 years old
  • 5,600 to 6,000 training hours
  • 4,000 on-the-job training hours

Job description

Painters apply paints and prepare surfaces for painting. Preparation is the most important part of painting and all sorts of surfaces, including wood, metal, masonry, and sheet rock must be prepared. Painters also apply other types of wall coverings besides paint, such as vinyl, fabric, and aluminum. Traffic control painters paint striping on roads.

Working conditions

The work is done indoors and outdoors. Painters spend many hours on their feet and often work at heights from scaffolding or “boson chairs.” The work is strenuous and physically demanding.

Length of apprenticeship

A painter apprenticeship lasts four years and requires 5,600 to 6,000 hours of on-the-job training. A sandblaster apprenticeship lasts two years and requires 4,000 hours of on-the-job training. A traffic control painter apprenticeship lasts 3½ years and requires 7,000 hours of on-the-job training. Apprentices in all categories must complete a minimum of 144 related classroom hours per year.

Minimum qualifications

Apprenticeship applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Local apprenticeship committees may require additional qualifications such as proof of high school graduation or general education development (GED) equivalent.


Beginning apprentices start at about 50 percent of the journey-level wage. Upon successful completion of required class work and on-the-job hours, wages increase usually every six months, until the journey-level rate is achieved.

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