Painters, Construction and Maintenance

Summary

painters construction and maintenance image
Painters cover trim and molding before applying paint.
Quick Facts: Construction and Maintenance Painters
2020 Median Pay $qf_median_annual_wage_html $qf_median_hourly_wage_html
Typical Entry-Level Education $qf_education_html
Work Experience in a Related Occupation $qf_experience_html
On-the-job Training $qf_training_html
Number of Jobs, 2020 $qf_number_jobs_html
Job Outlook, 2020-30 $qf_outlook_html
Employment Change, 2020-30 $qf_openings_html

What Construction and Maintenance Painters 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 a Construction and Maintenance Painter

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

Pay

Job Outlook

Overall employment of painters, construction and maintenance is projected to grow $pc.toString().replaceAll("^\-","") percent from 2020 to 2030, $gra.

About $tools.number.format('#,###',$op) openings for painters, construction and maintenance are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for painters, construction and maintenance .

Similar Occupations

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

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about painters, construction and maintenance by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Construction and Maintenance Painters Do

Painters, construction and maintenance
Painters sometimes wear self-contained suits for protection.

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

Duties

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.

Work Environment

Painters, construction and maintenance
Many painters work outdoors.

Painters work on a variety of structures, from bridges to the interiors and exteriors of buildings, and they typically work both indoors and outdoors. Painting requires a lot of bending, kneeling, reaching, and climbing. Those who paint bridges or buildings may be exposed to extreme heights and uncomfortable positions; some painters are suspended by ropes or cables as they work.

Injuries and Illnesses

Painters risk injury on the job. Falls from ladders, muscle strains from lifting, and exposure to irritants such as drywall dust are common workplace hazards.

Work Schedules

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

How to Become a Construction and Maintenance Painter

Painters, construction and maintenance
Some specialty painters may need certification.

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

Education

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.

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, and Registrations

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.

Important Qualities

Color vision. Painters must be able to identify and differentiate between subtle changes in color.

Customer-service skills. Painters who work in residential settings often interact with clients. They must communicate with clients in order to help select colors and application techniques.

Detail oriented. Painters must be precise when creating or painting edges, because minor flaws can be noticeable.

Physical stamina. Painters should be able to stay physically active for many hours, because they spend much of the workday standing with their arms extended while climbing ladders.

Physical strength. Painters must be able to lift up to 50 pounds, and they move numerous heavy items during the course of a job. For example, a 5-gallon bucket of paint weighs more than 40 pounds.

Pay

Construction and Maintenance Painters

Median annual wages, May 2020

Construction trades workers

$47,480

Painters, construction and maintenance

$42,130

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

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.

Job Outlook

Construction and Maintenance Painters

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Total, all occupations

8%

Construction trades workers

5%

Painters, construction and maintenance

5%

 

Overall employment of painters, construction and maintenance is projected to grow $pc.toString().replaceAll("^\-","") percent from 2020 to 2030, $gra.

About $tools.number.format('#,###',$op) openings for painters, construction and maintenance are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Employment of painters is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The expected increase in new construction activity will continue to necessitate a need for painters. Investors who sell or lease properties also will require painters’ services. However, many homeowners choose to paint themselves, which will temper the employment growth of painters.

Job Prospects

Overall job prospects should be good because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation each year. There are no formal education requirements for entry into this job, so many people work as painters for a relatively short time and then move on to other types of work with higher pay or better working conditions.

Employment of painters, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy. On the one hand, painters may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, during peak periods of building activity there may be shortages of painters.

Employment projections data for painters, construction and maintenance , 2020-30
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2020 Projected Employment, 2030 Change, 2020-30 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Painters, construction and maintenance

47-2141 350,800 369,100 5 18,300 Get data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of painters, construction and maintenance .

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Carpenters Carpenters

Carpenters construct, repair, and install building frameworks and structures made from wood and other materials.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Construction laborers and helpers Construction Laborers and Helpers

Construction laborers and helpers perform many tasks that require physical labor on construction sites.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Painting and coating workers Painting and Coating Workers

Painting and coating workers paint and coat a wide range of products, often with the use of machines.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Drywall and ceiling tile installers hang wallboard and install ceiling tile inside buildings. Tapers prepare the wallboard for painting, using tape and other materials.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Hazardous materials removal workers Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

Hazardous materials removal workers identify and dispose of asbestos, lead, radioactive waste, and other hazardous materials.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Tile and marble setters Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters lay and finish carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html

Contacts for More Information

Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship program online or by phone at 877-872-5627. For details about apprenticeships or other work opportunities for painters, contact the offices of the state employment service, the state apprenticeship agency, local contractors, or firms that employ painters.

For more information about painters and training opportunities, visit

Associated Builders and Contractors

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

Home Builders Institute

NCCER

Painting and Decorating Contractors of America

For more information about the work of industrial painters and about opportunities for training and certification as a protective coating specialist, visit

NACE International Institute

Society of Protective Coatings

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Painters, Construction and Maintenance,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/painters-construction-and-maintenance.htm (visited June 23, 2024).

Last Modified Date: Thursday, September 19, 2019