Painting and Coating Workers

Summary

painting and coating workers image
Painting and coating workers paint many different surfaces.
Quick Facts: Painting and Coating Workers
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 Painting and Coating Workers Do

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

Work Environment

Most painting and coating workers are employed full time. They frequently stand for long periods in specially ventilated areas.

How to Become a Painting and Coating Worker

Most painting and coating workers learn on the job after earning a high school diploma or equivalent. Training for new workers usually lasts several months.

Pay

Job Outlook

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

About $tools.number.format('#,###',$op) openings for painting and coating workers 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 painting and coating workers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of painting and coating workers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

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

What Painting and Coating Workers Do

Painting and coating workers
Painters use spray guns to apply paints and coatings in factories.

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

Duties

Painting and coating workers typically do the following:

  • Set up and operate machines that paint or coat products
  • Select the paint or coating needed for the job
  • Clean and prepare products to be painted or coated
  • Determine the required flow of paint and the quality of the coating
  • Apply paint or coating
  • Clean and maintain tools, equipment, and work areas

Painting and coating workers paint items ranging from cars to furniture. They apply paint, varnish, rustproofing, or other types of liquid applications to make a product more attractive and protect it from the elements. The paint finish on an automobile, for example, makes the vehicle more attractive and provides protection from corrosion.

Before workers begin to apply the paint or other coating, they often prepare the surface by sanding or cleaning it carefully to prevent dust from becoming trapped under the paint. Workers also may mask or cover portions of the product with tape and paper before painting the product.

After the product is prepared, workers may use a number of techniques to apply the paint or coating. A common technique is dipping an item in a large vat of paint or some other coating. Spraying products with paint or another coating is also common. Many factories use automated painting systems.

The following are examples of types of painting and coating workers:

Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders position the spray guns, set the nozzles, and synchronize the action of the guns with the speed of the conveyor carrying products through the machine. During the process, these workers program the machine, tend the equipment, watch gauges on the control panel, and check products to ensure that they are being painted evenly. The operator may use a manual spray gun to touch up flaws.

Painting, coating, and decorating workers apply coatings to furniture, glass, pottery, toys, books, and other products. Paper is often coated to give it a gloss. Silver, tin, and copper solutions are frequently sprayed onto glass to make mirrors.

Transportation equipment painters are the best known group of painting and coating workers. They paint various types of transportation equipment, including cars, aircraft, and boats.

Work Environment

Painting and coating workers
Workers must wear masks, gloves, and other protective equipment.

Painting and coating is usually done in specially ventilated areas. Nonetheless, workers must wear masks or respirators that cover their nose and mouth.

Painting and coating workers often stand for long periods. They also may have to bend, stoop, or crouch in uncomfortable positions to reach different parts of the products they work on.

Injuries and Illnesses

Painting, coating, and decorating workers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Hazards include muscle strains and exposure to toxic materials. More sophisticated paint booths and fresh-air ventilation systems are increasingly being installed in factories to provide a safer work environment.

Work Schedules

Most painting and coating workers are employed full time.

How to Become a Painting and Coating Worker

Painting and coating workers
Painting and coating workers can usually become proficient in less than 1 year.

Most painting and coating workers learn on the job after earning a high school diploma or equivalent. Training for new workers usually lasts several months.

Education

Painting and coating workers usually must have a high school diploma or equivalent. However, some employers hire workers who lack a high school diploma.

Taking high school courses in automotive painting can be helpful.

Some automotive painters attend a technical or vocational school where they receive hands-on training and learn the intricacies of mixing and applying different types of paint.

Training

Although some worker training may last only a few days, most entry-level workers receive on-the-job training that may last from 1 month to several months.

Workers who operate computer-controlled equipment may require additional training in computer programming.

Important Qualities

Artistic ability. Some painting and coating workers make elaborate or decorative designs. For example, some automotive painters specialize in making custom designs for vehicles.

Color vision. Workers must be able to blend new paint colors in order to match existing colors on a surface.

Mechanical skills. Workers must be able to operate and maintain sprayers that apply paints and coatings.

Physical stamina. Some workers must stand at their station for extended periods. Continuous standing or activity can be tiring.

Physical strength. Workers may need to lift heavy objects. Some products that are painted or coated may weigh more than 50 pounds.

Pay

Painting and Coating Workers

Median annual wages, May 2020

Total, all occupations

$41,950

Production occupations

$37,440

 

Automotive painters in repair shops may receive a bonus or commission in addition to their wages.

Most painting and coating workers are employed full time.

Job Outlook

Painting and Coating Workers

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Total, all occupations

8%

Production occupations

0%

 

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

About $tools.number.format('#,###',$op) openings for painting and coating workers 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

Overall employment of painting and coating workers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2018 to 2028, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by occupation and industry.

Much of the job growth for painting and coating workers will occur in automotive repair shops, where the irregular nature of the work makes automation difficult.

Although many consumer, commercial, and industrial products require painting or coating and thus will provide job opportunities for these workers, automation in many manufacturing facilities is expected to reduce job opportunities for these workers.

Job Prospects

In addition to job growth in some industries, many job openings should result from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.

Employment projections data for painting and coating workers, 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

$occ_name

$tools.number.format($emp_current) $tools.number.format($emp_projected) $emp_percent_change $tools.number.format($emp_net_change)

$occ_name

51-9121 $tools.number.format($emp_current) $tools.number.format($emp_projected) $emp_percent_change $tools.number.format($emp_net_change) Get data

$occ_name

51-9122 $tools.number.format($emp_current) $tools.number.format($emp_projected) $emp_percent_change $tools.number.format($emp_net_change) Get data

Painting, coating, and decorating workers

51-9123 12,400 13,200 6 800 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 painting and coating workers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Automotive body and glass repairers Automotive Body and Glass Repairers

Automotive body and glass repairers restore, refinish, and replace vehicle bodies and frames, windshields, and window glass.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Painters, construction and maintenance Painters, Construction and Maintenance

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

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Metal and plastic machine workers Metal and Plastic Machine Workers

Metal and plastic machine workers set up and operate machines that cut, shape, and form metal and plastic materials or pieces.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html

Contacts for More Information

For more information about job opportunities for painting and coating workers, visit

  • Local manufacturers
  • Automotive body repair shops
  • Motor vehicle dealers
  • Vocational schools
  • Local unions representing painting and coating workers
  • Local offices of state employment services

For a directory of certified automotive painting programs, visit

National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Painting and Coating Workers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/painting-and-coating-workers.htm (visited February 23, 2024).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2019