what is a painter?

As a painter or decorator, you use various tools and materials to improve the texture and appearance of surfaces. The job typically involves painting interior and exterior surfaces using varnishes, paint, stains or sealers. You scrape off old paint, use sandpaper to smoothen the surfaces or add filler to seal holes in the walls of old buildings.

what does a painter do?

Painters work in construction companies, which means they decorate both commercial and residential properties. In building maintenance companies, your job often includes applying wallpaper, adding vinyl wall fabrics and other types of installation to improve the appearance of interior surfaces.

To become a successful painter, you need an excellent eye for colour to ensure the correct mixing and application of colours. Sometimes, you blend colours and other materials to get the right texture or shade for your working surfaces.

As a painter, you often work alongside construction crews. It is important to meet project deadlines and ensure that quality standards are adhered to by using high-quality products, staying within project budgets, and avoiding wasting resources.

painter jobs

average salary of a painter

A painter takes home an average remuneration package of $63,000 per year. Your earnings usually range from $55,000 to $70,000 annually, based on your experience level. When you are new to the role, you are likely to earn less due to your limited skills, while professional painters attract higher salaries because of their expertise.

what factors influence the salary of a painter?

The remuneration package of a painter is determined by the project size and the complexity of the role. With extensive experience, you can negotiate a higher salary due to your expertise. However, entry-level painters with limited experience earn a low salary.

Painting commercial buildings usually pays more than working on residential projects. Hence, you can demand higher remuneration for working on complex projects like industrial equipment painting. The hours you work also influence your earnings. For instance, full-time painters usually take home higher hourly rates than part-time painters and decorators.

Want to know what you will earn as a painter? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

painter salary

types of painters

Becoming a painter doesn't mean you are limited to painting walls and surfaces. The various types of painters include the following:

  • industrial painters: as an industrial painter, you improve the aesthetics of industrial structures during construction. Your job usually involves finishing the exterior of a building and adding paint to make it visually appealing.
  • decorative painters: as a decorative painter, you use paint to enhance the interior appearance of a house. You blend colours to create a contemporary look or a traditional appearance.
  • designer painters: your painting skills don't have to be limited to building interiors. You can expand your expertise to work in fashion and interior design. You produce wall finishes like wallpapers and decorative poster designs or fabric patterns.
  • restoration painters: you clean, prepare, and retouch old works of art as a restoration painter. You need exceptional skills to return old paintings to their original state. Additional training is often required to become a restoration painter.
people getting off the bus
people getting off the bus

working as a painter

Working as a painter involves decorating walls and surfaces to make them attractive and appealing. Let's explore the flexible work schedules and stimulating working environments of painters.


education and skills

You don't require formal training to become a painter, but the following qualifications improve your career prospects in the role:

  • training: to become a painter, complete a Certificate III in painting and decorating as part of an apprenticeship or at a registered training organisation. The course helps you develop the practical knowledge to become a licensed painter. You can also specialise in various sectors like industrial building decoration, wallpaper application and paint management.
  • work experience: you require experience and expertise to land jobs in painting. You can gain experience through apprenticeships and entry-level jobs to improve your skills. Some painters register with the National Institute of Painting and Decorating. Working in construction also requires a white card.

skills and competencies

Your transferable skills help you excel as a painter. Some include:

  • being detail-oriented: as a painter, it is important to be attentive to details to ensure you don't mix the wrong colours or paint incorrect shades. Employers expect your work to be error-free and the paint job to have crisp edges and even coatings.
  • time management skills: painting is similar to construction work regarding deadlines and milestones. You must complete your work on time and adhere to the set schedule for the project. You usually work with minimal supervision, so good time management helps you avoid missing deadlines.
  • technical skills: you use various painting tools and materials as a painter. It is crucial to understand the work processes involved in the job, like preparing exterior and interior surfaces for commercial and residential settings.
  • eye for colour: as a painter, a great eye for colour helps create beautiful shades that appeal to customers. You can also come up with the best finishes to create an exquisite look.

FAQs about working as a painter

Here are the most asked questions about working as a painter:

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