Becoming a Professional Painter.

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Why would anybody want to become a painter? Why should young men or women even consider employment in the trades? These are both valid questions stemming from incorrect assumptions that young people have about the trades. Let’s examine why being a painter or working in trades is a great career choice based on some undisputable facts.

  • Unemployment rates of University and College graduates are high,
  • Many graduates that are working, have jobs not related to their field of study.
  • Almost every student graduating is burdened with thousands of dollars worth of student loans. This is not an ideal way for young men or women to start their working life.

Learning a trade does not mean that you don’t have what it takes to complete College or University. You can be intelligent and still choose to make your living with your hands. In fact, more and more young men and women end up working in trades after getting another degree. We see this in our company all the time. Our average painter or job manager has some College or University education.

What Does a Painter Do?

Painters prepare surfaces and apply coatings mostly for protective and decorative purposes.

These surfaces can be wood, drywall, plaster, concrete, steel etc. Interior surfaces are inside commercial or residential buildings such as homes, offices, factories, institutions and other facilities. Exteriors of homes, buildings and other structures are mainly painted to protect them from the weather elements. Coatings come in many colours and can also be used to decorate and beautify.

There are other trades and skills that painters can learn to diversify their expertise and skill level. There is demand for wallcovering specialists, decorative and faux finishers, epoxy floor installers. Plaster and drywall finishers work hand in hand with painters in new construction.

How Does someone Become a Painter?

Some painters learn their skills working for companies mostly under the wing of more experienced painters. It takes a painter at least 2 or 3 years to acquire most of the relevant and useful skills a company uses. It’s a good idea to ask a contractor you want to work for if they have a training program. At Ecopainting we often hire young men and women with very little experience. It’s not unusual for a trainee of Ecopainting to be running our job sites in less than three years. We use our own training systems that focus on training mostly for the things we do every day. Safety training and the required certification is a part of our training program.
A young person considering his or her options, can register for a fully accredited apprenticeship program. This start with a pre-apprenticeship course and lasts three of four years. Our company encourages this training as it is very thorough and includes both field and classroom training. A successful completion will culminate with a “Red Seal”  journeyperson ticket in painting and decorating. Career options within the trade include becoming a painter, crew leader, operations manager, even an estimator.

Starting a painting business. After learning the different facets of the trade, some painters decide to become independent contractors. Starting your own business is always better when you are familiar with the inner workings of the industry. A field painter will learn customer relations, production systems, and master the efficient application of coatings.

Running a successful and profitable business can be a good career choice for painters. Keep in mind that a good technician is not necessarily a good business operator. Running a business requires financial knowledge, marketing and many other business skills. A good painter with sufficient business education has a good chance of running a successful business.

What Are the Benefits of Being a Professional Painter?

How to be a professional painter

Cost savings considerations.

It is always cheaper to learn to be a painter than earn a university or College degree. Whether through an accredited apprenticeship or learning on the job, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to buy a career. When you are ready to join the workforce full time, you don’t have student loans to deal with.

Good prospects as a Professional Painter.

Every structure and every home will be painted at some point, then painted over and over again. No new building project is complete without the final contribution from the finish trades. While most other trades are important contributors, painters will be forever painting and maintaining the same structure. Then there is the job security factor. Trade jobs cannot be outsourced and the bulk of the work must be produced on site. Some products are hitting the market prefinished with “lifetime” coatings but painters need not to worry. These products are limited and so is their popularity.

Financial Compensation.

The earning potential of trades rivals and often exceeds the earnings of most other occupations. It addition to regular pay, some in the industry receive commissions, bonuses and incentives tied to production. This is the norm for crew leaders, operation managers and estimators. Today most of the trades offer good income and benefits. Considering the skill shortages predicted in the future, trades will be in demand and compensation will certainly increase. An experienced painter working for a good company will get paid well. Full time commercial estimators and experienced project managers are in demand already and can make a good living. The sky is the limit of course for the business painter with business training. Even though the market is competitive, running a painting business can be rewarding and profitable.

In conclusion, becoming a professional painter is a viable career with many unique rewards. Our company hires and trains young people from time to time. We encourage you to approach us with any general or specific questions about becoming a painter. Your next career could be just a phone call away.

6 thoughts on “Careers In Painting”

  1. I liked your article on painting I was trained in England through there apprenticeship system and found its a good way to learn and gain experience in the same way you train people how ever I find a lot of young people are not willing to go through the learning
    Part and just want top wages they don’t seem to understand the concept of an apprenticeship so I like the fact that you tolled any one reading you articles what they can expect after 3 years in your program
    Thx Neil

  2. Ok…I am currently experiencing a midlife career change after 17 years with a college degree as a Registered Veterinary Technician. Come to find out, after timeless hours as a student —>employee and being buried in student loan debt….if your passion is with animals just bite the bullet and become a Veterinarian, DVM, least those student loan debts will be worth it. I, unfortunately, didn’t do my research before deciding on careers and wasted time & money becoming a Registered Veterinary Technician just to discover my top out @ ~40,000!!!!!!!! WHAT A SLAP IN THE FACE THAT WAS!!
    Now I’m 34, broke, unhappy & wondering what my next step should be to ensure life not be lived pay check to pay check.
    I do have minor experience. I bought and remodeled a foreclosure home from top to bottom, inside & out. Not an INCH of that house wasn’t under some construction… performed by me and my folks, of course ? So, geez Louise, I have done my fair share of prepping walls, patching walls & painting them bad boys too….just not professionally.
    From a woman questioning career paths, would this profession be one to peruse? Esp. being a woman?? Is it profitable?? Any words of advice??

    • Thank you for your comment Candace. First of all, I know a few people older than 34 starting a new career.
      As a tradesperson in painting, depending where you are located, you could end up making 5o thousand plus a year. Couple of our painters have used their experience with us to work for the film and staging union. Their hourly is about $30 plus good benefits. One of our painters ended up started her own drywall repair business in her early fourties. Owning your own business is what most people painting want to do. It takes time, but it can be profitable.
      The mistake I see most people making is not accepting the fact that it take about five years to get really good. People end up spending years in university and they find that acceptable. Working in a trade should take almost as long.

  3. Thank you George for pointing out that learning a trade is as valuable as going to university.


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