Painter Apprentice Tips

Painter apprentices receive full training in their trade, which is one of the most consistent trades for regular work and has excellent portable job skills. Painter apprenticeships are very popular, so much so that it's common that some painting businesses are generational family concerns.

Where to find painter apprenticeships

These apprenticeships are commonly advertised, and may also be combined with trade qualifications. To simplify your search, check out local painting businesses first. The local painters association can also help. In some cases apprentices may be recruited directly from local schools. If you have specific preferences for a career path in the trade, it's advisable to get professional advice from a trade school or other training organization to set your career training on track.

The work environment

Apprentices receive 2-4 years of study, both practical and classroom training. The training consists of training in:

  • Application of different types of paint
  • Painting equipment training
  • Working with different types of materials for painting
  • Preparation of surfaces
  • Painting techniques
  • Mixing paints
  • Color usage
  • Working with painting specifications

Apprentice work is progressive, starting with fundamental training in basic painting operations like preparation of surfaces. The work steadily upgrades to trades work. Each stage involves more complex operations using these acquired skills and developing skills while building experience and expanding the knowledge base.

The apprenticeship is good orientation to the realities of the trade. Painting can be hard manual labor, sometimes requiring tens of hours of work on major jobs. Some of the apprentice work involved is a good illustration of the practical uses of their training on the job:

  • Preparation of building surfaces (Preparation varies depending on building materials and the requirements of the surfaces)
  • Mixing paints to contract specifications (Color matching, and in some cases dealing with variable color schemes)
  • Painting the undercoats (Primary coats are important for the final painting job.)

The business and career environment

Painting involves many different working situations. Many painters are contractors, working on jobs which have their own special requirements. This is a particularly business-oriented line of work, and apprentices are given a very useful introduction to the practical business operations of professional painters.

The importance of exposure to the business side of painting is particularly important because many painters become self employed contractors. Painting is an excellent business for self employment, and cash flow is often lucrative. Painter always have the option of working for themselves, and it's not uncommon for some to have full time jobs as well as contracting businesses. Unlike other trades, the materials and equipment for painters are easily portable, and painters can effectively create multiple income streams for themselves.

Career advancement in the commercial painting industry is all about business. Contracts are the primary income source. These contracts can be construction and/or maintenance, and in some cases are term contracts. Some painting contracts are worth millions, based on painting commercial buildings and industry premises. These can be huge projects, employing large numbers of people, including apprentices. Apprentice painters can chart a career path from an apprentice's average wage of 50% of the tradesman's wage to owning their own business and million dollar contracts.