Expand mobile version menu

Painter  What They Do

Just the Facts


Painters - Construction and Maintenance Career Video



Paints walls, equipment, buildings, bridges, and other structural surfaces, using brushes, rollers, and spray guns. May remove old paint to prepare surface prior to painting. May mix colors or oils to obtain desired color or consistency.

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster Construction pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Fills cracks, holes, or joints with caulk, putty, plaster, or other fillers, using caulking guns or putty knives.
  • Covers surfaces with dropcloths or masking tape and paper to protect surfaces during painting.
  • Smoothes surfaces, using sandpaper, scrapers, brushes, steel wool, or sanding machines.
  • Reads work orders or receives instructions from supervisors or homeowners to determine work requirements.
  • Applies primers or sealers to prepare new surfaces, such as bare wood or metal, for finish coats.
  • Applies paint, stain, varnish, enamel, or other finishes to equipment, buildings, bridges, or other structures, using brushes, spray guns, or rollers.
  • Erects scaffolding or swing gates, or sets up ladders, to work above ground level.
  • Mixes and matches colors of paint, stain, or varnish with oil or thinning and drying additives to obtain desired colors and consistencies.
  • Calculates amounts of required materials and estimates costs, based on surface measurements or work orders.
  • Polishes final coats to specified finishes.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupations requires climbing things such as ladders, scaffold, and poles more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves kneeling, crouching, stooping, and/or crawling more than one-third of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Maintaining a body position that prevents falling when in an unstable position
  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Moving the arms, legs and torso together when the whole body is in motion
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Enameler -- Sprays finish coat of enamel onto cast-iron units, for example bathtubs and sinks and bakes unit to provide permanent finish.
  • Glass Tinter -- Applies colored liquid plastic to glass surface of installed windows and doors to reduce interior heat and glare from sunlight, using spray gun.
  • Bridge Painter --
  • Drywall Sprayer --
  • Highway Painter --
  • Stippler --