- Do you have an eye for colour and detail?
- Are you good with your hands?
- Do you like doing precise work?
- Are you comfortable with heights?
- Are you creative?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then a career as a Painter and Decorator could be right for you.
Painters and decorators apply paint, wallpaper and other finishes to interior and exterior surfaces of buildings and other structures.
They are employed by construction companies, painting contractors and building maintenance departments, or they may be self-employed.
As a Painter and Decorator, your duties may include:
- Applying paint or other materials such as stains, lacquer or varnish using brushes, rollers or spray equipment
- Preparing and cleaning surfaces
- Removing old wallpaper and paint
- Repairing cracks and holes in walls
- Mixing and thinning paint
- Measuring, cutting and applying wallpaper or fabric to walls
- Building and installing scaffolding
- Advising customers on colour selection and choice of wall coverings
- Providing cost estimates
- Reading specifications to determine required materials
The standard work week for painters and decorators is 40 hours (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). As with many careers in construction, there are peak periods that will require you to work overtime. The number of additional hours you work each week depends on the construction sector and region you work in, and will vary from one job to the next. If you paint outdoors, your hours will depend on weather conditions. You may work long hours during the warmer months and fewer during winter.
As a Painter and Decorator, you may work indoors or outdoors, alone or with a team of other construction professionals. The work can be physically demanding – you may stand for long periods of time, often with your arms raised over your head.
As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. Painters and decorators are trained to work safely and take special precautions to protect against injury.
Training and Certification
Apprenticeship involves both classroom studies and on-the-job training under the supervision of a certified Painter and Decorator, called a journeyperson.
As an apprentice, you earn while you learn and are paid by the hour while working on the job site. Wages start at about 55 per cent of a journeyperson’s hourly rate and increase during your apprenticeship until you reach the full rate.
Entering an apprenticeship program
Requirements for painter and decorator apprenticeship programs vary across Canada. In most provinces and territories, you must have a Grade 9 education or equivalent to enter the program.
Some provinces and territories offer secondary school apprenticeship programs that allow high school students to work towards a career as a Painter and Decorator.
Apprenticeship training programs for painters and decorators vary across Canada, but generally involve three 12-month periods, including at least 3,900 hours of on-the-job training, three eight-week blocks of technical training and a final certificate exam.
Related work experience or completion of a painter and decorator program at a college or technical institute can reduce the time required to complete your apprenticeship.
Certification is required in Quebec, and is available but voluntary in all other provinces and territories. Even where certification is voluntary, it is still recommended as it tells employers and other workers that you are a skilled professional, and it also helps you get jobs.
To be certified as a Painter and Decorator, you usually need to complete a three-year apprenticeship program. Once you successfully complete the required on-the-job training, technical training and exams, you are awarded a journeyperson certificate.
You may be eligible for certification in some provinces and territories if you have more than three years of on-the-job experience and some high school, college or industry courses for painters and decorators.
As a certified Painter and Decorator, you may write the Interprovincial Exam to qualify for the Interprovincial Standards’ Red Seal. With a Red Seal, you can work as a Painter and Decorator anywhere in Canada.
To keep your skills current, you have to keep up with new technological developments by reading and talking with other painters and decorators.
Anticipated In-Demand Regions
- Nova Scotia