Trades & Services

Painter & Decorator

Painters & decorators apply paint, stain, coatings and wallpaper to interior and exterior surfaces of buildings and other structures.

  • Entry-level education


  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Painter & Decorator do?

Painters & decorators apply paint, stain, coatings and wallpaper to interior and exterior surfaces of buildings and other structures.


Work activities

As a painter & decorator, you would:

  • discuss and agree on colours and finishes with the client
  • measure surface areas to calculate the amount of paint or wall covering you need
  • cover floors and furniture with drop cloths
  • mask edges and trims with masking tape
  • install scaffolding and set up ladders
  • strip off old wallpaper
  • prepare surfaces by scraping, wire brushing, or sanding to a smooth finish
  • fill holes and cracks with putty or other fillers
  • apply primer or undercoat
  • apply paint or special finishes, or hang wallpaper
  • clean up after finishing a job.

Key skills and interests

To become a painter & decorator, you would need:

  • to enjoy practical work
  • the ability to work carefully and pay attention to detail
  • normal colour vision
  • good hand-eye coordination
  • a good head for heights and sense of balance
  • an awareness of health and safety issues
  • good physical fitness.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

In a full-time job you would work a standard number of hours, Monday to Friday. Many painters & decorators are self-employed, so you may also work on Saturdays, or work longer hours to suit your clients or complete the amount of work you have on.


You would wear protective clothing, usually overalls. Paints and solvents give off fumes, so you may also have to wear a protective mask or use fume extraction equipment on some jobs, if in enclosed spaces.

You would need to travel from site to site. You would need a current drivers' licence.


How to become an Painter & Decorator?

Entry Level Education

To become a painter and decorator you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in Painting and Decorating. Employers generally require you to have gained you junior school certificate or equivalent.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment opportunities for painters & decorators are expected to show strong growth.

Sustained growth in higher density housing, apartments and commercial property, together with home owners increasingly engaging outside help, will stimulate demand for this occupation. Difficulties reported by employers in finding qualified painters and decorators also suggests that opportunities should be good for people with these qualifications and experience.


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