Painter and decorator

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Painters and decorators prepare and apply paint, wallpaper and finishes to different surfaces.

Salary Range: £15,000 to £30,000

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How to become a painter and decorator

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
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College

You could take a college course like a Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma in Painting and Decorating. This will teach you some of the skills you’ll need and may help you to find a job as a trainee with a decorating company.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

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Apprenticeship

You could do a painter and decorator intermediate apprenticeship.

This will usually take 2 to 3 years to complete.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

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Work

You could start by working as a painter and decorator’s labourer or ‘mate’. Your employer may give you the chance to take further training to fully qualify.

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Registration

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Painting and Decorating Association for professional development and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out about careers in painting and decorating from Go Construct.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • customer service skills
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • business management skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

  • be able to cope with working at height
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • measuring surface areas and working out how much paint or wall covering is needed
  • preparing the materials you need
  • stripping off old wallpaper or layers of paint
  • filling holes and cracks and making sure surfaces are level
  • covering surfaces with primer and undercoat
  • mixing paint to the right shade, often using computerised colour-matching equipment
  • applying coats of paint, hanging wallpaper and adding special finishes like glazes or marbling
  • tidying up after finishing, and cleaning your tools

Working environment

You could work at a client’s business or at a client’s home.

Your working environment may be at height.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a team supervisor or move into related areas like estimating, contract management, interior or set design, or apprentice training.

You could also work in heritage conservation, or set up your own business.