Painters and decorators prepare and apply paint, wallpaper and finishes to different surfaces.
Salary Range: £15,000 to £30,000
How to become a painter and decorator
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
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.
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
You could do a painter and decorator intermediate apprenticeship.
This will usually take 2 to 3 years to complete.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
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.
- you’ll need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to train and work on a construction site
Professional and industry bodies
You could join the Painting and Decorating Association for professional development and to make industry contacts.
You can find out about careers in painting and decorating from Go Construct.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
What you’ll do
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
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.
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.