How To Become A Painter
Career Video: Painter
Do you have an eye for choosing the right color to complete the exterior and interior surfaces of homes and buildings? Do you enjoy applying paint on walls? If the answer to both these questions is yes then you can consider being a painter. In this profession, you will have the opportunity to coat walls both to make them look beautiful and keep them protected. Just like a fine art painter whose mission is to make the canvas he is working on come alive, your role as a construction, maintenance or artisan painter is to make walls vibrant. A paint job can do wonders to improve the look and value of an edifice and this will be your mission. More importantly, the paint and sealers you apply will do a great deal in safeguarding the building’s exterior which serves as its first defense against the elements.
To do your job, you will need to use a variety of tools. For example, you will need wire brushes, sandpapers and scrapers to prime the surfaces that you will be painting on. This also includes using putty or plaster to fill holes and cracks before the paint job is started. You also need to use measuring tools so you can figure out how big the area that needs to be painted is and thus be able to prescribe the appropriate number of gallons of paint for the job. Of course, brushes, rollers and power sprayers are the most important tools for your trade so you need to know what type is best for a particular paint job.
Some painters must wear protective gear to carry out the task. If you are painting the insides of storage tanks, for example, must wear suits and oxygen masks to prevent them from breathing in fumes that are potentially toxic. You may also have to wear safety harnesses and use bosun chairs if you are painting tall buildings and bridges.
To succeed as a painter, you need to be able to withstand the physical rigors of the job. You will be painting for long hours with your arms extended, often standing under the heat of the sun, so you need to have the stamina for this. You also need to have a very good vision and be able to differentiate the differences among various hues and colors to be able to give clients the right paint color they want. You also need have a penchant for detail inasmuch as even the smallest mistakes in application can be easily seen. Since many painters are self-employed, possessing excellent customer service skills is a must so you can get repeat customers or get recommendations from satisfied clients.
Why Become A Painter
One reason to become a painter is that it allows you to put your creativity with colors to work without the need to acquire an expensive fine arts degree. Painters typically learn through an apprenticeship which simply requires a high school degree to apply. Another reason to become a painter is that it is a profession that gives you the chance to run your own business someday. With the proper training and experience as well as entrepreneurial savvy, you can grow your company that provides house and building painting services. Two practical reasons to become a painter are: 1) The profession has good employment prospects in the next few years and 2) It gives individuals the opportunity to earn a living wage.
Painter Work Environment
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that around 36 percent of painters were employed with companies involved in the painting and wall covering contractors industry. However, a slightly higher number—41 percent—run their own businesses. Painters work both indoors and outdoors and experience a higher rate of injuries compared to that of other occupations. This is because they do a lot of climbing, bending and stretching just to get the job done. They also work on tall buildings, bridges and other large infrastructures which make the possibility of falls and injuries a reality. They also inhale irritants like fumes and dust that cause respiratory illnesses.
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of construction and maintenance painters is $39,290. This is slightly higher than the $38,410 received by paperhangers who belong to the same occupational category.
Painter Career Outlook
The job outlook for painters is expected to be excellent in the next few years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the employment rate of painters is set to grow 20 percent in the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022, a rate that is faster than the average for all occupations. The demand will come from the fact that homeowners and businesses often change their paint to keep up with trends and keep their walls protected. The demand will also come from the need to replace workers who leave each year.
The main mode of entry towards the painting profession is to learn on the job. However, there are also those who get their training through apprenticeships offered by unions and contractor organizations. These apprenticeships typically last for three to four years. There are also technical schools that have tie-ins with organizations offering apprenticeships. The credits that students get in these programs can be applied towards an associate’s degree.