Construction and Maintenance Painter

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Job Outlook:
Little or no change
Education: None
High: $72,160.00
Average: $49,350.00
Average: $23.73

What they do:

Paint walls, equipment, buildings, bridges, and other structural surfaces, using brushes, rollers, and spray guns. May remove old paint to prepare surface prior to painting. May mix colors or oils to obtain desired color or consistency.

On the job, you would:

  • Fill cracks, holes, or joints with caulk, putty, plaster, or other fillers, using caulking guns or putty knives.
  • Cover surfaces with dropcloths or masking tape and paper to protect surfaces during painting.
  • Smooth surfaces, using sandpaper, scrapers, brushes, steel wool, or sanding machines.

Important Qualities

Ability to work at heights. Painters must be able to work at heights on scaffolding, lifts, and ladders.

Communication skills. Painters interact with clients and must be able to convey information in order to ensure accuracy of color selection and application techniques. Painters must also communicate with coworkers.

Detail oriented. Painters must be precise when creating or painting edges for overall quality of appearance.

Physical stamina. Painters should be able to stay physically active for many hours and spend much of the workday standing or climbing ladders.

Physical strength. Painters must be able to lift at least 50 pounds and move heavy items during the course of a job.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

86% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
83% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
82% Leadership  -  Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
80% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
77% Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
74% Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
73% Stress Tolerance  -  Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
72% Achievement/Effort  -  Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
71% Innovation  -  Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
71% Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
70% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
69% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
68% Concern for Others  -  Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
66% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
A3 Your Strengths Importance


100% Realistic  -  Work involves designing, building, or repairing of equipment, materials, or structures, engaging in physical activity, or working outdoors. Realistic occupations are often associated with engineering, mechanics and electronics, construction, woodworking, transportation, machine operation, agriculture, animal services, physical or manual labor, athletics, or protective services.

Job Details

Protect structures or surfaces near work areas to avoid damage.
Apply material to fill gaps in surfaces.
Prepare surfaces for finishing.
Apply paint to surfaces.
Estimate construction project costs.
Estimate materials requirements for projects.
Review blueprints or specifications to determine work requirements.
Assemble temporary equipment or structures.
Protect structures or surfaces near work areas to avoid damage.
Clean surfaces in preparation for work activities.
Prepare surfaces for finishing.
Mix substances or compounds needed for work activities.
Clean surfaces in preparation for work activities.
Select construction equipment.
Order construction or extraction materials or equipment.
Smooth surfaces with abrasive materials or tools.
Smooth surfaces with abrasive materials or tools.
Apply decorative or textured finishes or coverings.
Apply sealants or other protective coatings.
Cut carpet, vinyl or other flexible materials.
Apply decorative or textured finishes or coverings.
Apply sealants or other protective coatings.
Operate heating or drying equipment.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent

96% Spend Time Standing  -  How much does this job require standing?
95% Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls  -  How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
91% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
86% Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions  -  How much does this job require making repetitive motions?
84% Contact With Others  -  How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
80% Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
77% Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body  -  How much does this job require bending or twisting your body?
73% Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets  -  How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
73% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
72% Time Pressure  -  How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
71% Responsible for Others' Health and Safety  -  How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
70% Spend Time Climbing Ladders, Scaffolds, or Poles  -  How much does this job require climbing ladders, scaffolds, or poles?
70% Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable  -  How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
69% Responsibility for Outcomes and Results  -  How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
69% Coordinate or Lead Others  -  How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
66% Exposed to Contaminants  -  How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?
66% Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results  -  What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

74% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
73% Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials  -  Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
71% Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others  -  Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
69% Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
68% Performing General Physical Activities  -  Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.

What Construction and Maintenance Painters Do

Painters, construction and maintenance
Painters sometimes wear self-contained suits for protection.

Painters apply paint, stain, and coatings to walls and ceilings, buildings, large machinery and equipment, and bridges and other structures.


Painters typically do the following:

  • Protect floors, furniture, and trim by covering surfaces with drop cloths and tarps and securing with tape
  • Install scaffolding and raise ladders
  • Fill holes and cracks with putty or plaster
  • Prepare surfaces by removing outlet and switch covers and by scraping, wire brushing, or sanding to a smooth finish
  • Calculate the size of the area to be painted and the amount of paint needed for the area
  • Apply primers or sealers so the paint will stick to the surface
  • Apply paint, coatings, or other finishes, using hand brushes, rollers, or sprayers

Painters apply liquid coatings and other sealers that dry into solids to add texture or color to interiors and to protect exterior surfaces from damage caused by weather, sunlight, and pollution.

For each job, painters must choose the correct tool, such as a roller, power sprayer, or brush. There are several ways to apply paint, and deciding on which tool to use typically depends on both the type of surface to be painted and the characteristics of the paint. Some employers require painters to provide their own tools

The following are types of painters:

Commercial painters prepare and paint the interiors and exteriors of offices, businesses, and other nonresidential buildings. Commercial painters may work with and be responsible for large areas due to the size of buildings involved in nonresidential projects.

Industrial painters prepare and paint large machinery, such as industrial or manufacturing equipment; vehicles, such as cars and ships; and structures, such as bridges and water towers. Industrial painters may also apply special coating materials to structure or equipment surfaces to protect them from corrosion or deterioration.

Industrial painters must contain the area in which they are working to prevent hazardous materials from contaminating the environment and exposing the public to risks. Industrial and commercial painters also must perform quality control and quality assurance to ensure that they find mistakes, meet technical specifications, and use materials appropriately.

Residential painters prepare and paint the interiors and exteriors of homes and multifamily residential buildings. Residential painters may interact with customers living in the home while painting is in progress. As a result, residential painters may need to adjust their hours or work plans to accommodate customer needs or schedules.

Work Environment

Painters, construction and maintenance held about 372,400 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of painters, construction and maintenance were as follows:

Self-employed workers 41%
Painting and wall covering contractors 37
Residential building construction 4
Government 2
Nonresidential building construction 2

Painters work on a variety of structures, including bridges, machinery, and the interiors and exteriors of buildings. Painting requires a lot of bending, kneeling, reaching, and climbing. Those who paint bridges or buildings may work at extreme heights or in uncomfortable positions; some painters are suspended by ropes or cables as they work.

Painters typically work both indoors and outdoors. When working outside or in confined spaces, painters may be exposed to extreme temperatures. 

Painters may need to wear special safety equipment for a job. For example, painters working in confined spaces, such as the inside of a large storage tank, must wear self-contained suits to avoid inhaling toxic fumes. Some painters wear additional clothing and protective eyewear when operating abrasive blasters to remove old coatings. When painting bridges, ships, tall buildings, or oil rigs, painters may work from scaffolding or harnesses.

Injuries and Illnesses

Painters risk injury on the job. Common hazards include falls from ladders, muscle strains from lifting, and exposure to drywall dust and other irritants.

Work Schedules

Most painters work full time. Self-employed painters may be able to set their own schedules. Industrial painters may be required to travel for work. Painting jobs that are outdoors may be seasonal.

Getting Started

High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)
Less than a High School Diploma

How to Become a Construction and Maintenance Painter

Painters, construction and maintenance
Some specialty painters may need certification.

Painters typically learn their trade on the job. No formal education is typically required to enter the occupation.


There are no formal education requirements to become a painter. Some technical schools offer optional certificates in painting.


Painters typically learn on the job: how to prepare surfaces, apply coating, hang wall covering, and match colors. Painters may have to complete additional safety training in order to work with scaffolding and harnesses.

Although less common, painting apprenticeships lasting 3 or 4 years may be available for candidates who have a high school diploma or equivalent and who are at least 18 years old. For example, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, in conjunction with the Finishing Trades Institute, offers a 3-year apprenticeship for painters. For each year of a typical program, apprentices must complete a predetermined number of hours of technical training and paid on-the-job training before becoming journey workers. Apprenticeship program requirements differ based on the type of program and by region.

Although most painters learn their trade on the job or through an apprenticeship, some new workers enter training programs offered by the hiring contractor.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Those interested in industrial painting can earn several certifications from NACE International Institute or from the Society for Protective Coatings. Courses range from 1 day to several weeks, depending on the certification program and specialty. Applicants also must meet work experience requirements.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides certification for lead paint abatement.

Some states require licensing for lead paint removal. Contact your state’s licensing board for more information.

Employers may require workers to have a driver’s license to commute to jobsites.


After gaining experience, painters may advance to supervisors, superintendents, or managers, directing other painters and the jobsite. Painters may also work as estimators or start their own business.

Painters who work in a union may have advancement opportunities within the organization as a union official, training instructor, or business manager.

Job Outlook

Employment of painters, construction and maintenance is projected to show little or no change from 2022 to 2032.

Despite limited employment growth, about 29,300 openings for painters, construction and maintenance are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


The expected increase in new construction will continue to create a need for painters. Investors who sell or lease properties also will require painters’ services. However, many homeowners choose to do painting themselves rather than hire workers for it, which will temper employment growth for painters.

Contacts for More Information

Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship program online or by phone at 877-872-5627. For details about apprenticeships or other work opportunities for painters, contact the offices of the state employment service, the state apprenticeship agency, local contractors, or firms that employ painters. Visit to search for apprenticeship opportunities.

For more information about painters and training opportunities, visit

Associated Builders and Contractors

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

Home Builders Institute


Painting and Decorating Contractors of America

For more information about pre-apprenticeship training, visit

Home Builders Institute

For more information about the work of industrial painters and about opportunities for training and certification as a protective coating specialist, visit

NACE International Institute

Society of Protective Coatings

For information about opportunities for military veterans, visit:

Helmets to Hardhats

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of painters, construction and maintenance.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Carpenters Carpenters

Carpenters construct, repair, and install building frameworks and structures made from wood and other materials.

High school diploma or equivalent $51,390
Construction laborers and helpers Construction Laborers and Helpers

Construction laborers and helpers perform many tasks that require physical labor on construction sites.

See How to Become One $39,520
Painting and coating workers Painting and Coating Workers

Painting and coating workers apply finishes, often using machines, to a range of products.

See How to Become One $43,370
Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers Drywall Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Drywall and ceiling tile installers hang wallboard and install ceiling tile inside buildings. Tapers prepare the wallboard for painting.

No formal educational credential $51,160
Hazardous materials removal workers Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

Hazardous materials removal workers identify and dispose of harmful substances such as asbestos, lead, and radioactive waste.

High school diploma or equivalent $46,690
Tile and marble setters Flooring Installers and Tile and Stone Setters

Flooring installers and tile and stone setters lay and finish carpet, wood, vinyl, tile, and other materials.

No formal educational credential $47,890

Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.