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Painter and Decorator Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Painter and Decorator. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Painter and Decorator
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Painter and Decorator Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Painters and decorators work on all types of buildings and structures. Jobs can range from the re-decoration of a domestic household through to the application of heavy-duty finishing to bridges, ships or oil rigs.

They use a variety of different tools depending on the job, including paint spraying equipment, blow torches, steamers, and different sized brushes and rollers. They use these to apply a range of materials and finishes such as solvents, paints, varnishes and wall coverings.

On a typical job, surface areas are measured beforehand to work out how much paint or wall covering is required. Decorators liaise with clients or interior designers on colour choice, finishing texture or type, and wall paper patterns to be used. Surfaces are stripped and cleaned and any holes or cracks filled; primers are used to seal the surface before coverings are applied. Paint finishes are normally mixed to the required shade either by hand or using computerised colour-matching equipment.

Painters and decorators may also apply more complex finishes to a job including Artex work, rag-rolling, graining and marbling. Some painters can train to specialise in restoration work once qualified.

Hours and Environment

Painters and decorators normally work 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Overtime at weekends or in the evening is common where deadlines must be met.

They work both indoors and outdoors, either alone or as part of a team. There are long periods spent standing and bending, often working from ladders or raised platforms. Some paints and solvents give off fumes, so painters and decorators may need to wear protective masks or use fume extraction equipment.

A driving licence is useful.

Skills and Interests

To be a painter and decorator you should:

  • be careful, methodical and work to a high standard
  • have practical and creative ability
  • have good colour vision for mixing and matching paints
  • be accurate and have an eye for detail
  • be able to work alone and as part of a team
  • be comfortable working at heights
  • be aware of health and safety issues.


There are no set entry requirements, but some employers may look for some GCSEs/S grades, or equivalent vocational qualifications such as a Foundation GNVQ/GSVQ level 1. Maths, English and technology subjects are useful for the parts of the job that involve measurements and calculations, and for theoretical training.

Entry-level awards offered by colleges include City & Guilds Certificate in Basic Painting and Decorating Skills (6091) and OCN Painting and Decorating Certificate.

In addition, for those outside the industry, there may be the option to undertake a Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Intermediate/Advanced Construction Award in Decorative Occupations (Painting and decorating) at a further education college. Check with CITB-ConstructionSkills and local colleges for details.

To gain entry to an apprenticeship or training scheme, you may have to pass a selection test.


Training is normally provided on the job with day or block release at local colleges or training providers leading to NVQ/SVQ qualifications. You work towards NVQs/SVQs in Decorative Occupations (Construction) levels 2 and 3.

Together with mandatory units covering planning, organisation of resources and setting up of work areas, you take options in:

Painting and decorating - roller and brush techniques for interiors and exteriors, fitting and hanging wall coverings and decorative finishes
Commercial painting - roller and brush techniques for interiors and exteriors, specialised paint finishes and paint spraying methods and equipment
Industrial painting - working on industrial structures, preparation of work areas by special treatments and blasting, and application of industrial finishes.
There is also an optional unit at level 3 for restoration and conservation work which covers normal painting and decorating techniques but also advanced specialised finishes and detailed replica work.
A three-year Construction Apprenticeship Scheme (CAS) is open to people aged between 16-25 in England and Wales, or a four-year apprenticeship in Scotland registered with the Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council. Contact CITB-Construction Skills below.

New Deal schemes may be available for people who have been unemployed for six months or more. These provide an allowance and training and can lead to a job and further training through the CITB. Contact your local Jobcentre Plus for details.

Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs) may be available for people aged 16-24.
For details see: MAPPs (England); Skillseekers MAPPs (Scotland); National Traineeships MAPPs (Wales); and MAPPs (Northern Ireland).


Painters and decorators are employed by building or specialist painting contractors, or by organisations such as local authorities and hospitals as part of a maintenance team. Some companies have particular specialisms such as Artexing, special effects or heavy industrial painting. There may be opportunities to work abroad on contracts. Many are self-employed and work on a sub-contract basis for contractors or for private householders.

It is possible for painters and decorators to progress to a supervisory or technician level, or to move into a specific area of work within a large company, such as estimating.

Annual Income

Figures are intended as a guideline only. The Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council (BATJIC) agrees minimum wage rates annually.

For trainees, depending on the stage of training they are at, salaries range between £7,100 to £13,000.
With qualifications, painters and decorators can earn from £16,600 upwards.
Experienced tradespeople can earn around £25,000 a year.

Overtime and shift allowances supplement income, while self-employed painters and decorators negotiate their own rates.

Further information

CITB-Construction Skills
Bircham Newton
King''s Lynn
PE31 6RH
Tel: 01485 577577

Other Useful Painter and Decorator Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Painter and Decorator job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Painter and Decorator Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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