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Paint Sprayer 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 Paint Sprayer. This page details the following Information:-

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

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Paint sprayers work either as production line sprayers or construction site sprayers.

Production line sprayers deal with products such as new vehicles, white goods (such as ovens and dishwashers), yellow goods (such as mechanical diggers and fork-lift trucks), wooden furniture, and everyday items.

Construction site sprayers apply protective coatings and decorative finishes to steel structures such as ships and bridges. They may also apply decorative finishes to the interior and exterior of buildings. Some of the work may involve abrasive blasting to clean steel structures.

The job will involve:

  • setting up spray equipment correctly
  • making sure materials are processed and mixed to the right specification
  • working cleanly to avoid contaminating materials
  • following written instructions, measurements and drawings for the type of finish required
  • preparing surfaces
  • applying a primer coat of paint, followed by a finishing coat
  • following strict safety regulations to use potentially hazardous materials safely and to reduce the chance of environmental pollution.
  • Paint sprayers use a hand gun or operate automated machinery to apply the paint, and are responsible for the maintenance of the equipment.

Hours and Environment

Production paint sprayers normally work shifts, typically lasting eight hours. Paint spraying is the last part of the manufacturing process, and may involve working overtime.

Most work is done in controlled conditions, usually in specially designed paint or powder booths that have extra ventilation and may be set aside from the rest of a factory.

A construction site paint sprayer will work mainly outdoors, often from ladders or raised platforms.

Spraying can involve standing, bending and stretching and protective clothing must be worn. This may not be a suitable job for people with allergies or breathing problems such as asthma.

Skills and Interests

To be a paint sprayer you should:

  • be able to follow written instructions and keep written records
  • be safety-conscious and responsible
  • be able to work on your own initiative and as part of a team
  • have good hand-to-eye co-ordination
  • be able to work accurately and pay attention to detail
  • be able to handle technical equipment
  • enjoy practical work
  • be able to work methodically
  • have normal colour vision.

There are no specific academic qualifications for a career as a paint sprayer. GCSEs/S grades in English and maths and knowledge of technical subjects, such as CDT or technical drawing may be helpful.

Most new entrants are aged at least 18.

There are current changes in the qualification systems including:

the reorganisation of the Edexcel (BTEC) national and higher national system
the introduction of National Qualifications in Scotland
the introduction outside Scotland of Advanced Subsidiary (AS) levels, vocational A levels, three unit and six unit GNVQs and the Key Skills Qualification.
Universities and colleges are reviewing their entry requirements to take these into account. You should check with them at an early stage.

There is no upper age limit for paint sprayers.

Adults can gain recognition of their skills and experience by working towards NVQs/SVQs. There is open access to NVQs/SVQs - no academic qualifications are required, and there are no age limits.

Past experience can be put forward as evidence of competence, through Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL).

There may be specific training opportunities for adults in some areas for this type of work. You may have to satisfy certain conditions to be eligible. Contact your local Learning and Skills Council (LSC), Local Enterprise Company (LEC), Jobcentre or careers office for details.


Most training is in the workplace under the supervision of experienced sprayers.

Some units of NVQ/SVQ Levels 1 and 2 Performing Manufacturing Operations, and Levels 1 and 2 Performing Engineering Operations are relevant to production paint spraying. NVQ/SVQ Levels 2 and 3 in Painting and Decorating contain units relevant to paint spraying in the construction industry. There are no set entry requirements for NVQs/SVQs.

In the construction industry, most training is provided by equipment and coatings manufacturers on behalf of employers. Training is normally in the form of a two or three-day course at a manufacturers training centre. Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) approved courses are certificated and recognised throughout the industry. Details of courses and providers can be obtained from CITB regional offices.

The Institute of Metal Finishing (IMF) offers relevant courses in paint and powder coatings, and automotive finishing. Candidates need a basic knowledge of maths and chemistry. Courses lead to a Foundation Certificate or Module Certificate. Completion of certain modules leads to the award of a Technician Certificate. Courses are available by distance learning, with some practical work and tutorials. You can get further information from the IMF.

Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships may be available for young people in England. Skillseekers (Scotland), Modern Apprenticeships (Northern Ireland) and National Traineeships and Modern Apprenticeships (Wales) may also be available. Contact your local careers office or Connexions Partnership, Learning and Skills Council (LSC), Local Enterprise Company (LEC), National Council for Education and Training for Wales (ELWa - Education Learning Wales), or Jobcentre in Northern Ireland for details.


The manufacturing and construction industries are the main employers of paint sprayers. Most opportunities are with large manufacturers and specialist coating firms. Opportunities with small firms exist, but many small firms sub-contract work to larger companies.

Initial promotion is normally to paint shop supervisor. However, promotion often depends on what proportion of the business is taken up by paint spraying.

Paint sprayers with relevant qualifications and experience may be able to work in quality control, health and safety, and production and works management.

There is some scope for self-employment.

There may be opportunities for construction paint sprayers to work overseas on large projects such as bridges, ships and oil rigs.

Annual Income

The annual income section is intended as a guideline only.

Paint sprayers working in production earn around £10,900 a year.
People with supervisory tasks may earn around £13,000 a year.
Paint sprayers in construction earn around £15,000 a year.

Further information

Engineering and Marine Training Authority *
14 Upton Road
WD18 0JT
Tel: 0800 282167

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) *
Bircham Newton
Kings Lynn
PE31 6RH
Tel: 01485 577577

The Institute of Metal Finishing
Exeter House
48 Holloway Head
B1 1NQ
Tel: 0121 622 7387

National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some will continue operating for several months. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

From March 2002, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills began licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website:

Other Useful Paint Sprayer Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Paint Sprayer 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 Paint Sprayer 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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