What a Career in the Painting and Decorating Industry Looks Like 1

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Have you recently finished schooling and are wondering which profession to pursue? Perhaps you are looking to transition between industries? Before you make your decision, it is important that you first address your strengths and weaknesses, formulate a list of possible occupations to which you would be best suited, and then learn all you can about them to gauge whether this is the right path for you.

If you have an eye for colour and detail, enjoy producing fine work with your hands, and are immensely creative, then you might want to consider a career in the painting and decorating industry.

In this blog, we will explore what a career in painting and decorating looks like, as well as provide some helpful information on how you can get started in the industry, including obtaining a Certificate III in Painting and Decoration, or transferring skills previously into credits through recognition of prior learning.

The Role

The main purpose of a painter and decorator is to apply paint, wallpaper and a range of other finishes to a residential or commercial property’s interior and/or exterior surfaces to achieve a desired effect. This could be with buildings, landmarks, bridges, and really anything else with aesthetics that could benefit from a professional touch up. Employment possibilities range like most other trades, from being contracted by construction and building maintenance companies, or they could operate their own businesses.

In the role, you can expect to:

  • Prepare and clean surfaces/remove existing wallpaper or paint
  • Repair holes, dents or cracks in the wall
  • Erect and install scaffolding
  • Mix and thin paint
  • Give advice regarding colour selections, wall coverings and so forth
  • Deliver cost estimations
  • Measure, cut and apply wallpaper/fabric
  • Apply paint, stains, lacquer or varnish to surfaces using a collection of brushes, spray and rollers.

Working Conditions

Painters and decorators follow similar working schedules to most occupations: 5 days a week, 8 hours each day (40-hour workweek). Overtime and start and finish times will vary depending on a multitude of factors, including the construction sector and region you are employed under, peak periods, and weather conditions, should you be required to work outside. Naturally, if someone runs their own business, their working hours will be set at their discretion.

While not as demanding as other trades, painting and decorating is still manual labour, and can prove physically tiring, especially for those new to the role. Standing for extended periods, lifting equipment above your head, balancing on ladders or scaffolding – the body is always getting a workout. It is certainly a good way to stay active and save on gym memberships. The important thing to remember is that safety is paramount. All painters and decorators undergo training on how to perform their work in a manner that aligns with health and safety guidelines.

How to Get Started

Most people enter the industry by undergoing an apprenticeship, completing both classroom studies and practical, on-the-job experience, in hopes of obtaining a Certificate III in Painting and Decorating. In order to achieve the qualification, a candidate must demonstrate competency in a total of 27 units, with 23 core units, including planning and organising work, calculating and costing construction work, and OHS requirements, as well as 4 electives, such as graffiti removal and the application of protective paint coating systems.

If you have previously worked in a role that has required you to complete tasks covered in these units, it is always viable to consider recognition of prior learning. This will allow you to obtain recognition of your existing skills from a registered training organisation, meaning you do not have to repeat learning something in which you are already competent.