Painter And Decorator

Job Description:

Painters and decorators apply paint, wallpaper and other finishes to the inside and outside of buildings.

Job Category:
Engineering & Construction

What you will do:

In this job, you will:

  • work out how much paint or wall covering is needed for a job
  • lay down dust sheets and prepare materials
  • strip off old wallpaper or layers of paint
  • fill holes and cracks and make sure surfaces are level
  • cover surfaces with primer and undercoat
  • mix paint to the right shade, often using computerised colour-matching equipment
  • apply coats of paint or hang wallpaper
  • add special finishes like stains, varnishes or marbling
  • tidy up after finishing, and clean your tools


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • business management skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Painter and Decorator, specific qualifications are not typically required, but having a good general education and some relevant skills and knowledge can be beneficial. Most individuals in this profession learn through on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or vocational courses. However, here are some suggested qualifications that may help you in this career:

  1. Mathematics and English: These core subjects are valuable in almost any career as they improve your communication skills and numerical abilities. Being able to accurately measure, estimate materials, and calculate costs is important in painting and decorating.
  2. Design and Technology: Design and technology can provide you with a foundation in practical skills, materials, and tools, which can be very useful when working as a Painter and Decorator.
  3. Art: While not essential, art can help you develop an understanding of colour theory, aesthetics, and design principles, which are important in the decorative aspect of the job.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


You could take a college course. In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Diploma in Painting and Decorating
  • Level in On Site Construction

This will teach you some of the skills you’ll need and help you to find a job as a trainee with a decorating company.


You could do a painter and decorator intermediate apprenticeship.

This will usually take 2 to 3 years to complete.


You could work as a painter and decorator’s labourer or ‘mate’. Your employer may give you the chance to take further training on the job to become a qualified painter and decorator.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 42-44 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends occasionally.

You could work at a client’s business or at a client’s home. Your working environment may be at height. You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a team supervisor or move into related areas like estimating, contract management, interior or set design.

You could work in heritage conservation, or set up your own business.

You could also move into apprentice training or teaching in a further education college.