Painters and paperhangers
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Construction and Maintenance Painters
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Overview
Painters apply paint, stain, and coatings to walls and ceilings, buildings, bridges, and other structures.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for construction and maintenance painters are expected to grow by 6%, and should have about 38,700 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
The likelihood of autmoation for ${title} is near the middle of all careers' likelihoods.
Workforce size
Construction and maintenance painters, with 381,500 workers, form a larger workforce than 88% of careers.
Education
Only 5% of painters and paperhangers have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by painters and paperhangers
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer painters and paperhangers have bachelor's degrees than 83% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for 67% of all other jobs is higher than the middle salary for construction and maintenance painters . The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most construction and maintenance painters .
This job's median $39KAll jobs' median $39K$38K$38K20142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 5% of painters and paperhangers -- that's a smaller percentage than 85% of other jobs.
Gender of painters and paperhangers
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For painters and paperhangers, the median men's salary was 13% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 11% of painters and paperhangers are minority, and 47% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of painters and paperhangers
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (47%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Construction and Maintenance Painters per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 16% of painters and paperhangers, and 27% have company-sponsored health insurance (13% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for painters and paperhangers
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of construction and maintenance painters who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (65%)
  • Time Pressure (61%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (57%)
  • Exposed to High Places (57%)
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings (51%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions (33%)
  • Consequence of Error (31%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do painters and paperhangers earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. In particular, the ACS data is reported for the larger career group painters and paperhangers, which combines the data for 2 careers, including construction and maintenance painters . Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data is classified by SOC specialty, and excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for construction and maintenance painters , and then we show how the middle (median) salary for construction and maintenance painters compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for construction and maintenance painters (BLS Salary Data)
$39K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$39K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. Additionally, we only have ACS survey data for the larger career category and not for the specialty level. We first show the full salary distribution for all painters and paperhangers, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for painters and paperhangers compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for painters and paperhangers (ACS Salary Data)
$29K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$29K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where construction and maintenance painters work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Painters and paperhangers (ACS)
Private for-profit (67.1%)
Private not-for-profit (2.0%)
Local government (1.5%)
State government (0.8%)
Federal government (0.7%)
Self-employed incorporated (6.3%)
Self-employed not incorporated (21.4%)
Working without pay (0.2%)
Distribution: Salaries of painters and paperhangers by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses. These salaries were reported for the larger career group of painters and paperhangers, which combines the 2 specialties for this career.
$29K$27K$28K$36K$47K$30K$41K$43K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of construction and maintenance painters by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS. Remember that the BLS salaries are for the specialty construction and maintenance painters , and may differ signficantly from the ACS salary estimates which combine several career specialties.
$39K$54K$54K$38K$51K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for painters and paperhangers

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$33K$32K$27K$26K$29K$28K$32K$32K$20K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
020K40K60K80KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Painters and paperhangers and gender

With 5% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 85% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
5%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Painters and paperhangers
Men (95%)
Women (5%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for painters and paperhangers, with the median salary for men 13% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$26K$29K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Painters and paperhangers have one of the middle percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job higher than that for 35% of other jobs.

13%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of painters and paperhangers

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a smaller percentage of minority painters and paperhangers than for 88% of other careers. Although this career does not include a large percentage of minorities, it does hire more foreign-born people that most other careers.

Race/origin of painters and paperhangers
White (71% )
Other (18% )
Black (5% )
Hispanic (2% )
Multiracial (2% )
Asian (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
11%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
47%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for painters and paperhangers by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$25K$26K$27K$28K$30K$30K$33K$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KOtherAmerican IndianHispanicMultiracialBlackWhiteAsianPacific Islander
Distribution: Salaries for painters and paperhangers by nativity
$26K$31K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by construction and maintenance painters

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction and maintenance painters typically hold no formal educational credential.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as painters and paperhangers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for painters and paperhangers.

Education attained by painters and paperhangers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for construction and maintenance painters

There are no formal education requirements to become a painter, although some technical schools offer certificates in painting and some workers learn to paint in apprenticeship programs.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for construction and maintenance painters

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 National Association of Home Builders, through the Home Builders Institute, offers Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT), which provides entry-level training for painting and other construction occupations.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for painters and paperhangers? Below we see the distribution of painters and paperhangers salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as painters and paperhangers, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$25K$30K$32K$36K$34K$32K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KNone (35%)High School (40%)Some College (16%)Associate's Degree (4%)Bachelor's Degree (4%)Master's Degree (1%)
Certificate/degree pathways

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click the program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Program
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Less than bachelor's
bachelor's degree
Higher than bachelor's
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Painting/Painter and Wall Coverer
39
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for painters and paperhangers

What jobs will most painters and paperhangers hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of painters and paperhangers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Painters and paperhangersConstruction laborersCarpentersManagers (specialized areas)Construction managersJanitors and building cleanersGrounds maintenance workersHand laborers and freight, stock, and material moversPainting workersPipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for painters and paperhangers

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 7 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as painters and paperhangers as well as 1% of respondents after working as painters and paperhangers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for painters and paperhangers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Janitors and building cleaners
350,300
$0$200K$27K
Grounds maintenance workers
191,100
$0$200K$23K
Construction laborers
153,300
$0$200K$30K
Carpenters
113,800
$0$200K$34K
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
Construction managers
34,800
$0$200K$66K
Painting workers
17,800
$0$200K$34K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for painters and paperhangers: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as painters and paperhangers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of painters and paperhangers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for painters and paperhangers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Cooks
358,700
$0$200K$21K
1.3%
Janitors and building cleaners
350,300
$0$200K$27K
1.3%
Grounds maintenance workers
191,100
$0$200K$23K
1.3%
Construction laborers
153,300
$0$200K$30K
5.3%
Carpenters
113,800
$0$200K$34K
2.5%
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
2.5%
First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
70,600
$0$200K$56K
1.5%
Painters and paperhangers
39,300
$0$200K$29K
52.6%
Construction managers
34,800
$0$200K$66K
1.5%
Painting workers
17,800
$0$200K$34K
1.1%
No occupation
11.7%
Read about construction and maintenance painters
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Painters typically do the following:

  • Cover floors, furniture, and trim with drop cloths, tarps, and masking tape to protect surfaces
  • Remove and replace pictures and outlet and switch covers
  • Install scaffolding and raise ladders
  • Fill holes and cracks with putty or plaster
  • Prepare surfaces 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 or other finishes, using hand brushes, rollers, or sprayers

Paints and other sealers protect surfaces from damage caused by weather, sunlight, and pollution.

There are several ways to apply paint to a surface, and painters must choose the correct tool for each job, such as a roller, power sprayer, or brush. Choosing the right tool typically depends on the type of surface to be painted and the characteristics of the paint to be used. Some employers require painters to provide their own equipment.

Painters may 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.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of construction and maintenance painters ? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Color vision
Painters must be able to identify and differentiate between subtle changes in color.
Customer-service skills
Painters who work in residential settings often interact with clients. They must communicate with clients in order to help select colors and application techniques.
Detail oriented
Painters must be precise when creating or painting edges, because minor flaws can be noticeable.
Physical stamina
Painters should be able to stay physically active for many hours, because they spend much of the workday standing with their arms extended while climbing ladders.
Physical strength
Painters must be able to lift up to 50 pounds, and they move numerous heavy items during the course of a job. For example, a 5-gallon bucket of paint weighs more than 40 pounds.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for construction and maintenance painters
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) for 67% of all other jobs were higher than the median (middle) salary for construction and maintenance painters . This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $39KAll jobs' median $39K$40K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for construction and maintenance painters are anticipated to grow by 6% over the next decade; 57% of jobs are projected to grow more.

The projected employment for construction and maintenance painters is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

20002010202020300200,000400,000600,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most construction and maintenance painters ? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as construction and maintenance painters . You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all painters and paperhangers, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Number of Construction and Maintenance Painters per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.01.02.03.04.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where construction and maintenance painters earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for painters and paperhangers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for painters and paperhangers.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all painters and paperhangers, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Median salary ratio: Construction and Maintenance Painters to all workers (BLS for this specialty)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which construction and maintenance painters earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.5
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Painters and paperhangers (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
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Physical Abilities
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