Painting and coating workers typically do the following:
Painting and coating workers apply paint, varnish, rustproofing, or other types of liquid treatments to finish and protect products. They often use machines to spread the liquid over large surfaces but may use handtools on small items or hard-to-reach surfaces.
Before workers apply the paint or other coating, they prepare the surface by sanding or cleaning it to prevent dust from becoming trapped under the paint. They also may cover portions of the product with tape and paper to prevent the paint or coating from touching those areas.
After the product is prepared, workers may use a number of techniques to apply the paint or coating. Common techniques include spraying products with paint or coating and dipping items in a large vat of paint or other coating. Many factories use automated painting systems. Workers may measure the paint thickness using a coating thickness gauge or painter meter.
The following are examples of types of painting and coating workers:
Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders use spraying or rolling machines to apply lacquer, enamel, or other coatings to a variety of products, such as cars, boats, and glassware. These workers position the spray guns, set the nozzles, and synchronize the action of the guns with the speed of the conveyor carrying products through the machine. During the process, they program the machine, tend the equipment, watch gauges on the control panel, and check products to ensure that they are being painted evenly. The operator may use a manual spray gun to touch up flaws.
Painting, coating, and decorating workers use manual spray guns, pens, or brushes to apply various coatings to furniture, glass, pottery, toys, books, and other products. They also may immerse pieces into the liquid and place the coated items into ovens or dryers to harden the finishes. In addition, these workers examine products to be sure that they meet specifications.
For information about workers who paint walls, equipment, buildings, bridges, and other structures, see the profile on construction and maintenance painters.
Painting and coating workers usually need a high school diploma or equivalent for entry-level positions. However, some employers hire candidates who do not have formal educational credentials.
Some automotive painters attend vocational-technical programs in which they receive practical instruction in mixing and applying different types of paint.