Painter apprenticeship

Description of an apprenticeship as a Painter

Table of Contents

Painter apprenticeship

DOT code: 840.381-010, AIMS code: 0379

Visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook for a detailed description of this trade. Type the trade name in the Search box and hit Enter.


Applies coats of paint, varnish, stain, enamel, or lacquer to decorate and protect interior or exterior surfaces, trimmings, and fixtures of buildings and other structures: Reads work order or receives instructions from supervisor or homeowner regarding painting. Smooths surfaces, using sandpaper, brushes, or steel wool, and removes old paint from surfaces, using paint remover, scraper, wire brush, or blowtorch to prepare surfaces for painting. Fills nail holes, cracks, and joints with caulk, putty, plaster, or other filler, using caulking gun and putty knife. Selects premixed paints, or mixes required portions of pigment, oil, and thinning and drying substances to prepare paint that matches specified colors. Removes fixtures, such as pictures and electric switchcovers, from walls prior to painting, using screwdriver. Spreads dropcloths over floors and room furnishings, and covers surfaces, such as baseboards, door frames, and windows with masking tape and paper to protect surfaces during painting. Paints surfaces, using brushes, spray gun, or paint rollers. Simulates wood grain, marble, brick, or tile effects. Applies paint with cloth, brush, sponge, or fingers to create special effects. Erects scaffolding or sets up ladders to perform tasks above ground level. May also hang wallpaper and fabrics. May wash surfaces prior to painting with mildew remover, using brush.

Work process schedule

Task Hours
A. Preparation of surfaces: wood and composition; masonry and concrete; metal, plaster, painted; drywall finishing and surface treatment.  
B. Operation and care of tools and equipment: brushes, rollers, etc; spray painting equipment; miscellaneous hand and power-driver tools including sand and water blasting equipment; ladders, scaffolding, and rigging.  
C. Safety 125
D. Materials used in painting and decorating 1500
E. Planning and estimating 375
F. Matching and mixing colors 150
G. Application of materials - interior and exterior 750
H. Striping and texturing 150
I. Blending and glazing 150
J. Stenciling and shellacking 150
K. Detail work and finishing 375
L. Clean up 150
M. Specialization - As required to meet individual needs 1375
(Every 2,000 hours = one year) total hours: 6000

Related technical instruction

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires 150 hours each year of related technical instruction which must be mastered by the apprentice in order to successfully complete the program. The following is a general listing of instruction topics for this trade. For further information, please call the Division of Apprentice Standards at (617) 626-5409.

First year
Shop math
Basic paining
Mixing and coloring paints
Chemistry of paint compounds
Use and care of step and extension ladders
Color combinations
Spotting, masking, and sanding

Second Year
Use of spray gun
Use of lacquers
Use of flat, enamel, and latex paints
Quality of paints
Oil and water-base paints
Shellacking and varnishing
Wax, filler, stain, and tinting

Third Year
Protective priming and applying finish coat
Interior and exterior sanding
Removal of old paint, varnish, and shellack
Finishing of wood and metal trim
Polishing of woods
Use and care of equipment

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