Painter and Decorator Qualifications

painter and decorator qualifications

Painters and decorators really do bring colour into people’s homes or business premises, they carry out the work that others can’t do either because they are working and just don’t have the time to do it themselves or it could simply be the fact that they simply haven’t got the artistic flair that is needed to carry out a job successfully.

Elderly people especially appreciate the work a painter and decorator does as they don’t want the worry of doing it themselves and then causing themselves an injury by going up a ladder for example. Painters have to use a wide range of coverings that will protect and enhance surfaces, these surfaces include, metal wood and plaster.

It’s a great skill to be involved with if you love working with your hands and are artistic.

To become a painter and decorator you’ll need to have good creative skills as well as great practical skills, painters and decorators also have to have a good eye for detail and must be able to work carefully. Sometimes a painter and decorator will have to work up heights so it would be great if this doesn’t bother you.

The majority of employers would like it if you has dome previous on site experience, you can get this experience either by becoming what’s known as a painter and decorator’s “mate” or labourer. You can also gain this experience by getting on an apprenticeship scheme, you’ll be trained up by an expert at their trade who will guide you all the way through your training and will get you right up to the standards that are required to enter into this exciting industry.

A painter and decorator’s work!

A painter and decorator works in domestic locations and also on industrial projects this could range from decorating a person’s home or on a larger scale they may have to apply heavy duty finishes to structures like bridges for example.

If a painter and decorator are working in a domestic location then they would be carrying out work using paint, wallpaper and varnish in order to decorate a person’s home to the way they want it.

 Tasks in the home would include:

  • Stripping off old wallpaper or paint
  • Measuring a surface area in order to work out how much paint you are going to use to complete a job
  • Prepare a surface with undercoat and primer ready for decorating
  • Fill holes or any cracks to make sure the surface is ready for decorating
  • Hang wallpaper
  • Apply layers of paint
  • Mixing paint to get the right colour, they do this either by hand or by using computerised colour matching equipment
  • Tidying up after a job has been successfully finished

With certain jobs you may have to apply some specialist finishes for example graining, marbling and rag rolling.

A painter and decorator will have to reach ceilings by working from a ladder or a raised platform. This is why you shouldn’t be bothered by heights.

If a painter and decorator is working on bridges or a ship for example they would carry out tasks including, removing the old paintwork with abrasive blasting methods, this has to be completed before they can apply the new coatings which include industrial paint spraying equipment. When working on locations like this a painter and decorator would have to wear a safety harness or use a cradle.

Remember that solvents and paints do give off fumes and so you would have to wear a protective mask on your face or you can use fume extraction equipment on certain jobs, if you are working in enclosed spaces.

How many hours do a painter and decorator work?

A painter and decorator will usually work 40 hours a week and that’s Mondays to Fridays. Of course extra hours will be available and you may have to work extra hours if you’re meeting a deadline. You will have to travel from site to site and also remember if you’re working for a company and not for yourself you may have to work away from home and this may involve overnight stays away from home. If you’re going to go self employed hen of course you can set your own rates, days you work and where you work if staying away from home just isn’t an option.

How much will I earn as a painter and decorator?

The starting salary for a painter and decorator is between £14,500 and £17,000 a year. The average salary is between £17,500 and £23,000 a year. If you’re a painter and decorator with supervisor duties or have specialist skills then you could earn over £23,000 a year.

You may also have overtime and also shift allowances and so these wages could be increased further and also if you’re going self employed then you have the added bonus of being able to set your own rates. Also remember that the closer you get to London and the South East the more money you’ll be earning.

What do I need to become a painter and decorator?

When an employer is looking for an employee they usually look for someone who has some experience at their trade, you could get this experience by looking to work for a painter and decorator as a “mate” or labourer. Then once you start working your employer may provide you with the opportunity to take further training.

You could also try and get on an apprenticeship scheme to get this experience where you’re trained up and guided by an expert at their trade.

You could also consider taking a college course or you could train via a training centre.

 Courses will include:

  • Level 1 Award/certificate in Basic Construction Skills (painting and decorating)
  • Level 1 Certificate in Construction Crafts (painting and decorating)
  • Level 1/2/3 Diploma in painting and decorating

If you would like more info on the painter and decorator courses that are available and the entry requirements then contact your local college or training centre.

Further development and training!

As soon as you begin working you could then take even more qualifications work based in order to develop your portfolio even further.

The qualifications are usually split into two areas of work. This does however depend on your job.

The two areas are:

  • Level 2/3 (NVQ) Diploma in Decorative Finishing and Painting Occupations Painter

This includes brush and roller techniques for exterior tasks and interior tasks, hanging wall coverings and fitting coverings, installing coving and ceiling pieces and specialised finishes.

  • Level 2/3 (NVQ) Diploma in Decorative Finishing and Industrial Painting Occupations

This includes the preparation of surfaces with specialist treatments, applying industrial finishes, paint spraying methods and abrasive blasting.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme

There are many building contractors who would like you to have a CSCS card before you can carry out work on their construction site. This CSCS card is your proof that you can carry out a job safely and efficiently with successful results.

In order to gain your CSCS card you must be able to do two things including:


  • You must pass the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test
  • You must be able to prove that you have the competence to carry out a job safely and successfully, your qualifications will prove this.

If you are currently working without any qualifications and you require a CSCS card then you could either use the on site assessment workshop or experienced worker practical assessment (EWPA) schemes. This way you’ll hopefully gain your qualifications and you can gain your CSCS card.

Traditional Building Skills Bursary Scheme

The aim of this scheme is to get skilled workers into trades and reduce the shortage of skilled workers that are working in the built heritage sector and traditional crafts. The scheme does this by organising work based training placements to eligible applicants and also by offering bursaries.

Visit the Traditional Building Skills Bursary Scheme website for more info on this.

Last going off!

So to sum up a painter and decorator should:

  • Be good at creative and practical skills
  • Have the ability to pay close attention to detail and be able to work carefully
  • Have the ability to work as part of a team or alone
  • Be good with heights and have a good sense of balance
  • Be aware of health and safety regulations.

Well that’s about it from me now, as I’m sure you can see becoming a painter and decorator is a fantastic career opportunity with good prospects. You’ll always be in high demand and with this comes peace of mind thanks to the job security that this trade offers.

So good luck with your training and I hope you gain your qualifications to be able to enter into this worthwhile and rewarding trade. All the very best from me!