Painters and Decorators (except Interior Decorators)

(NOC 7294)

in All Trades and Transportation

Painters and decorators apply paint, wallpaper, and other finishes to interior and exterior surfaces of buildings and other structures. They work for construction companies, painting contractors, and building maintenance contractors, or they may be self-employed.

Job Outlook

average

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  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 75 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2022

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 4040 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 8425 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

Outlook: average, mostly balanced conditions in the labour market.
Size of occupation in Nova Scotia: large with regular job opportunities.
Demand: Approximately 40 opportunities are estimated for Halifax, and 40 outside Halifax. Employment growth will lead to several new positions. Some positions will become available due to employee turnover. There are a moderate number of unemployed workers with recent experience in this occupation. Employment can be seasonal with more opportunities in the summer months. Several positions will become available due to retirements.
Workhours: both full-time and part-time are common. Bother permanent and temporary positions are common.

Hourly Pay

$15.00

Minimum

$20.00

Median

$30.97

Maximum

Annual Pay

$2,891

Minimum

$18,963

Median

$51,100

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$15.00

Minimum

$24.00

Median

$37.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Painters and decorators apply paint, wallpaper, and other finishes to interior and exterior surfaces of buildings and other structures. They work for construction companies, painting contractors, and building maintenance contractors, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties

Painters and decorators:

  • Read specifications to determine quantities of materials required.
  • Prepare and clean surfaces using methods like scraping, sanding, sandblasting, hydro-blasting, and steam-cleaning.
  • Remove old wallpaper and loose paint.
  • Repair cracks and holes in walls and sandpaper and apply sealer.
  • Mix and thin paint to obtain desired colour and texture.
  • Apply paint or other materials like stains, lacquer, enamel, oil, varnish, fibreglass, metal coating or fire retardant using brushes, rollers, or spray equipment.
  • Measure, cut and apply wallpaper or fabric to walls.
  • Assemble and build scaffolding and swing stages.
  • May advise customer on selection of colour schemes and choice of wall coverings.
  • May provide cost estimates to clients.

Sample job titles

  • construction painter
  • house painter
  • industrial maintenance painter
  • painter
  • painter and decorator
  • painter and paperhanger
  • residential painter

Skills

  • Good colour sense
  • Manual dexterity
  • Comfort with heights
  • Strength to move heavy ladders or set up scaffolding
  • Precision and thoroughness
  • Physical stamina
  • Eye for detail
  • Ability to plan work
  • Knowledge of many types of finishes, their properties, and their applications
  • Ability to calculate areas and relate calculations to required material
  • Communication and customer service skills

Job requirements

  • High school or equivalent (usually).
  • Over three years of work experience in the trade is necessary to be eligible for trade certification.
  • Trade Qualifier option, 8,100 hours, and other criteria.
  • Certification for painters and decorators is voluntary in Nova Scotia.
  • Write and score a minimum of 70% on the Red Seal exam for painters and decorators.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) allows for interprovincial mobility.

Other considerations

  • Painters and decorators work both indoors and outdoors. They arrange their work commitments so they will be outdoors in late spring, summer, and early fall, and indoors in late fall and winter.
  • They may work with some physical discomfort when preparing surfaces or applying coatings in awkward positions. They must stand for long periods.
  • Risks include injury from falling off ladders, scaffolds, or swing stages, and from working with hazardous chemicals like paint thinners and removers.
  • Some painters and decorators may work for years on a single site. Others may work for contractors that rarely work on the same site more than once.
  • Jobs in the construction industry are affected by seasonal changes and economic conditions. Work may be on a project basis. Workers should be prepared for periods of unemployment.
  • Experienced painters and decorators may advance to supervisory positions for painting contractors or in other related fields like construction management, instructing, estimating, or building inspection.
  • Everyone has fair access to participate and succeed in the apprenticeship system. Everyone who develops the necessary skills and abilities should be able to succeed in the trades and trade qualification system. Work environments in the province support women and equity-seeking communities.

By the numbers

Quick look

1,425

employed in 2016

66.0%

employed full-time

37.2%

self employed

14.4%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
85.6%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
50.8

median age

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

57,925

employed in 2016

85.9%

employed full-time

11.8%

self employed

5.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

44.9%

Halifax

$22,069 median annual income
17.9%

Annapolis Valley

$16,789 median annual income
13.7%

Southern

$18,054 median annual income
12.6%

North Shore

$14,601 median annual income
10.9%

Cape Breton

$29,991 median annual income

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

76.2%

Construction

5.9%

Real estate and rental and leasing

3.5%

Public administration

3.0%

Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services

2.5%

Transportation and warehousing

What is the age of Employment?

28.0%

55-64

23.0%

45-54

15.0%

35-44

13.0%

25-34

11.0%

15-24

10.0%

65+

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

24.4%

45-54

22.1%

55-64

17.7%

35-44

17.7%

25-34

10.9%

15-24

Top levels of education

35.8%

High school

$19,342 median annual income
30.5%

Less than high school

$15,694 median annual income
17.5%

Trade Certification

$29,296 median annual income
9.5%

College Diploma

$16,940 median annual income
5.3%

Bachelor

$17,340 median annual income

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.2%

Trade Certification

$46,494 median annual income
25.5%

High school

$31,260 median annual income
22.3%

College Diploma

$42,050 median annual income
18.7%

Less than high school

$28,319 median annual income
2.8%

Bachelor

$30,527 median annual income

Education & training

High School Diploma or Equivalent

High School Program

Adults without a high school diploma can contact the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) for tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL oversees adult education programs in Nova Scotia. NSSAL partners with the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations to deliver programs. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Painter and Wall Coverer

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to apply technical knowledge and skills to finish exterior and interior structural surfaces by applying protective or decorative coating materials, such as paint, lacquer, and wallpaper. They include courses in surface preparation; selecting, preparing, and applying paints and other coatings; hanging wallpaper; equipment operation and maintenance; finish selection; safety and clean-up; environmental effects on finishes; adhesion properties; and applicable codes and standards.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Painter and Decorator

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, but a certificate is not needed to legally work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS

Contacts

Construction Association of Nova Scotia
Dartmouth, NS
BuildForce Canada
Ottawa, ON
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
Halifax, NS
Atlantic Home Building and Renovation Sector Council
Halifax, NS
Mainland Nova Scotia Building Trades
Lakeside, NS
Merit Nova Scotia
Halifax, NS
Cape Breton Island Building and Construction Trade Council
Sydney, NS
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Local 39
Lakeside, NS
Building Trades Advancement College of Nova Scotia
Lakeside, NS

Additional resources