Painters and Paperhangers

Painter Sprays House

Building surfaces are often painted and decorated with various types of coverings for aesthetic appeal and to provide a layer of surface protection. Painters apply paints, varnishes, enamels, epoxy and other types of finishes; often they also prep the surface, which can involve powerwashing, lead containment, fixing wall imperfections, spackling, and caulking. Painters also use steamers to remove wallpaper before painting.

Paperhangers cover interior walls and ceilings with decorative paper, fabric, vinyls, and other types of materials. Though paperhanging is a separate skill, many craftsman do both, although the demand for paperhangers has diminished over the years as most people select paint over wallpaper for their interiors. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are approximately 360,500 painters in the workforce, but only 3,020 paperhangers.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) None
Duties Paint interior and exterior surfaces with brushes, rollers, and sprayers; prep surfaces by caulking, powerwashing, and masking off surfaces; measure interior walls or ceilings, cut decorative wallpaper or fabric to size and apply it to interior walls and ceilings
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $75,000
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities available throughout the country
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
  • Apprenticeship
School Subjects
  • Art
  • Mathematics
  • Technical/Shop
Experience On-the-job training
Personality Traits
  • Artistic
  • Conventional
  • Hands On
  • Drawing/Design
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Certification or Licensing None
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Project Manager
  • Supervisory Painter or Paperhanger
  • Painter or Paperhanger
  • Assistant Painter or Assistant Paperhanger
  • Seasonal Painter or Seasonal Paperhanger