Career Profile: Automotive Painter
Cars and trucks come in all kinds of colours; from plain white or black to blue, yellow, and green. When the vehicles come from the factory, the paint is bright and unscratched. Once people start driving the vehicles, however, the paint may get scratched or chipped due to accidents, weather damage or age. Automotive painters are the people who can help make cars look nice and protect them from rust and other damage.
Paint on cars makes them look nice, but it also helps protect them from the kind of damage that comes from rain and the salt that keeps drivers from sliding on icy roads. It also helps people to identify their own cars quickly and easily. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to find your car if every vehicle were painted the same colour?
The first step in the process is to repair any damage like dents or broken parts. Automotive painters sometimes do the repairs themselves, but if they lack the knowledge or facilities for this type of work, the might let others finish that part before they begin their work.
Since vehicles come in many different colours, painters have to try to match the exact shade of red or blue or green that the original paint contained. They mix different kinds of paint and add special protective chemicals like sealers.
Next, workers might have to sand around the area that needs paint or use chemicals and power tools to remove any loose chips or anything else that could make the surface uneven. They put protective tape around the area to keep other parts of the vehicle clean and then start to paint.
Painters might use many different tools for this part of the work, including spray painters and small brushes. Then, painters blend the newly done colour in with the old so that it all looks the same and then, after the paint is dry, they use a special tool to buff the area so that it shines.
Being an automotive painter usually involves a combination of formal training and on-the-job experience. It can be creative work, especially in trying to match paint colours to each other, but it also involves some knowledge of mathematics for calculating the amounts of each paint to use. It sometimes includes some accounting or bookkeeping, especially in small repair shops with few employees. There is also specialty automotive painting where people request a specific design unique to their personality; this requires talent and knowledge in art. Auto art is like getting a tattoo but on your car instead of your skin. Average wages for automotive painters in Canada are about $21 per hour, and annual salaries are between about $33,000 and $66,000.
A career as an automotive painter can be rewarding and interesting job for anyone who loves to work with vehicles; does that describe you? If so, check it out!
Careers.org. “Occupation Profile for Automotive Body and Related Repairers.” http://www.careers.org/occupations/49-3021.00/automotive-body-and-related-repairers
Industry Training Authority. “Automotive Painter (Automotive Refinishing Technician).”
Monster.ca “Automotive Paint Technician.”
Payscale.com. “Painter Automotive Salary (Canada).” http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Painter_Automotive/Hourly_Rate.