Career Profile: Industrial Painter and...

Career Profile: Industrial Painter and Decorator

by Jason LeBlanc
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Industrial painters in Ontario apply paint, varnishes, and other coatings to a range of materials and surfaces, as instructed by their employer. They work primarily in construction and manufacturing, painting structures or industrial commodities according to specification.

Most industrial painters come trained or experienced in a specific area of the industry, such as residential home painting, automotive painting, or machinery painting. Typically, an industrial painter works part of a team, though this does depend on where in the painting industry one is located.

Due to painting being applied to a wide variety of structures, an industrial painter will work in a variety of different working conditions. As an industrial painter, it can require climbing, bending, kneeling, and stretching.

It is common to work in dry, warm weather, and to experience long days. At times, it may require working at extreme heights and in uncomfortable positions, sometimes suspended by ropes or cables as work is completed.

Education or Experience required

Industrial painting does not require prior education or experience. Most painters learn their trade on the job however others learn through an apprenticeship opportunity. These types of apprenticeship opportunities can last as long as four years, though local unions may have other requirements.

An apprenticeship can help instruct how to use and care for tools and equipment, how to prepare surfaces, mix and match paint, how to read blueprints, different application techniques, characteristics of different finishes, and safety practices.

Not all employers seeking an industrial painter and decorator will require these skills, many seem to prefer them – any type of industrial training and certification, experience mixing colors, and a valid driver’s license. Above all else, one must be able to physically do the work.


The industrial painter job market is expected to grow by as much as 20 percent in the next decade. This is higher than average for other occupations. In Ontario, industrial painting continues to be a growing field, consistently in demand as it pertains to construction, renovation, and maintenance work for both residential and commercial customers.

The lowest pay offered in industrial painting is in the $22,000-$24,000 range. The average annual salary for industrial painters ranges from $35,000 to $40,000. More experienced painters earn as high as $61,000 and higher. Many apprenticeships offer a lower wage, with standard pay increases scheduled as an industrial painter learns to do more. Industrial painters who specialize in specific areas of painting, such as painting bridge structures, tend to be provided with a higher pay than others.

Roughly 41 percent of all industrial painters are considered self-employed. As an independent contractor, you can set your own schedule. Job prospects continue to be good due to the growing industry. Due to the fact that there are no formal education requirements, the barriers to entry are low.

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