Career Profile: Automotive Painter
If you look out on an average street, you can see cars and trucks in all different colours, from red or blue to black, white, or grey. Some even have several different colours. Automotive painters work with all kinds of vehicles to apply colours to the surfaces, both to make them look better and to protect them. If that sounds interesting, then the job of automotive painter might be right for you.
When vehicles come out of factories, they already have paint on their surfaces. The paint helps them look nice, but it also protects the metal against the water from rain or snow and against the salt and other materials that help to melt the ice on streets in winter. Often, however, the paint can be scraped off in accidents or peel off as the vehicle ages. Automotive painters can work in factories to apply the initial coats of paint or in autobody shops, renewing or replacing the paint where it is needed.
Training for automotive painters usually requires both education and experience. Training programs are available at many trade colleges, and apprenticeships are available through auto dealerships, factories, or many other places that deal with vehicle manufacturing and repair. The training courses might be offered as a block of full-time studies, a longer period of part-time classes, or as a weekly class. Normally, students can complete these classes in a year or less. In many jobs, having Red Seal certification is necessary.
Practical experience is essential for automotive painters. Apprenticeships teach students how to apply the primer and paint, how to deal with small scratches and large scrapes, and much more. Being able to match paint to the colours that are already on the vehicle is important, although labels and codes on the containers can help in this regard.
Automotive painters should also have a certain amount of physical strength and endurance to be able to handle heavy equipment for long periods of time. Being able to do very delicate work while covering small scratches or nicks in the paint is also important. Allergies can be problems for those in this field, and paint fumes can cause health problems for many people.
Being in factories with large machines and heavy equipment all day can be dangerous, as well as quite dusty and dirty, and the painting job itself can involve hazards to the fingers and hands. Nevertheless, people can generally stay in this job fairly late in life, as long as they can still stand for long periods of time and manage the equipment.
Wages in this job generally start at over $17 per hour and can rise to more than $30 per hour, depending on where people work. Many people work full time in automotive painting, but the hours can decrease, or jobs can disappear entirely in an economic downturn.
Since automotive painting depends largely on people’s ability to buy new vehicles or to drive the ones they have, job availability depends heavily on the economy. Large cities and towns have the most opportunities but also the most competition. If this job sounds interesting, why not start looking into it?
Careers.org. “Career Occupational Profile for: Automotive Painter.” www.careers.org/occupations/42424/automotive-painter
College of Trades. “Automotive Painter.” https://www.collegeoftrades.ca/wp-content/uploads/Automotive-Painter.pdf.
Neuvoo.ca. “Automotive Painter.” https://neuvoo.ca/view/?jpos=&jp=1&l=&id=da6310fe8226&lang=en&newjob=1&ss=1&context=serp&testid=talentChamp&nb=true&reqid=578c62efb803daa12694aeeccc6b4988&splitab=1&action=emailAlert.
Payscale.com. “Automotive Painter: Hourly Rate.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Painter_Automotive/Hourly_Rate.