How Do I Get a Painter Apprenticeship?

Dan Cavallari

Two general paths toward finding a painter apprenticeship exist: you can either contact a local union if one exists, or you can approach local painting companies to inquire about apprenticeship opportunities. You should not have too much difficulty finding a painter apprenticeship, but keep in mind that the pay is likely to be quite low to start. Try to choose an apprenticeship that will allow you to learn as many painting skills as possible; you won't want to simply roll paint onto a wall endlessly, but you should instead seek out a painter who will teach you different techniques that will help you develop into a valuable resource for painting needs.

A painter apprenticeship is an ideal way to learn the necessary skills to become a professional painter.
A painter apprenticeship is an ideal way to learn the necessary skills to become a professional painter.

Joining a painter's union is a great way to ensure job security, health benefits, and in some cases better pay. Find out if a painter's union exists in your area, and call or e-mail the primary contact at the union offices to find out if the union offers a painter apprenticeship. If they do, ask for the appropriate application materials and get your resumé in order. Even if you have limited experience or no experience at all, write a resumé that highlights your work ethic and willingness to learn new skills. Some unions may require a high school diploma before they will consider you for a painter apprenticeship, so be sure to look into the application requirements carefully before you apply.

If you would rather not join a union, you can simply make a few phone calls to local painting companies and inquire as to whether each one offers a painter apprenticeship. Some companies may offer such positions, while others may not. The companies that do not may, however, hire entry level painters with little or no experience. This is a great opportunity to learn the skills necessary to become a professional painter, though again, you are likely to start at a low hourly wage and you will work very hard in such positions. Most hourly positions will not offer health benefits.

Developing your skills before you apply for a painter apprenticeship is important as well. You do not necessarily need to learn painting skills thoroughly, but basic knowledge of the process helps considerably. It is also important to develop a strong work ethic and get used to working long hours in physically demanding conditions. If you currently work at an unrelated job, be sure to work hard and maintain a good relationship with managers or business owners, as painting companies may ask for job references.

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