Painters and Decorator

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
Openings 5 years to November 2019: 25,001 to 50,000
Median weekly earnings: $921 to $1050
Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
Being a painter and decorator is not just about slapping on the odd coat of paint. Its a job that requires good communication and problem solving skills, and an eye for detail.

There are currently around 4,600 painters and decorators employed in South Australia. Employment is largely full-time and most work in the construction industry. Most persons in this occupation are male and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. This occupation has an older age profile with over half of painters and decorators aged 45 years or older.

TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Painters and Decorator

Accredited (Award)

  • Painters and decorators add a certain style and flair to homes, commercial properties and industrial sites by sizing up what's needed to decorate or give a new lease of life to surfaces or objects. Their skills also include knowing exactly how to apply paint or other desired finishes to these surfaces. It's a client's prerogative to ask for a quotation so that they have a rough idea of what the job will cost them. To do this, painters and decorators calculate the amount of materials required for the job at hand, and measure out the surface or object that they will be working on. Once the quote is accepted, the painters and decorators can get down to the real hands on work.

    Artistic and CreativeOutdoorPractical and Manual

  • To become a qualified Painter and Decorator it is a good idea to get the right training. As 48% have a Certificate III or Certificate IV you will need the advantage of a qualification to secure yourself a job.

    TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Certificate III in Paining and Decorating. Pathways include the Certificate II Program in Construction (Paining and Decorating) and Certificate II Program in Construction Pathways (Specialising in Painting and Plastering).

    SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

  • Painters and decorators are usually employed by painting and decorating contracting firms, or are self-employed contractors. Some work may be found in government agencies concerned with public works, housing and railways. In general, the demand is dependent on the level of building and renovation activity.

    Advancement to supervisory positions, technical training or sales work is possible.

  • Clearing away the surface first, they remove old paint or wallpaper, and repair any cracked or damaged surfaces. All surfaces must be cleaned before a finish is applied. They then mix and apply paints either by brushing, rolling or spraying on paint, or applying a decorative finish such as colour glazing, stencilling or marbling and lettering. A qualified painter and decorator and field training officer says, he has turned his hand to renovating residential properties. ''Painting and decorating is great because it's an occupation that offers other interesting career paths. I also run a colour consulting company. Clients such as new home buyers or people renovating their homes will get consultants like myself to come in and help them choose home colour schemes. It is a very rewarding career. So you really can do a lot as a qualified painter and decorator.''

  • As you've probably concluded already, good colour sense and a broad knowledge of different painting and decorating techniques are also a huge plus if you're to do this type of work well. Painters and decorators also require good communication skills when dealing with clients. They must understand the needs of the client to prevent costly mistakes. Basic maths and problem solving skills are very useful in helping to avoid these mistakes. Many of the tasks involved in this occupation can be somewhat routine. Someone considering working in this job should be able to cope with routine, and be able to stay focussed, if they're to find this work satisfying. Physical fitness is also a bonus for carrying those heavy tins of paint, and remember, it can take many hours, days, even weeks, to complete a job. These tradespersons also need to be practical, reliable and punctual in order to do their work efficiently and on time.

  • Work hazards include some of the products used by painters and decorators like chemicals that give off strong and dangerous fumes. These include paint and a range of other chemical solutions. When undertaking work indoors, protective measures must be taken to ensure that these work areas are well ventilated. Another hazard of the job is using scaffolding, ladders and cradles at great heights. It is essential that all of this equipment is erected safely and correctly to prevent accidents. So, if you are afraid of heights, you'll have to overcome this fear if you want to work in this field. Painters and decorators also use specialised equipment such as spray guns, so they must learn how to use these properly.

    For further information, contact:

    Master Builders Association of South Australia Inc
    PO Box 10014 Adelaide BC SA 5000
    Ph: 1800 067 466 or (08) 8211 7466
    Fax: (08) 8231 5240
    Internet Address:

    Master Painters Australia
    South Australia Association
    Postal Address: PO Box 2435 Burnside SA 5066
    Office Hours: Monday to Friday - 9:00am to 5:00pm
    Mobile: 0414 351 756
    Natalie Cunningham
    Operations Manager