How to Become a House Painter:
The Definitive Guide

Houses come in all shapes and colors in today’s society, from blue to white to green.

Luckily, there are skilled professionals who can handle painting homes and buildings in order to make communities beautiful.

There’s no set education for someone who is interested in becoming a House Painter, but in order to gain knowledge and hands-on experience, apprenticeships are available.

Time in the field and experience are the best ways to obtain a long-lasting career as a House Painter.

What is a House Painter?

Have you ever seen someone up on a ladder running a paint roller back and forth?

If so, you’ve probably witnessed a house in the middle of being painted.

Most people who become House Painters do so by working with house painting companies through apprenticeships or hands-on experience.

With all of the proper tools for the job, a House Painter can become licensed to work on their own as well in many states.

Some House Painters work on the outsides of homes, others work on the walls indoors.

There are House Painters who do both, as well.

With a career as a House Painter, you can expect to climb ladders to paint second-story homes, as well as the interiors of the home.


You’ll need to have a steady hand to become a House Painter, as detailed work is sure to arise.

There are some other tasks that a House Painter must complete throughout the day as well, including:

  • Removing old paint coatings
  • Preparing and cleaning job-site
  • Mix colors to create the perfect hue
  • Apply paint to the interior and exterior walls
  • Cleanup and remove debris from job-site


When working as a House Painter, you should expect to make about $44,000 a year on average with a couple of years of experience.

The starting salary for a House Painter will likely be a little lower, around $27,000 to begin.

With many years of experience, certifications, and even owning your own company, a House Painter can make more than $67,000 a year in some areas.

Having relevant credentials, great reviews, and hands-on experience will guarantee higher salary for House Painters.

Those who work for themselves or build their own business will often make more than House Painters who work for large companies.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $47,140


Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$50,830
New Hampshire$43,980
New Jersey$56,600
New Mexico$38,500
New York$60,840
North Carolina$37,840
North Dakota$41,440
Rhode Island$45,900
South Carolina$39,900
South Dakota$40,100
West Virginia$40,630
Puerto Rico$21,420
Virgin Islands$40,840

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is New York, where the average salary is $60,840.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New York - $60,840
Hawaii - $59,070
Illinois - $58,430
New Jersey - $56,600
Alaska - $54,360
*Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become a House Painter

Step 1Get an Education

You don’t need to have extensive education in order to work as a successful House Painter.

What you need is experience, and there are a couple of ways of obtaining experience in this career field.

Many House Painters have a high school diploma, which is necessary in order to obtain the most employment after graduation.

If you do choose to earn a degree, it’s possible to gain an Associate’s degree in an area like Construction Management, Painting, or even Mechanics.

In order to gain the proper education, make sure that you take courses in:

  • Math
  • Science
  • Humanities
  • Project Management
  • Business Ethics

Most Associates degrees for House Painters require some type of apprenticeship.

An apprenticeship can be done through a company or a college program.

This type of experience will allow aspiring House Painters to work with knowledgeable people in construction businesses and painting companies to gain hands-on education.

Some apprenticeships even pay their House Painters to work and go to school.

An Associate’s degree can take about two years to finish, and an apprenticeship can last anywhere from 1-4 years.

Step 2Become Certified

In order to become a House Painter, most states require that individuals or companies gain licensure and certification.

This shows customers that you have the knowledge and morals to do a good job painting their homes or buildings.

How do you become certified?

Well, there are several steps to take, depending on which state you work in.

Many states require that individual contractors gain licensure for each painting job they take.

Others require licensure for only jobs over $50,000.

It’s important to look up your state’s requirements so that you don’t get in any legal trouble.

To become certified, it’s likely that you will need to pay a fee of around $150, and for those who wish to earn advanced certifications, an exam may be required.

Step 3Gain Experience

If you’ve been through an apprenticeship, you should have gained quite a lot of experience working as a House Painter.

The best type of experience you can get in this field is on the job.

An apprenticeship is a great way to gain experience, but for those who don’t want to go through all that, getting hired at a contracting company or construction company is your best bet.

This is because you are able to get acquainted with all types of customers and clients, as well as paint many different types of buildings and homes.

Those with at least two years of experience can expect to become a Journeyman House Painter, and even lead a crew in some companies.

Working with a company can help those who don’t have certification, as they won’t need it if the company has it.

Step 4Further Your Career

After you work many years as a House Painter and become so good that you could paint a house with your eyes closed, you may want to think about furthering your career.

This could mean starting your own house painting business, becoming the Project Manager at a company, or finding other work in the construction business.

Whatever you choose to do is up to you, working as a House Painter can be a great step into the world of construction.

Easy ways to further your career include learning business and building codes, how to read blueprints, and familiarizing yourself with construction.

Another way to succeed as a House Painter is to become licensed.

A license can show clients and customers that you have all of the necessary knowledge to do a great job.


It is possible to graduate high school and then start a career as a House Painter.

However, most House Painters who are successful in their career become an apprentice at a painting company or contractor in order to gain experience.

There are other House Painters who want to earn an Associate’s degree, which is a great plan as well.

An Associate’s degree in a construction-related field or in painting will suit this career.

Most apprenticeships take anywhere from 1-4 years and require that you have at least 114 technical hours each year.

When it comes to on the job training, most apprenticeships require at least 2,000 hours of experience a year.

There are several areas to specialize in for an apprenticeship:

  • Industrial painting
  • Factory painting
  • Construction painting
  • Artisan painting

Not only does an apprenticeship allow you to work on the job with real House Painters, but there will also be a requirement to gain an education.

Within an apprenticeship, the types of specialties you will learn include:

  • Preparing surfaces
  • Mixing and matching paints
  • Cleaning and using equipment
  • Safety procedures

Those who are looking for a more formal education should consider earning a certificate or obtaining an Associate’s degree.

An Associate’s degree will take about two years to finish for full-time students, but a certificate program can take anywhere from 6 months to one year.

Many community colleges and universities don’t have a painter curriculum, so your best bet is to enter into a program that has to do with the construction field.

In these types of programs, you will learn many things about the construction world, including courses such as:

  • Carpentry
  • Building Construction Technology
  • Painting
  • History
  • Math
  • English

A certificate program can provide the same types of classes as an Associate’s degree but may cost a bit less.

Video About The Career

Certification and Licensing

Before you begin a career as a House Painter, you will need to make sure of your state’s requirements as it pertains to the law.

Each state has its own rules about how House Painters, contractors, and companies should ensure their work.

Most employers will require licensure or certification as well.

There are some states that don’t require licensure at all:

  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

Some states require that contractors or House Painters become licensed on a local level, but not at the state level.

It’s even possible that a town in your state requires licensure, but your state doesn’t.

Always check with your local municipality before completing any painting work.

For the states that do require licensure, many also require that you pass an exam.

With each licensure comes its own set of rules, for most states a House Painter will be required to have:

  • A background check
  • A bond
  • To pay a fee (anywhere between $200 and $800)
  • A passing grade on the exam

The exams also vary between states, but most exams consist of 100 questions and require at least 75% to pass.

To find out more information about exams, search for your local municipality and see if they offer training or exam prep.

For those looking to enhance their career as a House Painter, earning certification may be the perfect step.

The National Center for Construction Education and Research offers certifications and certification programs.

Within these types of programs, you will learn things like:

  • Safety training
  • Skill-based training
  • OSHA certification
  • CPR/First aid certification

These types of programs can be found in community colleges or trade schools across the United States.

Many of these certifications and licensures can be obtained online, but they do require in-person work experience to be eligible.

Average Training Program Duration: 2-4 Years

The training to become a House Painter can take as little as 6 months and as much as four years.

This all depends on the type of training you receive.

An apprenticeship can take four years, and provide ample training to have a great career as a House Painter.

A certification program may take about 6 weeks to several months to finish.

Each state has its own requirements, so the length of time can vary.

Popular Programs

Job Outlook

If you are looking to join the career of house painting because you are expecting many more job opportunities in the future, you are mistaken.

There will be little to no change in the growth of career opportunities over the next decade for House Painters.

Even though there won’t be a rise in this career, there won’t be a fall either.

Those who are interested in working as a House Painter can find great opportunities in larger cities or with townships working on public buildings.

Most new career openings for House Painters will come from retirements and people leaving the field to find other careers.

Employment Growth Projection: 5%


That's a higher than average projected growth of 18,300 jobs.

House Painter: Interest Over Time

Should You Become a House Painter?

Overall Satisfaction: Medium

Overall Satisfaction

This job may seem somewhat entertaining, but many House Painters say that the career is like…well…watching paint dry.

Sometimes, this job can be fun, but it can also be dangerous when working in tall buildings.

Another issue with this career is that it doesn’t pay well, because there’s no formal education needed to work as a House Painter.

House Painters who are self-employed find that their careers are much better than if working for a large painting company.

Average Salary: Medium

Average Salary

It can be quite lucrative to work as a House Painter, especially after several years of experience in the field.

Many House Painters make about $44,000 a year on average.

This is true for those with at least two years of experience because when just beginning a career as a House Painter, you should expect to make closer to $27,000 a year.

Creating your own business or working for yourself can also provide higher salaries as well.

Those who own a house painting company or work for themselves can make over $67,000 a year.

Job Growth Outlook: Low

Job Growth Outlook

There won’t be any growth in this career in the next ten years or so.

The reason that there won’t be many more career opportunities for House Painters in the near future is due to the fact that house painting doesn’t require specific education, and those who work in this career often go on to find higher-paying jobs.

Expect to see most career openings as a result of someone retiring or leaving the house painting career.

That doesn’t mean this career won’t still be around, as we’ll all still need homes in the future.

Education Duration: 2-4 Years

Education Duration

There is no formal education in order to work as a House Painter.

Many people who want to work as a House Painter start right out of high school.

Most house painting companies will hire people and train them on how they want their paint to look.

This can be done through an apprenticeship, which can take anywhere from 2-4 years.

Or, hands-on experience, which is nearly the same thing as an apprenticeship.

Those who have experience working with paint and painting tools will find that an apprenticeship takes less time.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

Being a House Painter seems like it may be simple, swiping a roller back and forth.

However, many other things go into being a House Painter.

To have success in this career, you’ll need to possess the following traits:

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • Painting skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Ability to prioritize
  • Ability to work alone and with a team
  • Understanding of safety
  • Not afraid of heights
  • Time-management skills

Often, as a House Painter, you will need to make choices on your own quickly, so good decision-making skills are a must as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the average salary for a House Painter?

Most entry-level House Painter jobs will garner around $27,000 annually.

With a couple of years of experience, some education, and credentials, it’s possible to make up to $67,000 a year as a House Painter in some areas.

The average salary for a House Painter, though, is around $44,000 a year.

This isn’t too bad considering most house painting careers don’t require any formal education beyond a high school diploma or GED.

Q. What does a House Painter do?

A House Painter gathers all of the information needed in order to make your home or building beautiful.

They also work tirelessly painting, trimming, and repainting both interior and exterior walls.

To do this, a House Painter must have dexterity, flexibility, and not be afraid of heights.

Some House Painters are required to use ladders or scaffolding in order to paint tall homes and buildings.

Q. How long does it take to become a House Painter?

It shouldn’t take too long to become a House Painter.

Some companies hire House Painters right out of high school.

Others may require that their House Painters have some type of formal education.

This can be done through an apprenticeship, earning an Associate’s degree, or even earning a certificate in the field.

Most apprenticeships take anywhere from 1-4 years.

An Associate’s degree can take about two years to obtain, and a certificate may take about one year.

Q. What is the demand for House Painters?

People are always going to live in houses, and since house paint only lasts about 10 years,  House Painters aren’t going anywhere.

However, there won’t be any increase in career opportunities over the next decade for this career.

Steady job opportunities will still be available, but most House Painters move on to other careers in the construction business or return to school, leaving the career.

Most career prospects will come from people retiring or leaving the house painting industry.

Q. How much does it cost to become a House Painter?

It shouldn’t cost much to become a House Painter unless you want to earn a degree or certificate.

An apprenticeship to be a House Painter should be free, and you’ll likely be paid to work and go to school at the same time.

However, an Associate’s degree can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000, depending on where you go to school.

Certificate programs and licensure can cost anywhere from $150 to $1,500.

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