• These are two separate skills, but many craftsmen learn to do both. The methods of preparation and application are different, but both jobs are concerned with covering walls and surfaces.

    Painters prepare surfaces and apply paint, varnish, enamel, lacquer, and similar materials to wood, metal, or masonry buildings using brushes, rollers or a spray gun. Painters also mix pigments, oils, and other ingredients to obtain the required color and consistency.

    Paperhangers also prepare surfaces, measure and cut wall coverings to size, paste, position and match designs, and work the air bubbles out to leave a smooth surface. A wide variety of specialized tools are used as well as a variety of fabric, vinyl, or other materials.

    Working Conditions

    Painters work on floors, walls, ceilings, and equipment in interiors, and outside on everything from foundations to watertowers and flag-poles. Odors from paints, thinners, or shellac are usually present. Painters may work alone or in crews. Painters and paperhangers stand, stoop, turn, crouch, crawl, kneel and frequently climb scaffolds and ladders. Safety in this occupation depends on caution and safe practices while working.

    Aptitude and Interest

    Applicants should be able to work with numbers and work well with their hands. To qualify for some jobs the ability to distinguish between colors might be necessary.


    To become a skilled painter or paperhanger training is essential.

    • learning-by-working
    • company on-the-job training programs
    • trade or vocational/technical school
    • unilaterally (management or labor) sponsored trainee programs
    • through registered, labor-management apprenticeship programs
    • or a combination of the above


    It is generally accepted that the more formalized training programs give more comprehensive skill training. Recommended high school courses include art, chemistry, general shop, interior decorating, math, and woodwork finishing.

    Click here to learn more about all of the training opportunities in the Boston area



    - 0 – 749 hrs = 50% of Journeyperson’s wages - 750 – 1499 hrs = 55% of Journeyperson’s wages - 1500 – 2249 hrs = 60% of Journeyperson’s wages - 2250 – 2999 hrs = 65% of Journeyperson’s wages - 3000 – 3749 hrs = 70% of Journeyperson’s wages - 3750 – 4499 hrs = 75% of Journeyperson’s wages - 4500 – 5249 hrs = 80% of Journeyperson’s wages - 5250 – 5999 hrs = 90% of Journeyperson’s wages - 6000 + = journeyperson’s wage