AUTOMOTIVE PAINTERS refinish old and damaged cars, trucks, and buses in automotive body repair shops. Automotive painters are among the most highly skilled manual spray operators because they perform detailed work, mixing paints to match the original color of the vehicle. They prepare vehicles for painting, remove or mask parts they do not want to paint, and apply multiple coats of paint to vehicles. They may place the freshly painted vehicles under heat lamps or in a special infrared oven. A sealer is then applied and allowed to dry, followed by the final topcoat.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $47,000 average per year ($22.50 per hour)
- A medium occupation (43,300 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow slowly (0.1% per year)
Most AUTOMOTIVE PAINTERS start as helpers and gain their skills on the job. Becoming skilled in all aspects of automotive painting usually requires one to two years of training. Some automotive painters are sent to technical schools to learn how to mix and applying different types of paint. High school, trade or vocational school, or community or junior college training in automotive painting and refinishing may substitute for up to one year of experience.