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What Does a Journeyman Painter Do?

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A journeyman painter works in the construction trades. The journeyman designation indicates completion of formal or on-the-job training as a painter. As a journeyman painter, you will primarily work to apply paint and other finishes to a variety of surfaces. However, you will also use your experience and training to select the proper finishes, equipment and technique to provide the best finished product for the customer.


Working as a journeyman painter, you will apply paint or other finishes in residential, commercial, industrial or other settings. The proper finish and painting technique will vary depending on the object you are painting and the use of the object. In addition to paint, you may also apply primers to a surface to improve the paint’s adherence to the surface or use a sealer to improve the paint’s durability. On some projects you may use brushes and rollers to apply paint or another finish, while on others you may use paint sprayers and other power equipment.

Related Work

In addition to painting, you will work to prepare surfaces for painting. This may require the use of a wire brush, sandpaper or powered equipment that uses water or an abrasive to remove old paint and other debris. You may also fill nail holes, cracks and other imperfections in the surface you are painting. You may also transport and set up ladders and scaffolding on some jobs to reach the area you are painting. In some situations, such as painting building exteriors, bridges and other elevated structures, you may need to use specialized equipment to safely paint a surface.

Advanced Work

With additional training, you may receive specialized certifications that will increase your job skills. You may also be responsible for the completion of some administrative tasks such as estimating project costs, completing invoices and other documentation. As a journeyman painter, you may supervise and teach lower-level painters. With additional experience and training, a journeyman painter may become a master painter or advance into supervisory or management positions.


To become a journeyman painter, you will need to complete a formal education program, complete an apprenticeship program or have a combination of education and experience. However, the specific requirements to become a journeyman painter vary by state or other jurisdiction. Community colleges, vocational schools and labor unions provide training opportunities for you to become a certified journeyman painter. You may also learn the required skills through on-the-job training by assisting an experienced painter and completing simple painting tasks under supervision.


Jay Motes is a writer who sold his first article in 1998. Motes has written for numerous print and online publications including "The Dollar Stretcher" and "WV Sportsman." He holds a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in history and political science form Fairmont State College in Fairmont, W.V.

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