Car Painting

A career in car painting involves cleaning and preparing panels for paint applications. Car painters are required to mix and apply undercoats and clear coats as well as refinish plastic substrates. They perform the prepping and painting of objects on steel body panels. In addition they remove surface paint defects on automotive parts. In these cases, they perform a colour tinting to a blendable match. Car painters use a variety of equipment including sanders, blow guns, painting tools, spray guns and polishers.

Traits and Talents

You should be interested in cars and good with your hands to work in this field. Attention to detail, good eyesight, excellent colour vision and patience are some of the important traits of a car painter. This career also requires good communication and interpersonal skills as car painters are in contact with customers to determine requirements and cost estimates.

Education and Training

  • Completion of secondary school is usually required. 
  • Completion of a two- to three-year automotive painter apprenticeship program or a combination of one year of work experience in the automotive painter trade and completion of a high school or college automotive painting program is usually required for automotive painter trade certification. 
  • Trade certification is compulsory in Alberta and British Columbia and available, but voluntary, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. 
  • Interprovincial trade certification (Red Seal) is also available to qualified automotive painters. 

The Workplace

Automotive painters perform some or all of the following duties: 

  • File, grind and sand repaired body surfaces using hand and power tools 
  • Mask and tape auto body surfaces in preparation for painting 
  • Mix paint, blend and match colors 
  • Apply primers and repaint surfaces using brush or spray guns 
  • Determine necessary application of paint for a thorough coat 
  • Check for runs or sags in the pain the ensure the quality of the product. 

Skills for Success

  • The key Skills for Success for this career path are:

    • Creativity & Innovation
    • Reading
    • Numeracy

Sample Job Titles

  • Automotive painter 
  • Automotive painter apprentice 
  • Painter motor vehicle repair 

Companies and Sectors

  • Dealerships 
  • Independent garages 
  • Specialty repair shops