Paint spraying is needed in the production and maintenance of vehicles. During vehicle manufacturing, paint spraying is generally carried out by specialist machinery, but in the case of repairs or custom vehicles, a skilled technician will be required.

Perfecting car bodywork by repairing chips and scratches is the main responsibility of a paint sprayer. They can also be involved in manufacture and construction, and in customisation. This means that paint sprayers can be based at manufacturing plants, auto repair centres, or will work from a mobile workshop.

As a paint sprayer you will have to set up equipment, mix materials correctly and achieve the right consistency. You will spend a lot of time preparing the surfaces of the vehicle before applying primer and paint. You will have to maintain equipment and ensure that paints are stored correctly.

What does a paint sprayer do?

Day-to-day responsibilities might include:

  • Preparing paint spraying equipment.
  • Preparing the bodywork of the car.
  • Mixing paints to the right colour and consistency.
  • Applying several coats to the car, including primers, colours and protective finishes.
  • Maintaining and cleaning equipment.
  • Storing paints in the correct conditions.
  • Managing inventory of paints and equipment.
  • Ensuring that you always follow safety procedures.

What qualifications do you need to become a paint sprayer?

There are a few different routes you can take to get into paint spraying. Apprenticeships can be done in manufacturing or motor vehicle finishing. The availability of these apprenticeships will vary according to where you live and the requirements of local automotive firms. Work experience in areas such as automotive repair or manufacturing could help you stand out with prospective employers. There are also several college courses that you can take to learn a lot of the skills needed for this position:

  • BTEC Certificate/Diploma in Vehicle Technology levels 2 and 3.
  • City and Guilds Entry Level Award in Vehicle Systems and Body and Paint Maintenance.
  • City and Guilds Certificate/Diploma in Vehicle Body and Paint Operations
  • Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) awards in vehicle Body and Paint Operations (Refinishing) levels 1 to 3.

It’s important to note that paint sprayer jobs require you to have normal colour vision.


What skills do you need to become a paint sprayer?

Attention to detail: You will need to have a high level of accuracy and an eye for detail to make sure that the finish of the paint is of the highest standard

Concentration: When spraying by hand you will need to concentrate for extended periods of time.

Coordination: You will need to have good levels of dexterity to apply accurate and consistent layers of primer and paint.

Record Keeping: You will need to be able to maintain records about the work you carry out and keep accurate records of stock levels.


How much does a paint sprayer earn?

Starting salary: £14,000 to £17,000

Experienced: £18,000 to £24,000

Senior: £25,000 to £30,000

These figures are intended as a guide and come from the National Careers Service.

Take a look at the map below to find out what the average paint sprayer salary is in your area. The figures come from 2017 InAutomotive data.

What are your career prospects as a paint sprayer?

You could progress to become a paint technician. This usually requires an IMI Accreditation. To become a technician, you will need to complete five modules in topics such as Colour Identification and Colour Variant, and Surface Preparation. To become a senior technician you will need to complete a further four modules, including topics such as 3 Stage Pearlescent Paint (application), and Paint Defects & Rectifications Procedure.

If you are based at a manufacturing plant, there might be opportunities to become a supervisor or manager. With experience you could move into a role such as quality control inspector.

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