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Powder coater (spray painter)

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Summary of occupation

Powder coaters apply paint and other industrial coatings to vehicles and a range of other manufactured items. They inspect the vehicle or surface they will be painting, clean and prepare it, remove rough spots and sand or treat the surface, apply an undercoat to the surface, and mix and prepare the paint for application. They may use computerised paint mixing technology to do this. They spray-paint or powder coat the vehicle or article, check the quality and depth of their paintwork and polish the finished product.

ANZSCO description: Operates spray painting equipment to paint and apply other industrial coatings to manufactured items.
Alternative names: Automotive Refinisher
Specialisations: Automotive Spray Painter, Industrial Spray Painter
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A spray painter needs:

  • practical and manual ability
  • creative flair
  • problem-solving skills
  • the ability to undertake detailed and intricate work
  • no allergies or breathing problems
  • the ability to stand or bend for long periods of time
  • normal colour vision
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Working conditions

Powder coaters either work in automotive body repair shops and panel beaters, or in industrial workshops, factories and paint shops. Conditions may be noisy, and they may be on their feet for extended periods. Some Powder coaters may travel to perform their work on-site. They work regular hours but may be required to work overtime depending on their workload. They are exposed to paint in particle form, which can be highly toxic, and requires that they wear protective gear such as masks.

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Salary details

On average, powder coaters, classified under industrial spray painters can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.

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Tools and technologies

Powder coaters use a range of different paints and spray guns, including powder-coat and electrostatic spray guns and metal arc spraying equipment. They also use sanding and grit-blasting machines, cleaning and rinsing materials, pre-treatment tanks and a range of chemicals. They are usually required to wear protective clothing including masks. Some spray painters may be required to drive fork-lifts, cranes and trucks to travel to jobs or reach areas to be painted.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a powder coater without any formal qualifications and get training on the job, however you may improve your chances by completing a qualification. 

You can complete a traineeship. The powder coater traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Related videos

Spray painter Video Spray painter Occupation

Spray painters apply paint and other industrial coatings to vehicles and a range of other manufactured items.

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