Art Painter
How to Become an

Art Painter

The complete career guide to be an Art Painter: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $54,170
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 3%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute

Art painters typically commission their paintings and other artwork to private clients or corporate collections, put them on display at cultural spaces such as art galleries or museums.

Recommended Schools

What is an Art Painter?


As an art painter, you can expect to complete the below duties:

  • Prepare a surface before starting to paint, which includes using sandpaper, scrapes and wire brushes to get rid of old paint residue, plugging holes with putty, and washing ceilings or walls.
  • Consult with clients for more information regarding project plan, like the timeline and assigned budget, type of surface to be painted on, colour scheme envisioned and the finish of the paint needed.
  • Assess the job site and make on-site preparations which includes cleaning once the product is complete; this encompasses building scaffolding or covering fixtures to minimise the spread of paint spills and dust from sanding.

Day In The Life

Most dedicated art painters believe their work goes deeper than a job, since it is a lifelong pursuit. You can expect to spend long hours alone, working on paintings at various stages of completion. Some part of your day would also go into performing research regarding the latest trends in fine arts and new ways to express your creative talent through unique symbols or themes. This is a vital part of the daily routine of artists so they can reaffirm their art techniques and find creative inspiration in different perspectives.

Due to the niche community, artists often share studio spaces to work on their projects. So, some part of the day-to-day life will involve interacting with other professionals in the field and exchanging feedback on existing art or passing along potential job opportunities.  A few art painters pursue other work instead of taking this on full-time. For example, teaching art concepts like oil painting, sketching and watercolour, at various educational institutions such as schools and colleges to build others’ artistic capabilities.

Work Schedule

Successful art painters work for long periods of time, up to 50-60 hours per week. Since there are no conventional office timings, artists may also work over the weekends and holidays, especially if there is a specified deadline for an art project. Preparation for an artwork takes a significant part of the time, e.g. preparing the canvas or material, sketching, cleaning required accessories like brushes and knives, framing and mounting. Other responsibilities can require occasional travel, such as teaching art classes, speaking engagements, attending an art club meeting, meeting with clients or delivering a finished painting, conducting research and purchasing necessary materials.

Growth Of The Job

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that painting jobs are predicted to increase by 7% between 2014-2024, which is around the national average for all professions. Those possessing knowledge of multiple art styles will hold an advantage over other aspiring candidates in this career sector. There are a few ways that art painters consider their profession to be successful. For instance, having sold a number of artworks to private collectors or companies, displaying one’s work of art at leading art galleries and companies in the area, and being hired at a full-time position such as at a museum or gallery for the role of archivist, curator or art director.

Typical Employers

As a professional art painter, you can expect to work for independent contractor companies, construction and urban development businesses, government building authorities, building management institutions, cultural institutions like libraries, universities and museums, or private clients.

Recommended Schools

How To Become an Art Painter

There is no set formal education required for a fine arts career as an art painter. However, to develop your craft for the long haul, you are advised to complete a minimum of a high school diploma, and follow up with a school of fine arts qualification. Depending on the type of painting you are involved with, you can choose between a traditional degree or specialise at an art school.

If you are choosing a career which includes restoring or preserving priceless paintings, you can advance your skills with a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree. Coursework in art and painting helps to build your own style of painting and gain an understanding of the foundation principles of art. Knowledge of art history will equip you with various painting techniques used by master artists through different historical periods. Completing an apprenticeship with an experienced artist, is another alternative for art painters wanting to get ahead in the field and expand their networks.

Art Painter Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Art Painter salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Art Painter's can make an average annual salary of $54,170, or $26 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $29,250 or $14 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #337 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Art Painters

  • 1.9%   Doctorate
  • 12%   Masters
  • 45%   Bachelors
  • 9%   Associates
  • 18.4%   College
  • 10.7%   High School
  • 3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Art Painter job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 800 jobs for a total of 27,100 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 3% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #519 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Art Painters

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 14,300 100 0%
Independent artists, writers, and performers 3,400 200 0%
Other miscellaneous store retailers 600 --- ---

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