Painters Apprenticeship & Training

Painting Careers: 

Are you interested in a career in the painting business that pays well, provides health care benefits, retirement benefits and paid training and continuing education?

It Means You are a Craftsman: Professional painters are highly skilled crafts people trained to apply paint and coatings to everything from buildings and warehouses to bridges, ships and industrial equipment. Jobs may include creative decorative applications, or specialized wall covering and wood finishes, in homes and businesses.

It Means Pride in Your Work: There is a certain pride in showing your friends and family your work. The work of painting professionals is often in the public spotlight. Whether you painted a hospital, sports arena, bridge or new school, you can bet that thousands, maybe even millions of people will see your work!

It Means Job Variety: Many painters enjoy their careers because they get the chance to work at different job sites. One week you may be painting an office building, while the next week you may be applying decorative finishes to a department store. From bridges, to barges, to buildings, the type of painting you do will vary. As you build your training and job skills, you can look forward to a variety of new challenges.

Join the Apprenticeship Program

The program combines paid, on-the-job work with classroom instruction. The program is designed to provide the training you need to be a Journey level painter.

How Much Does it Cost? There is no charge for classes. Classes begin after you are sent to work.

Who can apply to join this Apprenticeship and Training Program?  You must be 17 years or older and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent.

GED Program Portland Community College

How do I apply? You must fill out an application. Applications are taken during the months of December thru September. During those months  applications are accepted every Tuesday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. You must apply in person.

Where do I get an application for the Apprenticeship program?

Contact: The Painters Apprentice Office
13521 N.E. Whitaker Way Portland, OR 97230
Phone: (503) 287-4856
Applications accepted every Tuesday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.December 2020 through September 2021 or go to

How long is the Apprenticeship program?  It takes approximately three years to complete the apprenticeship program.

Do I have a job during my apprenticeship?  Yes, you will have a paying job with one of the union contractors throughout your apprenticeship. See SPCO member employers 

How much do I earn as an Apprentice?  An apprentice painter starts at 70% of Journey level wage. Your wages are considered for re-rating every six months. You will have wage increases as you progress through the program with the goal of being at full Journey level after approximately three years. (You need 6,000 hours of work experience and all the required classes to be at Journey level.)

Do I have medical and pension benefits when I’m an Apprentice? Yes, the level of benefits are based on your length of work. You will have full medical benefits after three months and pension benefits when you become75% Apprentice which is 3,000 hours or about a year and a half. Qualified union painters receive health, dental, and vision plans as well as pension and vacation plans.

When do I go to class? Plan on attending class one night a week during the school year. Classes are held Monday through Thursday evenings and sometimes on Saturdays at the training center. Classes are scheduled during three school terms; fall, winter and spring.

What kind of classes do I take? Some of the classes you will complete are: Blueprint Reading, Wood Finishes, Specialty Coatings, Color, Sandblasting, Fall Protection, Lead Abatement, Graphics, Drywall, Advanced Drywall, CPR, Health and Safety and Traffic Control.

Does it cost me anything to join the Apprenticeship & Training Program? No. The cost of your training is paid for by the union painting contractors that will employ you. Tools and equipment are available at the training center to use during your classes. For more information, or questions you may call: Bill Regan at: (503)-287-4856.

Pre-Apprentices: If you are a high school student you may qualify to start your painting career now and earn money while you train. As a pre-apprentice, you may be able to work summers and part-time during school. Then once you graduate from high school, you can join the apprenticeship program and earn higher wages immediately. Pre-apprentices earn an average of two-dollars above the minimum wage. For information on the about the Painter’s Pre-apprentice program call (503) 287-4856.