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How To Become A Licensed House Painter

Establish your business in the painting world with the right licenses and certifications. Know the nuances of becoming a professional house painter and achieving success in this rewarding industry

How to Become a Licensed House Painter

Many are not aware that painting is an extremely in-demand service. With jobs required all year long, the potential to earn stable revenue from this field is immense. However, the educational standards for a house painter are quite minimal. Several learn how to become good house painters through apprenticeship or training programs.

But, these minimum requirements may not cut it if you want to establish a business and become a licensed house painter. Before you begin, you must obtain a painting license from the state where you choose to work. This is essential if you want to start your own painting business or work as a subcontractor. Licensing will significantly open doors to more painting opportunities at higher wages. So if you are wondering how to become a professional painter, read on to find out:

  • The necessary training you will need

  • How to become a licensed painter through apprenticeship

  • Examples of certification courses

  • The license requirements by state 
A list of things you need to become a licensed house painter. How to acquire license and quality checks. Details on house painting apprenticeship.
How to become a licensed house painter | Hoist

Essential Skills And Training To Get Started

  • The main qualities to become a house painter are physical strength and great energy. 

  • It is a great plus if you have a keen sense of design, colors, and the dedication to put in the work. 

  • Being a painter also is not limited to just splashing some color onto walls. You must learn how to patch up the walls, fix up, and tape off parts of the house that need it. 

  • Gain hands-on training as a painter's assistant or through apprenticeship programs. This can greatly add to your experience. The great thing about an apprenticeship is that it offers one-on-one training and pay.

  • One can also choose to enroll in a trade or a vocational school to receive training. These programs are usually offered by contractor organizations or trade unions. Most training offers hands-on exposure, giving the trainee adequate practical experience. 

  • There are plenty of maintenance and construction courses available for painters. This makes sense since painting is a core component of the construction business. 

Why Is So Much Training Needed To Be A Licensed Painter?

Isn't it enough to have decent energy and know how to apply a coat of paint? Well, there is more to even a basic painting job than that, which is why training is crucial. 

Truth be told, there are no minimum educational qualities for house painters. But there are a few things you will need to learn to become a house painter with a license to conduct business.

  • Let us begin with the obvious—the paints. There are various aspects that you need to know within the blanket term Paint. These range from types of paints to stains and textures needed. The type of paint is also heavily dependent on the surfaces that need work, and your desired result.

  • Primers and other materials are needed as a protective coating for walls. As a house painter, you need to know how exactly to apply the primer. You also must know the number of coats required, how long the primer needs to dry, and so on. While the basics of priming remain the same, the type, technique, and purpose vary. 

  • Old paint needs to be removed via scraping and sanding. You need to know what kind of surface the old paint is on. Sometimes, old cracked wood needs a coat of paint stripped before you scrap. Certain other wood types would benefit from sanding and staining directly. 

  • Painters fix and fill in cracks with putty or plaster before applying paint. You must know how to examine every cranny to ensure the surface you’re going to paint is uniform throughout. This would often mean you fill in cracks, replace old and creaking wood, or maybe just sand down chipping platers. The entire random assortment of tasks falls under a painter’s skillset. 

  • Painters are not only responsible for extensive prep, but also the cleanup of the space. This might be the easiest part of the paint job, to simply clean stuff up. But you will learn on the task that there are a few hacks to make the whole process easier. 

But completing your training to become a painter is just the start. To be able to set up and run your business, you will need to get into the nitty-gritty of acquiring a painter's license. Licenses and certifications are essential because they outline the technical skills you have. 

A list of things you need to become a licensed house painter. How to acquire license and quality checks. Details on house painting apprenticeship.
Become a licensed house painter | Hoist

How To Become A Professional Painter Through Apprenticeship

You can become a certified house painter or contractor through an apprenticeship program. Several technical schools offer apprenticeship programs sponsored by contractor organizations and trade unions. To enroll, you need to be 18 and above, have the energy to do the work, and must pass a background check.

So what do you learn in an apprenticeship program to become a licensed house painter?

  • Painting safely when working with various materials, working from heights, and more

  • Types of coatings and what could go wrong if you do not use the correct materials 

  • Corrosion control and how to ensure your paint job lasts 

  • Surface preparation and coatings application

  • Removal of paint 

  • Erecting scaffolding 

  • Application of paint, like on different surfaces, and the use of paint brushes, rollers, etc.

  • Hanging wallpapers 

  • Creating color schemes 

And so much more. Each program is developed to cater to specific needs. It doesn’t hurt to take more than one course if you have the time. Or find one comprehensive course. It depends entirely on your availability, time constraints, and ability. 

Most apprentices in these programs complete 100 hours of classroom training each year. Simultaneously, they also work full-time assisting experienced painters. Emphasis on the word work as they usually get paid to do so. Typically, a paid apprenticeship program can take 3-4 years with comprehensive on-the-job training.

At Hoist, we offer comprehensive training with everything you need to get licenses. Keep reading to know more about Hoist’s training program and what we offer. 

Some Courses You Can Take To Receive Professional Certification

  1. SSPC’s Online Fundamentals of Protective Coatings is available in English and Spanish. Students enrolled in the course can complete it in a period of 16 weeks. They also offer the four-year Protective Coatings Specialist certification for advanced painters. It teaches coating applications and surface preparation and covers various managerial topics. This course takes about four hours to complete.

  1. There is also the EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program (RPR). This program is necessary for all painting contractors. It certifies them to work with lead-based paints often found at construction sites. The course covers the risks of working with hazardous materials and the appropriate safety measures. 

  1. The National Painting and Decorating Institute provides a Pro Painters Course. It helps contractors improve their staff's basic training and their own business skills. This course has over 390 video tutorials. 

What Are The Statewise License Requirements?

The requirements to become a licensed house painter varies from state to state. This is due to the different standards by the local, state, and federal governing bodies. Certain fundamental rules apply across all states for getting a license. One is that the age of applicants must be 18 years and above. They must also pass a background check to ensure they are eligible to work in the state. These checks tend to look for criminal records and citizenship. It also examines the ability to work, including work visas. 

Some state regulations require nothing more than a business license. This typically includes just filling out a lot of paperwork. Others require passing an exam and having certain hours of experience under your belt. This is where your training comes in handy. 

Some states only require a license when the project exceeds a specific estimation. Others mandate a license for specific types of projects. Some states have written licensing exams and may require painters to be bonded. Some local governments also need a residential endorsement. 

It can be a little tricky to figure out what is applicable where. There are several regulations from different governing bodies. We have attempted to give you an overview of the license requirements in various states.

Here are some states that make a painter’s license mandatory:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansaw (for jobs that pay over $2,000)
  • California (for jobs that pay over $500)
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Iowa (if you earn over $2,000 annually) 
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Vermont
  • New Jersey
  • West Virginia
  • North Carolina, 
  • Tennessee, 
  • North Dakota (for jobs that pay over $4,000) 
  • Rhode Island 
  • South Carolina 

States that require painters to pass an exam to obtain their license:

  • Arizona (separate for residential and commercial painters)
  • Florida 
  • Georgia (license needed for any project over $2,500)
  • Massachusetts 
  • Michigan
  • Nebraska (in counties that have populations of 100,000 or more)
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico 
  • Ohio
  • Oregon

States that do not require painters to have a license before operating a business 

  • Colorado 
  • Idaho
  • South Dakota
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky 
  • Missouri
  • New York 
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming 
  • Pennsylvania 

When painting homes or daycare facilities built before 1978, you must have lead safety certification. Refurbishment work can expose the lead-based paints found in many older structures. To avoid this, this certification is required by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Protective Coatings Association or the NACE International Institute provides this certification.

You can browse through this guide for more details on the license requirements by state.

Benefits Of Having A License 

The obvious benefit to getting your license is the ability to conduct your business. We have also listed some other advantages of having a license: 


Want to be a self-employed professional or someone with a full-fledged painting business? It is necessary to get the right insurance to protect yourself from accidents at work. Most state licenses mandate insurance, so you need to get one before working as a painter. It is easier to obtain insurance for work when it’s for a specific license like a painter's license. 

Market yourself the right way: 

Clients and contractors may be willing to hire you if you know you have a state painting license. This is because the license ensures that you, as a painter, have done your due diligence. You have obtained the necessary training and passed an exam for your certification. 

Better revenue:

Having a license establishes that you have the skills to carry out a job to fulfillment. This will increase trust in your brand. As your credibility increases, you can also price your services higher. Customers will be ready to pay for a reputable service even if it comes at an additional cost.

While the benefits are great, the whole process of training and licensing can seem overwhelming. From the paperwork to the research, there are a lot of things to consider! That’s where partnering up with platforms such as Hoist can help. 

What Can Hoist Do For Your Painting business?

Hoist’s main mission is to help painters start, run and grow their own businesses! From building your website to providing an expert community, we have covered everything. And that includes training too!

  • We offer virtual training courses designed by industry experts. They cover a wide range of skills required as a painting contractor. 

  • Our training course neither has a deadline by which you need to finish it nor is it long and drawn out. You can complete the course at your own pace. 

  • Our curriculum covers the skills you need as a painter and also gives you in-depth information on domain knowledge. This includes estimation, pricing, and other details pertinent to running your business.

  • We also provide weekly group coaching classes with experts from Hoist. They will guide you through your goals and lead you on the path to becoming a successful house painter. 

Apart from this, we also provide you with a powerful tool to create your own website. You can access our unique schedule and customer management tool that helps you store all your customer’s data in one place. Plus, we offer you a guaranteed and risk-free lead generation service that can help you grow your business without much hassle.

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg! So go ahead, and take a deep dive into our feature-rich platform. And get in touch with our experts to kickstart your painting business.

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