Coating, Painting, and Spraying Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
51-9124.00

Set up, operate, or tend spraying or rolling machines to coat or paint any of a wide variety of products, including glassware, cloth, ceramics, metal, plastic, paper, or wood, with lacquer, silver, copper, rubber, varnish, glaze, enamel, oil, or rust-proofing materials. Includes painters of transportation vehicles such as painters in auto body repair facilities.

Sample of reported job titles: Automotive Painter (Auto Painter), Automotive Refinish Technician (Auto Refinish Tech), Coater Operator, Hand Sprayer, Industrial Painter, Paint Technician (Paint Tech), Painter, Powder Coater, Spray Painter, Top Coater

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Dispose of hazardous waste in an appropriate manner.
  • Hold or position spray guns to direct spray onto articles.
  • Spray prepared surfaces with specified amounts of primers and decorative or finish coatings.
  • Monitor painting operations to identify flaws, such as blisters or streaks, and correct their causes.
  • Disassemble, clean, and reassemble sprayers or power equipment, using solvents, wire brushes, and cloths.
  • Fill hoppers, reservoirs, troughs, or pans with material used to coat, paint, or spray, using conveyors or pails.
  • Clean equipment and work areas.
  • Apply rust-resistant undercoats and caulk and seal seams.
  • Start and stop operation of machines, using levers or buttons.
  • Determine paint flow, viscosity, and coating quality by performing visual inspections, or by using viscometers.
  • Attach hoses or nozzles to machines, using wrenches and pliers, and make adjustments to obtain the proper dispersion of spray.
  • Turn dials, handwheels, valves, or switches to regulate conveyor speeds, machine temperature, air pressure and circulation, and the flow or spray of coatings or paints.
  • Observe machine gauges and equipment operation to detect defects or deviations from standards, and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Examine, measure, weigh, or test sample products to ensure conformance to specifications.
  • Buff and wax the finished paintwork.
  • Use brush to hand-paint areas in need of retouching or unreachable with a spray gun.
  • Thread or feed items or products through or around machine rollers and dryers.
  • Weigh or measure chemicals, coatings, or paints before adding them to machines.
  • Operate auxiliary machines or equipment used in coating or painting processes.
  • Remove materials, parts, or workpieces from painting or coating machines, using hand tools.
  • Record operational data on specified forms.
  • Operate lifting or moving devices to move equipment or materials to access areas to be painted.
  • Prepare and apply stencils, computer-generated decals, or other decorative items to finished products.
  • Set up portable equipment, such as ventilators, exhaust units, ladders, or scaffolding.
  • Adjust controls on infrared ovens, heat lamps, portable ventilators, or exhaust units to speed the drying of surfaces between coats.
  • Apply primer over any repairs made to surfaces.
  • Fill small dents or scratches with body fillers and smooth surfaces to prepare for painting.
  • Mix paints to match color specifications or original colors, stirring or thinning paints, using spatulas or power mixing equipment.
  • Remove grease, dirt, paint, or rust from surfaces in preparation for paint application, using abrasives, solvents, brushes, blowtorches, washing tanks, or sandblasters.
  • Sand and apply sealer to properly dried finish.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology
Hot Technologies are requirements most frequently included across all employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 87% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 79% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 70% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 65% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 74% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 69% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Time Pressure — 68% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 76% responded “Every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 64% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 47% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 48% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 65% responded “Very important.”
  • Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — 55% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 37% responded “Limited freedom.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 44% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Physical Proximity — 54% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 58% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 32% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Contact With Others — 36% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 40% responded “Important.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 51% responded “40 hours.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 28% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 48% responded “Very important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 53% responded “Moderate results.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 33% responded “Limited responsibility.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 41% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 32% responded “Every day.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education
These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, tellers, and dental laboratory technicians.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

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Knowledge

  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 63%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 27%
     
    responded: Less than high school diploma required
  • 7%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without "giving out" or fatiguing.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Dynamic Strength — The ability to exert muscle force repeatedly or continuously over time. This involves muscular endurance and resistance to muscle fatigue.
  • Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

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Interests

Interest code: RCI
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$18.81 hourly, $39,130 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2021)
160,000 employees
Projected growth (2021-2031)
Slower than average (2% to 3%)
Projected job openings (2021-2031)
16,600
State trends
Top industries (2021)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2021-2031 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2021-2031). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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