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So, you want to embark on a painting career? Here’s your guide to getting started.

Known as the finishing trade of the building industry, painting and decorating encompasses areas such as internal and external painting and decorating on a variety of surfaces, and includes the decoration of new and existing homes, medical centres and hospitals, shopping complexes, hotels and heritage listed buildings. 


What qualifications do you need to become a painter in Australia?

To pursue a career as a painter in Australia, aspiring individuals typically need to complete a Certificate III in Painting and Decorating or an equivalent qualification. Through hands-on training, you'll gain the skills and knowledge to do a wide scope of work in the painting and decorating industry — preparing surfaces; applying paint with brushes, rollers, and spray guns; hanging wallpaper; and making highlight walls. You'll also learn to perform measurements and calculations and read and interpret building plans and specifications. Additionally, gaining practical experience through an apprenticeship is common in the industry, helping painters refine their craft under the guidance of experienced professionals. It’s crucial to stay updated on industry standards, safety regulations, and emerging trends to thrive in the dynamic field of painting.

What are the different career paths that can be taken from completing a Certificate III in Painting and Decorating?

Completing a painting and decorating course opens various career paths. Graduates can pursue roles such as:

Residential Painter: Work on residential projects, painting homes and apartments.

Commercial Painter: Take on larger projects, such as painting offices, retail spaces, and other commercial buildings.

Industrial Painter: Specialise in painting structures like bridges, pipelines, or industrial facilities.

Decorator: Combine painting skills with an eye for design, offering services in colour consultation and aesthetic enhancements.

Restoration Specialist: Focus on restoring historical or damaged structures, utilising painting, and decorating skills to revive architectural elements.

Entrepreneurship: Start a painting business, managing projects and a team of painters.

Supervisor/Manager: Progress into a leadership role, overseeing painting projects and coordinating teams.


Diversifying skills through additional courses or certifications can further enhance career opportunities, allowing individuals to adapt to different aspects of the industry.

How much does a qualified painter earn in Australia?

In Australia, the earnings of a qualified painter can vary based on factors like experience, location, and the type of projects undertaken. On average, a qualified painter with several years of experience can earn between AUD 60,000 to AUD 80,000 per year. However, those with specialised skills or in managerial positions may command higher salaries.


It’s important to note that wages can differ across states and territories due to variations in living costs. Additionally, self-employed painters may have income influenced by the volume and type of projects they secure. Staying updated on industry trends and acquiring additional certifications can contribute to career advancement and potentially higher earnings.


What ATAR score is required to qualify for a Certificate III in Painting and Decorating?

In Australia, Certificate III courses, including Painting and Decorating, typically do not have specific ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) requirements. These courses are generally more focused on vocational training rather than requiring high academic scores for entry.


Admission to a Certificate III in Painting and Decorating is commonly based on meeting prerequisites like having completed Year 10 or equivalent education. Prospective students may also need to undergo an interview or assessment process to ensure they have the basic skills and aptitude for the program.


It’s advisable to check with the specific educational institution offering the course for the most accurate and up-to-date admission requirements.


In Australia, who do I register with as a Painter and Decorator? What are the requirements for obtaining a painter’s licence?

The painting industry might be one of the roles clients constantly desire for a fresh coat of paint on their property or require extra assistance on their projects. Whether you are considering moving states across Australia or want to get your painter’s licence, it may be essential to understand the conditions each state requires when obtaining one.

Each state in Australia has different painter licence requirements, and with the correct prerequisites, you might become a certified painter and start working on projects in no time!

Read more to find the painter licence requirements by state:

New South Wales

The Department of Fair Trading NSW issues licences in NSW, and it is required to have one before doing any work on residential buildings valued at more than $5,000 (including GST) in materials and labour.

Painter registration in NSW requires the following:

  • One of the following qualifications:

  • CPC30620 Certificate III in Painting and Decorating

  • BCG30498 Certificate III in General Construction (Painting & Decorating) TAFE

  • CPC30611 / CPC30608 / BCG3063 Certificate III in Painting and Decorating

  • Certificate III in Painting and Decorating, Trade TAFE course #5129

  • Qualification 11766 Certificate III in Painting and Decorating TAFE course #2155


To issue a painter’s licence in Queensland, you might consider completing particular certificates and a course in Business Management. If you are planning to take work valued at $3,300 and above, it may be essential to consider getting your licence before any big projects.

You may also be required to meet the following:

  • RPL certificate of recognition

  • CPC30620 Certificate III in Painting and Decorating

  • Experience from an apprenticeship in painting and decorating

  • Have a statement of attainment for all required competencies.

Once you have met the painter licence requirements, you can apply for it at the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.


The state of Victoria does not issue painter licences. However, you might consider registering under a Domestic Builder Licence (DB-L) class to qualify as a tradesperson to advertise and conduct paintwork. Having a painter registration in Victoria may allow you to become an independent tradesperson.

If you aim to work on projects over the value of $5,000. To become a qualified painter in Victoria, you may need:

  • To have completed an apprenticeship

  • Completed CPC30620 Certificate III in Painting and Decorating

South Australia

South Australia does not issue any painter licences. However, they suggest you have a building work contractor’s licence given under the Government’s Consumer Builder Services (CBS).

To apply for a building work contractor licence, you might be required:

  • CPC30620 Certificate III in Painting and Decorating

  • You might also want to apply with an RPL recognised qualification.

  • Submitting a National Police Check (no more than 12 months old)

Western Australia

If you are considering becoming a registered painter in Western Australia and plan to work on projects valued at over $1,000, you might be required to become a registered painting contractor. Another licence would be a registered painting practitioner, where you may be nominated as a supervisor under a contractor, but you might not provide any painting services to the public.

To obtain these licences from the Building Services Board, you may have:

  • Completed CPC30620 Certificate III in Painting and Decorating

  • Have also completed BSBSMB401 Establish Legal and Risk Management Requirements for Small Business

  • Fulfilled CPCCBCC4004A Identify and Produce Estimated Costs for Building and Construction Projects or any equivalent qualifications.

  • 52202 Course in Painters’ Registration or any other equivalent qualification

  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in paintwork with recognition of prior learning (RPL) recognition


Painters in Tasmania may not be required to carry a licence. Instead, they are encouraged to have insurance, an Australian Business Number (ABN) and a business licence.

To be recognised as a qualified painter by professional trade organisations, you may be recommended to obtain a CPC30620 Certificate III in Painting and Decorating or RPL equivalent qualification.


Is there a practical component to a Certificate III in Painting and Decorating?

Yes, a Certificate III in Painting and Decorating in Australia typically includes a practical component. Vocational education and training programs, such as this certificate, emphasize hands-on experience to complement theoretical knowledge. Students will engage in practical activities to develop skills relevant to the painting and decorating industry.


Practical components may involve:

Surface Preparation: Hands-on experience in preparing various surfaces for painting, including sanding, filling, and priming.

Paint Application: Learning and practicing different techniques for applying paint, including brushwork, rolling, and spraying.

Colour Mixing and Matching: Practical exercises in mixing and matching paint colours to achieve desired shades.

Safety Practices: Hands-on training in implementing safety protocols and using protective equipment.


The practical component is crucial for students to gain proficiency in real-world applications and prepares them for the challenges of working in the painting and decorating field.


Here are some RTOs that offer a Certificate III in Painting and Decorating:


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For more information, drop us a line and we wish you all the best with your career!


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