How to Become a Spray Painter in South Africa: Qualifications, Jobs and Income

Artisan Spray Painter
Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority

About the accreditation, courses & Seta


Seta Code: 2019-643201

NQF Levels: NQF 4    

SAQA Code:

64409 - National Certificate 

94182   - Occupational Certificate

Spray painters are skilled professionals that apply the finishing touches to a wide variety of construction and automotive projects.
They coat and stain cars, walls, ceilings and other surfaces.
Their responsibility is to ensure that structures have a pleasant and enduring appearance.
Becoming a professional spray painter requires doing spray painter courses, apprenticeship, hard work, and commitment , but these skills can also be learnt on the job.

Spray painter jobs in South Africa pay well and are easy to find for workers that have the necessary qualifications. With proper education and training, one can earn a decent salary working in various industries like construction, manufacturing,  automotive & engineering.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Spray Painter?

Spray painting is manual labor in which workers develop their trade on the job. However, it does not mean that you do not need additional learning and official qualifications to become a spray painter. Additionally, a 9th-grade diploma is mandatory while some employers may require college degrees and the N4–N6 certificate programmes from their applicants.

car vehicle spray painting

The job of spray painter in South Africa is part of the MerSETA (Manufacturing Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority) landscape. To be able to apply for this position, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have 3 years of apprenticeship
  • Have a national certificate that shows you have completed spray painter courses

Besides these compulsory qualifications, a spray painter must also meet the following skills:

  • Be physically fit for heavy work
  • Have good eyesight
  • Have excellent colour vision
  • Show a great balance in eye-hand coordination
  • Hold basic level knowledge of mathematics
  • Have a good grasp of mechanical technology
  • Work patiently, carefully and with attention to details

According to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), a spray painter should have:

  • An in-depth knowledge of health and safety compliance rules
  • Basic knowledge of hand and power tools
  • An excellent grasp of the materials and substances used for spray painting
  • A great set of communication skills
  • Basic customer service skills.

What is a Spray Painter’s Job?

At first, the job of a spray painter looks easy. However, this type of work involves more than just applying numerous coats of paint on various surfaces. With practice and experience, an artisan painter becomes an irreplaceable professional able to work on a multitude of construction, restoration and rehabilitation projects.

During the training years, a spray painter completes simple tasks, such as carrying materials or laying cloth covers to protect areas that are not the subject of a paint job, this is also called masking. Before moving to more complex tasks like priming surfaces, the apprentice learns about paint materials, substances, and tools.

After completing spray painter courses and at least three years of apprenticeships, one can begin a spray painting career in various sectors such as:

Industrial Spray Painting

This job requires working in confined spaces or at great heights while wearing special equipment. A professional worker should be able to spray paint anything from oil rigs to ships and bridges.

Construction Spray Painting

Spray painters who take up this position will have to paint large buildings, interiors, and exteriors.

Vehicle Spray Painting

This job requires working on car and motor body parts in repair garages or for automotive manufacturers. Panel beaters with spray painting courses can also perform this task provided that they meet all the necessary qualifications.

Maintenance Spray Painting

Specialists in maintenance painting have to remove old layers of paint, apply new ones or repair surfaces of various sizes.

Artisan Spray Painting

An artisan spray painter is an experienced professional able to execute specialist paint techniques. Such an expert can paint decorative objects, add glaze layers and apply faux finishing.

In general, a spray painter has the following responsibilities:

  • Cover the surfaces that surround the area that needs a paint job
  • Measure the area and calculate how much paint will be necessary
  • Remove the switch and outlet covers while painting
  • Set up ladders and scaffolding for easy reach and flexibility
  • Scrape, brush and sand the surfaces that require paint
  • Apply primers and sealers to paint before using it
  • Apply the paint using sprayers and additional brushes

How Much Does a Spray Painter Earn in a Year?

Solid spray painting skills and sufficient experience in this profession will earn you a decent yearly income in South Africa.

At the moment, the average hourly pay for spray painters is R51.73. Depending on your level of skills, you can earn between R30 and R90 per hour to which you may also receive a bonus ranging between R979 and R19, 868 calculated for an entire year.

As a student or apprentice, you may earn only the minimum rate at first. However, in time, you can earn an average of R123, 347 per year. The most that you can make within 12 months of working as a spray painter in South Africa is R296k, which is well above minimum wage even after you pay all the necessary income fees and taxes.

How to Work as a Spray Painter in South Africa

South Africa has a wide market for spray painter jobs.
There is a huge demand for such professionals in numerous industries and sectors.
Applicants that meet the required qualifications have several portals available where they can look for work.

Taking spray painter courses significantly increases the chances of getting a job.
Through learning materials and practical work, you can develop essential skills and knowledge that will give you a competitive advantage over other applicants applying for the same position.

Becoming a professional spray painter in South Africa allows you to practice this craft in various industries.
With the necessary experience and know-how, you can later open up your business in the field and pursuit other rewarding benefits of this job.

A great way to get an opportunity to become a spray painter is to use some initiative, go and offer your service to a car body shop for free, be a laborer and learn the basic skills.
If you show commitment and a good attitude the company may offer you a job.
Even if they don't offer you a job, it gives you more knowledge and you can then approach another car repair and body shop and show them you have a basic knowledge.
Sometimes, rather than going out and paying for a course, it can be a good idea to see if this is something you would like to be doing as a career in 20 years time, it's called on the job training.

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