Aircraft Painter

Paint designs on airplanes and helicopters.
picture of Aircraft Painter

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$25,000 – $64,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Aircraft Painters do?

The sweet designs gracing the tails, sides, and wings of planes don’t just appear overnight. Instead, an Aircraft Painter wields brushes, rollers, and paint sprayers to apply them wherever necessary.

For an Aircraft Painter, putting designs and markings on an airplane takes knowledge of international law mixed with artistic ability. The reason for the strange combination of skills is there are very specific ways aircraft should be marked. The placement of different stripes and the use of specific colors all mean something in the world of airplanes, and there are international standards on what goes where and why.

As an Aircraft Painter, you read blueprints, manuals, and regulations all to figure out how the plane you’re working on should look. The types of aircraft you paint can vary widely. You might paint a small two-seater one week, an airline’s latest addition the next, then a new air force bomber the next. You can put on company logos, or paint and do touch-up work on historic planes.

Once you know what you’re working on, you start planning the design for the plane. If there’s old paint, you sand it off and smooth out your work surface. Then you apply primer, trace out the design, and apply the first coat of paint.

You might mix multiple colors together to get the right shade, or apply more than one coat to get a deep color that won’t fade. Once done with the design, you put a shiny coating to make the airplane gleam.


Should I be an Aircraft Painter?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • Also known as: Aircraft Painter Apprentice, Painter, Aircraft, Painter, Aircraft-Production, Painter, Decorative-Commercial Aircraft

    How to become an Aircraft Painter

    Most Aircraft Painters have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9waaaa&chl=no+college+%2873%25%29|certificate+%2827%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,73,73
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