Painting Machine Technician Careers: Job Description & Salary

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A paint machine technician's median annual salary is $31,000, but is it worth the training requirements? Get the truth about the job duties and career outlook to decide if becoming a painting machine technician is the right career for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career as a Painting Machine Technician

Painting machine technicians operate and set up machines that are used to coat or paint objects. Most of these technicians are also responsible for making sure machines are operational and work efficiently and effectively. An outline of the common pros and cons of this career are provided below.

PROS of a Career as a Painting Machine Technician
A high school diploma is often enough to begin entry-level work*
Many industries require paint machine technicians*
Good field for those with artistic ability*
Potential for union membership*

CONS of a Career as a Painting Machine Technician
High rate of sickness and injury among painting and coating workers*
Job growth for painting machine technicians is expected to be slow (only a 4% increase in jobs expected between 2012 and 2022)*
Most technicians work on their feet all day*
Training can last several months*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Painting machine technicians prepare and operate painting and coating machines for industrial and manufacturing use. Typically a technician inspects machines, cleans machines, loads and unloads paint and coating materials from the machine and starts and ends the painting or coating processes. Technicians are also sometimes responsible for maintaining and updating machine records and documentation, troubleshooting issues and repairing problems that prevent machines from functioning properly.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all painting and coating occupations are expected to experience very slow job growth over the next decade. Specifically, the BLS projected only a 4% increase in job opportunities for painting and coating workers between 2012 and 2022. The BLS also noted that any growth will be contingent upon general economic growth over this 10-year period. As of May of 2014, the BLS reports that the median annual salary of painting machine technicians is about $31,000.

What Are the Requirements?

Training and Education

Painting and coating workers can typically obtain entry-level jobs when they complete high school. Depending on the industry, some companies will even hire and train technicians before they receive their high school diploma. Training for new technicians usually occurs on the job and can last up to a few months. Technicians working in the automobile industry might need 1-2 years of training.

Top Skills for Painting Machine Technicians

Some companies seek technicians with specific skills, such as the ability to work with cutting tools or a background in vacuum technology. Additionally, employers prefer candidates that are motivated and able to work within a team as well as independently. Some jobs might also require technicians to lift heavy objects and be comfortable working with their hands.

Real Job Listings

In addition to a high school diploma, most employers are looking for painting machine technicians with a strong work ethic and previous experience in painting or coating work. Some employers also prefer technicians with machine shop experience as well as creativity and the ability to work meticulously. The following jobs were posted in April 2012:

  • An Ohio manufacturing company is seeking a coating machine technician that will set up and monitor the operation of machines. The technician will also maintain and update equipment records. The company prefers a technician with knowledge of vacuum technology or plating, as well as experience with cutting tools.
  • A Massachusetts industrial company is seeking a coating machine technician to maintain and set up a machine to process paint orders. The successful candidate will load and unload the machine, input process data and maintain correct color and function. The company would like a technician with a high school diploma and experience in industrial tooling.
  • A manufacturing company in Connecticut is seeking a coating machine technician to work the night shift in their factory. The company prefers a technician with at least two years of experience in web coating. However, the company also notes that it will train inexperienced technicians.

How to Stand Out in the Field

In addition to your job training, technicians in the automobile industry that operate painting machines in an auto repair shop can obtain professional certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Your previous work experience might also help you in the job market. Many employers like job candidates with professional experience in a machine shop or other parts of the manufacturing industry.

Career Alternatives

Painter

If you'd rather paint surfaces than attend to the machines that apply paint in a manufacturing plant, you might want to look into becoming a painter. Painters apply paint to walls and other surfaces depending on where they work. The BLS projected that painters working in construction and maintenance would experience an 18% increase in employment between 2010 and 2020. The BLS also determined that painters earn a median annual salary of about $35,000 in May 2011.

Automotive Body and Glass Repair

You may also explore the possibility of working in automotive repair. In this field, you repair and replace automobile frames, bodies, windows and windshields. According to the BLS, these repair technicians earned a median annual salary of approximately $38,000 in 2011. The BLS also projected that automobile body and glass repairers would experience a 19% increase in job opportunities between 2010 and 2020.

Industrial Machinery Mechanic

Industrial machinery mechanics maintain and repair many types of factory and manufacturing equipment rather than just painting machines. These mechanics typically have at least a year of formal training before they begin work. The BLS projected that job opportunities for industrial machinery mechanics would increase by 19% between 2010 and 2020. The BLS also noted that these mechanics earned a median annual salary of close to $46,000 in May 2011.

You may also explore the possibility of working in automotive repair. In this field, you repair and replace automobile frames, bodies, windows and windshields. According to the BLS, these repair technicians earned a median annual salary of approximately $38,000 in 2011. The BLS also projected that automobile body and glass repairers would experience a 19% increase in job opportunities between 2010 and 2020.

Industrial Machinery Mechanic

Industrial machinery mechanics maintain and repair many types of factory and manufacturing equipment rather than just painting machines. These mechanics typically have at least a year of formal training before they begin work. The BLS projected that job opportunities for industrial machinery mechanics would increase by 19% between 2010 and 2020. The BLS also noted that these mechanics earned a median annual salary of close to $46,000 in May 2011.

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