Vehicle Spray Painter

Vehicle spray painters use spray guns to spray paint onto the bodywork of vehicles and other items, to change the colour or to repaint scratched or damaged paintwork.

When repainting damaged paintwork of a vehicle, they prepare the body work by removing dirt or grease; they smooth parts that are rough or have been panel beaten; remove old paint with sandpaper or paint-removing chemicals; they cover the rest of the bodywork with paper in order to protect it; then they apply a preliminary coating of primer and a thin layer of primer-filler.

Spray painters mix paints until exactly the same shade as the rest of the vehicle is obtained before the final four or five coatings of the required colour are applied. Paint has to be applied evenly and each coat is allowed to dry thoroughly.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • good eyesight and colour sense
  • able to distinguish between various shades of the same colour
  • balanced eye-hand coordination
  • able to stand or crouch for long periods
  • very accurate, careful and neat worker

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 9 Certificate
Some employers demand higher qualifications.

What to Study

Spray-painters qualify after a 3-year learnership. Artisan status may be obtained either after the learnership period has lapsed, or earlier by passing a voluntary or compulsory trade test conducted by the Department of Labour at the Central Organisation for Trade Testing at Olifantsfontein.

The learner spray-painters learn the aspects of their trade through practical experience under the supervision of skilled artisans and, in addition, through theoretical courses at a FET college or correspondence course at UNISA.


  • automotive body repair shops
  • garages
  • specialist spray painting firms
  • motor vehicle manufacturers
  • the aerospace industry
  • manufacturing industry where articles are made and spray painted
  • self-employment, with experience, can practise trade on a private basis or start own business

Further Information

The General Manager
Motor Industry Training Board (MITB)
National Office
P O Box 3770
Randburg, 2125
Tel: (011) 792-8570

MerSETA (Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services)
merSETA House
95 7th Avenue, 
Corner Rustenburg Road, Melville, 
Johannesburg, 2109
Tel: (010) 219-3000

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work in an automotive body repairing garage
  • make an appointment to speak to a spray painter about this type of career
  • contact the Department of Labour about learnership possibilities in your area

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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