School of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology

Truax A2105
1701 Wright Street
Madison WI 53704

CALL: (608) 246-6800
or (800) 322-6282 ext. 6800

2125 Commercial Avenue
Madison WI 53704

CALL: (608) 243-4169
or (800) 322-6282 ext. 4169


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Painting & Decorating Apprentice

Apprenticeship Completion

Program number: 504241


Work Description Painter and Decorator Apprenticeship

Painters apply paint, stain, varnish and other finishes to buildings and other structures. They select the right paint or finish for the surface to be covered, taking into account durability, ease of handling, method of application and customers’ wishes. Painters first prepare the surfaces to be covered, so that the paint will adhere properly. This may require removing the old coat of paint by stripping, sanding, wire brushing, burning or water and abrasive blasting. Painters also wash walls and trim to remove dirt and grease, fill nail holes and cracks, sandpaper rough spots and brush off dust. On new surfaces, they apply a primer or sealer to prepare the surface for the finish coat. Painters also mix paints and match colors, relying on knowledge of paint composition and color harmony. They also cover walls and ceilings with decorative wall coverings made of paper, vinyl or fabric.

Working Conditions

Painters and paperhangers stand for prolonged periods. Their jobs also require a considerable amount of climbing, bending, kneeling, crouching, crawling and reaching with arms raised overhead. Painters often work outdoors but seldom in wet, cold or inclement weather. Painters wear masks to reduce exposure to hazardous materials or paint fumes when working in areas with poor ventilation.


  • 4-year training program
  • 6,240 hours of on-the-job training
  • 400 hours of paid related instruction
  • Minimum of 80 hours of unpaid related instruction (the local committee determines the total number of hours of unpaid instruction)
  • Apprentice must complete Red Cross First Aid and OSHA Safety Training Courses (included in 80 hours of unpaid instruction)
  • Apprentice must complete in his/her final year the Transition-To-Trainer Course

Training includes instruction in color harmony, use and care of tools and equipment, surface preparation, application techniques, paint mixing and matching, characteristics of different finishes, blueprint reading, wood finishing and safety.

Learn more from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Program Details

Painting & Decorating Apprenticeship classes may be offered at these Madison College campuses:

  • Madison - Commercial Avenue

Explore financial aid eligibility for Painting & Decorating Apprentice.

All courses for this program are offered only in person.


How to Apply

You must apply directly to the Madison Painters Joint Apprenticeship Committee (the application does not go through Madison College).

Contact the Building Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin or the following: 

Madison Painters Joint Apprenticeship Committee
Madison Labor Temple
Adam Gifford
1602 S Park St #106
Madison, WI 53715
(608) 422-2870

All apprenticeships require an employer sponsor. After passing the application process, you will be responsible for finding an employer to sponsor you as an apprentice before you may begin the program.

Application Requirements

  • Applicants must be at least 17
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Meet required norms on aptitude test (if required)
  • Physically able to perform trade
  • Valid driver’s license or reliable transportation



Prospective program students, the information below reflects the basic requirements for students admitted for the 2017-2018 academic year. To learn more about Madison College, visit us.

Current program students (including newly admitted), go directly to your Degree Progress Report (also referred to as an Advising Report or Academic Requirements) to view:

  • Progress toward your specific requirements
  • Alternative (in lieu of) courses to meet specific requirements

If you have questions after reviewing your report, please see Advising Services.

First Semester

Second Semester

Third Semester

Fourth Semester

Fifth Semester

Sixth Semester


Madison College Painting and Decorating Apprenticeship graduates are prepared to:  

  • Identify, mix and match color to any given surface
  • Properly and safely use ladders and scaffolding
  • Apply any type of wall covering to any given substance
  • Operate in a safe manner different types of spray equipment
  • Identify and apply different types of material for the finishing of wood products
  • Identify and solve different coating problems
  • Tape and finish drywall
  • Read and interpret blueprints
  • Perform abrasive and water blasting
  • Apply various special decorative finishes, including gilding, glazing, wood graining, marbleizing, stenciling and texturing
  • Prepare different substrates
  • Work in a safe manner and be aware of safety hazards
  • Apply special coatings
  • Work with other trades