Painting/Coating/Spraying Machine Worker

salary graphic



education graphic


High school preferred +

job outlook graphic



What They Do

Coating, Painting, and Spraying Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders Career Video

Sets up, operates, or tends machines to coat or paint any of a wide variety of products, including glassware, cloth, ceramics, metal, plastic, paper, or wood, with lacquer, silver, copper, rubber, varnish, glaze, enamel, oil, or rust-proofing materials.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Production pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Selects appropriate coatings, paints, or sprays, or prepares them by mixing substances according to formulas, using automated paint mixing equipment.
  • Holds or positions spray guns to direct spray onto articles.
  • Fills hoppers, reservoirs, troughs, or pans with material used to coat, paint, or spray, using conveyors or pails.
  • Starts and stops operation of machines, using levers or buttons.
  • Determines paint flow, viscosity, and coating quality by performing visual inspections, or by using viscometers.
  • Attaches hoses or nozzles to machines, using wrenches and pliers, and makes adjustments to obtain the proper dispersion of spray.
  • Turns dials, handwheels, valves, or switches to regulate conveyor speeds, machine temperature, air pressure and circulation, and the flow or spray of coatings or paints.
  • Observes machine gauges and equipment operation to detect defects or deviations from standards, and makes adjustments as necessary.
  • Performs test runs to ensure that equipment is set up properly.
  • Cleans machines, related equipment, and work areas, using water, solvents and other cleaning aids.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Coater Operator
  • Hand Sprayer
  • Industrial Painter
  • Machine Operator
  • Paint Technician
  • Painter
  • Powder Coater — Sets up and operates three stage washer, dryer, bake over and powder coating equipment.
  • Press Operator
  • Silk Screen Operator
  • Spray Painter