5 Best Online/Hybrid/Onsite House Painter and Decorator Trade Schools in 2024

Painting and decorating a house may sound like something of a DIY project or a hobby. However, if you want to turn it into a career or business, you’ll have to level up your skills and knowledge so that you can provide professional services with high-quality results to homeowners and residential property owners.

What are House Painters and Decorators?

House painters and decorators are skilled tradespersons who specialize in the preparation and application of paint, coatings, and decorative finishes to the interior and exterior surfaces of residential properties.

While they may specialize in residential painting, many house painters or painting contractors have the expertise and experience to tackle commercial painting projects as well. The key difference is the scale of the project and the specific requirements of commercial clients.

The roles and responsibilities of house painters and decorators include the following:

  1. Preparation of surfaces by cleaning, scraping, sanding and patching holes or cracks to ensure a smooth and uniform base for paint application,
  2. Selection of appropriate paints, primers, coatings and decorative materials based on the surface type and project requirements,
  3. Consultation with clients on color selection and coordination for interior and exterior spaces,
  4. Application of paint or coatings to surfaces using brushes, rollers or spray equipment while ensuring an even and consistent finish,
  5. Application of various decorative techniques like faux finishing, stenciling or wallpapering to enhance the aesthetic appeal of surfaces, 
  6. Protection of non-painted areas and objects from paint splatter and damage using masking tape, drop cloths and protective covering,
  7. Implementation of safety protocols to prevent accidents, like proper use of ladders, scaffolding, and personal protective equipment.
  8. Repair or replacement of damaged drywall, woodwork or siding as needed before painting,
  9. Inspection of completed work for quality to ensure meeting industry standards and client expectations,
  10. Clean-up of brushes, tools and work areas after each project and proper disposal of paint and materials,
  11. Communication with clients throughout the project to provide updates and address any concerns or questions,
  12. Preparation of estimates for clients and computation of material, labor, and other costs,
  13. Planning and management of projects, including scheduling, budgeting, and resource allocation,
  14. Collaboration with other tradespeople like carpenters or electricians to ensure the overall success of a construction or renovation project,
  15. Recordkeeping of project details for future reference or touch-up work.

Federal data reveal that the median pay for construction and maintenance painters sits at $46,090 per year or $22.16 per hour. While the employment growth is expected to show little or no change in the next decade, the industry will still require around 29,300 painters annually.


If you’re looking for trade schools or trade programs that will boost your skills and knowledge as a house painter and decorator, look no further! We have listed the potential trade career training programs that focus on painting or interior decorating skills building.

Online trade schools offering online painting and decorating training are rare in the country. Programs featuring a hybrid learning format are not common either. In an effort to give you a wide range of options, our list consists of trade schools that offer online and traditional onsite programs.

Each of the trade schools and programs on our list is carefully selected based on specific criteria, which include the following:

  • Features a well-rounded curriculum that covers essential topics related to house painting and decorating, including a thorough understanding of techniques, tools, materials, safety protocols and business aspects of the trade,
  • Emphasizes the development of leadership, decision-making abilities and other skills that are crucial for managing painting projects and potentially running a successful business in the future
  • Employs experienced instructors who bring in a combination of real-world expertise and academic qualifications in the field of painting and decorating,
  • Offers hands-on training experience through internships, field training, and simulated projects that complement the theoretical knowledge acquired in the classroom,
  • Provides opportunities for students to connect with industry professionals, painting contractors and organizations that can be valuable for career advancement and finding job opportunities in the field
  • Accredited regionally by institutions that uphold the standards of trade programs and recognized by associations that promote the advancement of painting and decorating specialists.

5 Top Online House Painter and Decorator Trade Schools

Penn Foster Workforce Development

Penn Foster Workforce Development

Location: Scranton, Pennsylvania
Online Delivery Method: Hybrid, Self-paced
Time It Takes to Complete: 200 hours
Completion Rate: undisclosed
Types of Aid: none

Penn Foster Workforce Development offers Online Painting programs that will provide students with in-depth training to become skilled professionals. The programs combine self-paced painting classes with apprenticeships that cover the very basics of painting and lead to the more advanced concepts of the trade.

The curriculum is estimated to be completed in 200 hours. It includes courses that will develop pre-technical skills to ensure students have a solid foundation to become experts in the trade. These courses cover topics like fire safety, basic industrial math, material handling, chemical safety, hand and power tools, and many others.

The more advanced courses focus specifically on developing painting skills and boosting trade concepts knowledge. These courses are:

  • Engineering Materials
  • Elements of Chemistry
  • Painting
  • Plastering

The curriculum also provides an academic study of special techniques for the preparation of job sites and surfaces, application of primers, rendering of textures and colors, including faux and decorative finishes, and aesthetic enhancements.

Painting Contractors Association – Painter Training

Painting Contractors Association – Painter Training

Location: Maryland Heights, Missouri
Online Delivery Method: Online, Self-paced
Time It Takes to Complete: undisclosed
Completion Rate: undisclosed
Types of Aid: Promo code

Painting Contractors Association provides online Painter Training through its comprehensive video-on-demand training platform. The program covers essential topics that will equip students with the technical skills to meet the industry’s demand for skilled tradespersons.

The curriculum is designed as a series of courses and covers the following topics:

  • Introduction to the Painting Trade
  • Exterior Painting 
  • Interior Painting
  • Skills Assessment/Scorecard

The training videos aim to provide students with not only the essential skills for the painting trade but also a comprehensive understanding of task preparation and the underlying rationale for each procedure. In this way, students will have a solid foundation of core trade concepts.

While the training videos are available for free, those who are serious about their house painter career should consider registering for the Premium program for the following features:

  • Digital certificate of completion
  • Knowledge assessment after every video
  • Unlimited and exclusive access
  • A library of video topics in logical sequence

The Painting Contractors Association was established in 1884 with the goal of assisting painting contractors in operating successful and financially sound businesses.

Cuyahoga Community College

Cuyahoga Community College

Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Delivery Method: Onsite
Time It Takes to Complete: at least two semesters
Completion Rate: undisclosed
Types of Aid: FAFSA, College Work Study, Financial Aid Planning, Grants and Scholarships, Student Emergency Funds, Student Loans

Those who are looking for a trade school to train for their house painter career can consider the Certificate of Proficiency in Painting program offered by Cuyahoga Community College in a traditional, on-campus learning format. It emphasizes not just the trade and craftsmanship skills necessary to be successful but also the fundamentals of workplace and personal safety, as well as basic trade-related math and calculations.

This Certificate program is intended for students who are in an apprenticeship associated with the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training of the country’s Labor Department.

This technical training program requires students to complete 34 credit hours in order to obtain the Certificate credential. Some of the courses are:

  • Safety Standards for Construction (OSHA-10)
  • Blueprints I: Construction Fundamentals
  • Blueprints II: Advanced Reading and Estimating
  • Filling Compounds and Procedures 
  • Labor in American Society
  • Rigging & Hoisting
  • Safe Work Practices
  • Spray & Industrial Painting
  • Wall Preparation and Repair
  • Wood Finishing

A four-year apprenticeship is also available for those who want to gain journey-level status after completing their technical studies.

Cuyahoga College also offers an Applied Industrial Technology program at an Associate of Applied Science level with a concentration in Painting.

Cuyahoga Community College holds an active accreditation status endorsed by the Higher Learning Commission or HLC.

University of Richmond

University of Richmond

Location: Richmond, Virginia
Delivery Method: Onsite
Time It Takes to Complete: 7 months
Completion Rate: undisclosed
Types of Aid: Richmond In-Reach program, Scholarships, Installment Plan, Loans, Student Employment

The University of Richmond‘s School of Professional & Continuing Studies offers an Interior Decorating Professional Certificate program delivered in a traditional, face-to-face format through evening classes.

It equips students with interior decorating and painting competencies. Thus, it’s a perfect program for those who are looking for trade schools or trade programs that can provide vocational training for their aspiration of being a house painter and decorator.

The curriculum is divided into four modules.

  • The Foundations module encompasses trade concepts like architecture and furniture styles, color theory, design elements and principles, and accounting and finance.
  • The Materials module provides an in-depth understanding of textiles, flooring, wall treatments, soft furnishings and other related subjects and concepts.
  • The Industry Aspects module covers industry procedures, including sourcing materials and analyzing market trends.
  • The Business Tools module focuses on the business side of the trade and covers legal issues, finance and marketing, among others.

The program also offers experiential learning through field experiences and a capstone project, which provides opportunities for students to apply their skills to real-life scenarios.

The SACSCOC-Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges has approved the institutional accreditation of the University of Richmond to award degrees at various levels.

Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid-Atlantic Region

Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid-Atlantic Region

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Delivery Method: Onsite
Time It Takes to Complete: 4 years
Completion Rate: undisclosed
Types of Aid: none

Finishing Trades Institute offers a Diploma in Painting-Decorating program offered in a traditional, onsite learning format that combines class time and internship. It’s a perfect trade program for those aspiring to become a house painter and decorator.

The program can be typically completed in four years with a total of 6,000 hours of internship and 640 hours of class time. Some of the courses in this program are:

  • Intro to Painting
  • Intro to Wallcovering
  • Techniques of Painting
  • Techniques and Applications of Spray Paint
  • Blueprints and Architectural Drawings
  • Math for Construction
  • Safety in the Construction Trades
  • Green Building Technologies
  • Decorative Finishes

This Diploma program will provide students with the chance to apply their knowledge of the trade to real-life work scenarios as they observe, receive and obtain information from all relevant sources.

The Council on Occupational Education (COE) has approved the accreditation of the Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid-Atlantic Region (FTI-MAR). The Institute’s apprenticeship certification programs have also obtained the approval of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Online House Painter and Decorator Trade Schools - fact

Frequently Asked Questions about House Painter and Decorator Trade Schools

What are the main benefits of attending a house painter and decorator trade school or program?

There are several advantages of attending a house painter and decorator trade school or program.

  • Comprehensive training in the techniques, tools and materials used in the profession that establishes a solid foundation for your career,
  • Hands-on experience that will allow you to practice your skills in real-world scenarios.
  • Networking opportunities and industry connections,
  • Trade schools typically offer career services to assist you in finding job placements or apprenticeships,
  • The potential for job stability and financial security that makes being a skilled house painter and decorator a rewarding career choice

What will I learn in a house painter and decorator online trade program?

House painter and decorator trade program students learn surface preparation, color theory, paint application techniques, safety protocols, and the proper tool and equipment use. You’ll also gain insight into business aspects like cost estimation and customer service, which are crucial for running a successful painting and decorating business.

How do I know if a house painter and decorator trade program is accredited and reputable? 

To ensure the quality of your training, it’s essential to choose an accredited program. Look for trade schools or programs that are accredited by recognized bodies such as the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) or industry-specific organizations like the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA). Accreditation indicates that the program meets established standards of quality and will provide you with valuable training.