Painter Apprenticeship FAQ


How long is the Painter Decorator Apprenticeship Program?

  • 6000 hour program takes 3-4 years to complete
  • 720 hours come from in-school training
  • 5280 hours come from working in the trade as a painter apprentice

How much does a Painter Decorator Apprentice earn?

You will be paid a percentage of a full journeyman’s wages while you are working as an apprentice. The percentage is based on hours that are accumulated as you pass each level and work in the respective trade. For details on wage rates, please consult your employer or your local Union Business Agent.

How do I find a job as a Painter Decorator Apprentice?

OIFSC does not offer job placement. The apprentice must find a job on their own either through the local union or by contacting Painting Contractors directly. The Union or employment agencies may be able to provide assistance with job searching.

What schooling is required to complete the Painter Decorator Apprenticeship?

  • Basic Level                 8 week duration
  • Intermediate Level      8 week duration
  • Advanced Level         8 week duration

Schooling is 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday at our facilities at 130 Toro Road, Toronto (for Commercial and Residential), or 1430 Osprey Dr., Ancaster (for Industrial). OIFSC is the Training Delivery Agent for the Painter Decorator apprenticeship program for all of Ontario. Classes predominantly address painting theory and Health & Safety issues (e.g. CPR, First Aid, Fall Protection, and WHMIS).  There are over 50 topics addressed in school. They cover everything painters do from blueprints, brush and roll, spray painting to faux finish. The minimum passing grade for each level of apprenticeship training is 70%.

Apprentices are invited to school by OIFSC and/or the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) approximately 2 months prior to the start date of a course. Apprentices should call OIFSC as soon as possible to reserve their seat as seating is limited.

 What are the requirements to enter the apprenticeship program?

  • Minimum age is 16 years old.
  • A valid Social Insurance Number (if your SIN begins with “9” you must provide an expiry date).
  • Minimum grade 10 Canadian education or equivalent proven by a copy of your high school transcript showing credits in Math, English and Science. A copy of your Canadian high school diploma will give you 300 hours credit towards the 6000 contract. If your documentation is in a language other than English you will need to have this translated by a certified translator.
  • Membership in the Ontario College of Trades is mandatory for apprentices, and must be maintained annually. If membership lapses, apprentices will not be eligible to attend training, may have their contracts invalidated which may affect their standing with the IUPAT.
  • Effective August 1, 2002 the Government introduced a $400 tuition fee. If you are non-union you will have to pay this fee for each course level.
  • If you have Work Experience in the trade, you could get some of those hours applied against the contract. They must be proven by a letter on company letterhead stating the following:
    • Dates of employment
    • Total hours worked during these dates
    • Brief description of the types of painting jobs you were doing.

Is there any financial assistance available for apprentices? 

Yes, there is….

  • When you have registered with MTCU as a Painter Decorator Apprentice, you will receive an application for the Government’s “Loans for Tools” program.  This loan can provide you with up to $400 to purchase your initial tools.
  • Apprentices attending Apprenticeship training at the Ontario Industrial & Finishing Skills Centre may collect Employment Insurance while in school.

What do I do once I have completed my apprenticeship?

Upon successful completion of all 3 levels of schooling and accumulating the total 6,000 hours necessary under the terms of your Training Agreement, the OIFSC will report your completion to the MTCU. Once the Ministry has recorded the results in their system, your membership with the Ontario College of Trades will change to that of a “Journeyperson Candidate” membership class (please note: after April 8, 2013 you must be a member of the OCOT in order to write the CofQ). Once you are a Journeyperson Candidate with the OCOT, you are eligible to write the Certificate of Qualification (CofQ) exam.

An examination fee of $150 +HST must be paid to the OCOT in advance for each attempt at writing. The exam is written at MTCU offices, and a minimum grade of 70% is required to pass. This will give you your Interprovincial Red Seal License.