Painting Contractor (Residential) Licensing

States Licensed


of 50 states and D.C.


Burden Rank


for average burdens 1st is worst


Combined Rank


for states licensed x average burdens 1st is worst

Change from 2017 to 2022, if any:
Burden increased
Burden decreased
Mixed burden change
New license
Eliminated license
2022 Licensing Burden Rank
Lower Burden Rank
Higher Burden Rank
No state license

How does my state compare to others?

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Painting contractors contract with clients to paint walls, equipment, buildings, bridges and other structural surfaces using brushes, rollers and spray guns. They may also remove old paint to prepare a surface prior to painting or mix colors or oils to obtain desired color or consistency. See Appendix B for details on how we observed contractor occupations.

2022 Snapshot

  • 24 unlicensed states
  • Days lost range from 0 (16 states) to 1,460 (California, Hawaii, Nevada)
  • Fees range from $0 (Nebraska) to $1,040 (Nevada)
  • 10 states require 1+ exam
  • 9 states set minimum age
  • 0 states set minimum grade

Changes Since 2017

  • 1 license removed by Michigan; none created
  • Fees changed most often and usually increased; Utah decreased experience
  • Burden rank worsened 2 spots despite exam and experience reductions, largely because other occupations improved more; combined rank improved 6 spots, largely because of an eliminated license

2022 Licensing Burden in Detail

N New License
E Eliminated License

Data Notes: 2022 data collected between February 3, 2020, and March 18, 2022. Fees include charges for application review and license issuance; exams; background checks, credit reports and fingerprinting; recovery fund contributions; third-party certification; and certain fees for training courses. Calendar days lost were estimated based on required education and experience; except for amounts smaller than one day, days lost are rounded to whole days and thus may not reflect very small changes between 2017 and 2022. Appendix A details methods for estimating days lost and calculating burden ranks. Complete data, including revised 2017 data, are available at

Additional Resources