A Visual Impact

Painters make our world aesthetically appealing while protecting surfaces from the environment. Painters apply decorative and protective finishes in residential, commercial, institutional and industrial settings. They prepare a variety of surfaces including wood, masonry, drywall, plaster, concrete, synthetics, stucco and metal, prior to the application of materials such as paint, high performance coatings, waterproofing, fireproofing, varnish, shellac, wall coverings and special decorative finishes. In industrial settings, painters make use of abrasive blasting equipment, high and ultra-high water jetting equipment and other types blasting equipment to strip paint from building, tanks, bridges, ships, and piping. When working on tall buildings, painters erect scaffolding, including “swing stages,” scaffolds suspended by ropes, or cables.

Painters develop an eye for detail, the ability to plan work, and knowledge of many types of finishes, their properties and their applications. Good communication and customer service skills are required by painters who often interact with home/business owners, contractors, interior designers and architects. Some painters may work for years on a single site; others may work for contractors that rarely work on the same site more than once. Due to technological advances in the industry, ongoing training in new materials and their applications is critical to painters. Painters learn how to apply their theoretical knowledge and skills in the finishing trades industries.

Program Highlights

  •  Blueprint Reading
  •  Surface Preparation
  •  Color Harmony
  •  Wood Finishing
  •  Spray Painting
  •  Decorative Finishing
  •  Wallcovers
  •  Health and Safety Regulations
  •  Use and care of state-of-the-art tools and equipment

Average time to graduate: 3 years

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FTI Testimonials

“These are some of the best trained skilled crafts people in the industry, not only have they worked in the crafts and out in the field on job sites but they engage with the union family and union membership.”

- Terry Nelson, District Council 82

“FTI instructors provide us with skilled quality workers and not only do those instructors have the book smarts needed to teach proper technique but they also have direct experience in the field.”

- Clark Anderson, CFO - Swanson Youngdale

“The instructors are great, they get down to a personal level. They take their knowledge and implement it into the classroom and hands-on training.”

- Kyle Paulson, Glazier Apprentice

A Rewarding, Hands-On Career Awaits

Finishing Trades Institute of the Upper Midwest is an educational institute dedicated to developing professional tradespeople, advancing their skills and certifying their qualifications in the Upper Midwest. Our learners include Commercial and Industrial Painters, Drywall Finishers, Glaziers, Glassworkers, Sign and Display Technicians, and Tradeshow Workers.

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ATTN: The FTIUM is applying for a reaffirmation of accreditation with the Commission of the C.O.E.

The Finishing Trades Institute of the Upper Midwest is applying for a reaffirmation of accreditation with the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education. If a person wishes to make comments about this reaffirmation, please write to:


Executive Director of the Commission

Council on Occupational Education

7840 Roswell Road, Business 300, Suite 325

Atlanta, Georgia 30350


(Persons making comments must provide their names and mailing addresses.)