How to Become a Face Painter

Face Painter Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $136,340
Avg. Pay / hour $65.55
Education 0-6 Months
Job Outlook 3%

Face Painters are professionals who are experienced in drawing a variety of images on the faces of eager children and adults.

These professionals may also work in a variety of locations and events patronized by large amounts of people.

They may also work at personal events such as private birthday parties or get-togethers requesting their unique talent.

Individuals who want to become a Face Painter will not only have a natural disposition to drawing and painting, they may also like working with people and like being around large groups.

Because face painting is mainly targeted towards small children, individuals pursuing this career must also be comfortable working with them.

Education Requirements to Become a Face Painter

A formal education is not required in order to become a Face Painter.

A high school diploma is highly recommended.

However, many individuals opt to take some postsecondary courses in order to improve their craft.

Individuals must have a natural inclination towards arts, drawing and painting.

To stand out as a qualified expert, a certification in face painting and membership in a professional association is highly recommended.

Individuals who are planning on being self-employed will also benefit from having some basic knowledge in being a small business owner.

Individuals who want to become a Face Painter will benefit from having a high school diploma.

The next step is for individuals to enhance their natural ability in painting and drawing and attain a certification.

Certification programs may include courses to enhance drawing and painting skills as well as courses on hygiene and safety practices.

Some programs will only include a certification exam covering safety and hygienic topics as well as testing individuals in demonstrating their artistic abilities.

Once an individual has completed a certification program or test, they can pursue a membership as part of a professional organization.

A professional organization, such as the International Face Painting Association, offers a membership that demonstrates that an individual has become certified.

A membership can also show that an individual also follows a code of practice and a code of conduct.

You may visit this association’s website at FACE to learn more information about their membership and its advantages.

Face Painter Job Description

A Face Painter’s main duty is to draw and paint a variety of images onto their client’s face.

Because this job heavily relies on customer service, a Face Painter must have the listening skills to create an image based on their client’s request.

Face Painters must also fulfill safety and hygienic requirements to assure their client’s health and minimizing the spread of illnesses or diseases.

Face Painters can work for a variety of events including carnivals, charity events, fairs, festivals and trade shows.

They may also work at private events such as birthday parties and festivities.

Some Face Painters may also be self-employed and will handle the business aspects of their line of work including scheduling, customer service, billing and invoices.

Face Painter Salary and Career Path

Face Painters are categorized as a specialty under craft and fine artists.

In 2012, the median salary for craft and fine artists, including Face Painters was approximately $44,380 per year.

Exact wages for these professionals will depend on a variety of factors including specialization, years of experience and whether an individual works as a sole proprietorship.

For example, craft artists can expect a median salary of $29,600 per year.

Exact wages will also depend on whether an individual is self-employed; incomes for self-employed individuals will vary widely.

The job outlook for all craft and fine artists, including Face Painters is expected to increase by 3 percent through the year 2022; job opportunities are expected to grow by 3 percent.

This growth is considered slower than average when compared to other professions and is highly impacted by the state of the economy.

The actual growth may depend on the state of the economy which is showing indications of growth itself.

Individuals who would like to pursue a profession as a Face Painter will have a natural ability in drawing and painting.

The educational requirements to enter this profession are minimal.

This may be a great profession to go into for those who like working with younger clients, like being around large groups and cannot get enough of using their artistic abilities.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$103,820
New York$127,660

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $136,340.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $136,340
New York - $127,660
District of Columbia - $103,820
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance, OCC Code 39-5091, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a face painter do?

Face painters apply cosmetic paint to a person’s face.

Even though face painting might seem like a relatively new kind of entertainment, people have been applying paint on one another for quite a while already.

It can be a religious decoration, a hunting camouflage or one of the attractions at your child’s birthday party.

When it comes to theatre and musical performances, face painting is an extremely important part of the industry.

Professional painters make sure to use FDA approved paints that can be applied directly to the person’s face.

Artists use brushes, sponges, and glitter to create the desired look.

Not so long ago, professionals started using an airbrush gun to apply paint (the whole process takes only a few minutes).

How much do face painters make?

The chances are high that you are planning on starting a face painter business all on your own.

In such a case, you would have to know in advance how much you can charge the client.

It is always a good idea to check the prices that the local community of artists offers.

The price would depend on the range of face painting skills that you possess.

At times, experience does not play a huge role.

The average face painter hourly pay is around $15 (some might be paid as little as $9 or more than $29).

How much does it cost to become a face painter?

You wouldn’t need to earn a degree or complete any kind of courses to become a face painter.

The main thing that you are going to be spending your money on is your professional painting kit.

A face painter’s kit includes dozens of paints, brushes, sponges and a lot of other essentials.

You can start with a kit that costs around $170.

However, face painters might also need a folding table, chair, and a canopy – that’s around $300.

You would also have to think about registering your business name, advertisement, insurance, and car expenses.

What is the demand for face painters?

A face painter can provide additional entertainment to the guests at practically any party.

That’s why the profession will stay in high demand.

However, the techniques will be changing; the designs have to be more complex in order to excite the client (no one really fancies a good old butterfly any longer).

That’s why, if you want to be a popular face painter, you have to be ready to invest your time in learning new techniques, buying new equipment, and trying out challenging styles.

Bear in mind, that face painters are generally in higher demand during the holiday season (around Halloween, for example).

How long does it take to become a face painter?

There is no such thing as a face painter’s degree.

Moreover, you don’t exactly need a certificate of completion of a course or program to be able to find clients.

However, if you are willing to save a whole wagon of your time, you might want to go for professional training.

The workshops will help you stand out from the crowd and turn your works into real masterpieces with the help of various techniques.

Online training is available.

A course is worth anywhere between $200 and $1200.

The length of the training fully depends on your personal pace.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.