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Career and Education Opportunities for Paperhangers in Chicago, Illinois

Paperhangers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 470 jobs for paperhangers in Illinois and this is projected to shrink by 6% to about 440 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for paperhangers, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 14.5% over the next eight years. Paperhangers generally cover interior walls and ceilings of rooms with decorative wallpaper or fabric, or attach advertising posters on surfaces, such as walls and billboards.

The average wage in the general category of Painting and Finishing Work jobs is $21 per hour or $44,237 per year in Illinois, and an average of $16 per hour or $33,394 per year nationwide.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a paperhanger. Given that the most common education level for paperhangers is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a paperhanger if you already have a high school diploma.


Paperhanger video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, paperhangers cover interior walls and ceilings of rooms with decorative wallpaper or fabric, or attach advertising posters on surfaces, such as walls and billboards. They also duties include removing old materials from surface to be papered.

Paperhangers smooth strips or sections of paper with brushes or rollers to remove wrinkles and bubbles and to smooth joints. They also clear away old paper, using water, steam machines, or solvents and scrapers. Equally important, paperhangers have to position strips or sections of paper on surfaces, aligning section edges and patterns. They are often called upon to check finished wallcoverings for proper alignment and neatness of seams. They are expected to apply adhesives to the backs of paper strips, using brushes, or dunk strips of prepasted wallcovering in water; wiping off any excess adhesive. Finally, paperhangers assemble equipment such as pasteboards and scaffolds.

Every day, paperhangers are expected to be able to twist and stretch their arms and legs to get work done. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they move quickly in order to hold onto or control objects and devices.

It is important for paperhangers to apply sizing to seal surfaces and maximize adhesion of coverings to surfaces. They are often called upon to trim excess material at ceilings or baseboards, using knives. They also trim rough edges from strips, using straightedges and trimming knives. They are sometimes expected to measure surfaces and/or review work orders to estimate the quantities of materials needed. Somewhat less frequently, paperhangers are also expected to smooth rough spots on walls and ceilings, using sandpaper.

And finally, they sometimes have to apply acetic acid to damp plaster to inhibit lime from bleeding through paper.

Like many other jobs, paperhangers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Insulation Installer. Line and cover structures with insulating materials. May work with batt, roll, or blown insulation materials.
  • Painter. Paint walls, equipment, and other structural surfaces, using brushes, rollers, and spray guns. May remove old paint to prepare surface prior to painting. May mix colors or oils to obtain desired color or consistency.
  • Plasterer. Apply interior or exterior plaster, cement, or similar materials. May also set ornamental plaster.


City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College, 6301 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60621-2709. City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,873 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College has a less than one year program in Painting/Painter and Wall Coverer which graduated nine students in 2008.


Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.