Here's how paint technologists analysis, tests and do research on different products

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The work of paint technologists can be divided into three categories:

Analysis: these technologists, working in the analytical field, use their in-depth knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of the numerous colour pigments, solvents and binding agents available.

They also need to be familiar with the equipment used in the manufacturing of paint. These technicians also have to be able to formulate and manufacture various synthetic resins that constitute the binder of paint.

Testing: these paint technologists test paints for various qualities. Before technicians can compose formulae for certain types of paint, they have to have comprehensive experience and background knowledge of the properties of the different elements that are used in the formula.

Formulation forms an important part of a paint technologist’s work and is closely related to finding and testing substitute elements, especially when the prices of the existing elements are rising or when certain elements become unavailable and have to be substituted.

Testing done by the SABS and other standards organisations, assures the public of the reliability and quality of the paint. A great variety of tests are carried out on paints, such as tests on the application, drying, resistance to water, and its ability to prevent decay and corrosion of the substrate.

Research: these technologists research existing products for improvements and develop new ones for the benefit of both consumers and the paint manufacturer. Since this is a specialised field, paint technicians with experience and knowledge of the subject, are the ones who move into research.

Personal requirements

  • Scientific and mathematical ability
  • Able to reason analytically
  • Methodical approach to problems
  • Accurate
  • Able to work independently
  • Normal colour vision

How to enter

Schooling & school subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

What to study

Degree: An appropriate BSc degree, or BEng (Chemical) with Physics, Chemistry or Mathematics as major subjects. This degree takes 3 years to complete and is offered at all South African universities.

Graduates with a BSc degree with Chemistry as a major subject or a BEng (Chemical Engineering) with Chemistry on third-year level, can improve their qualifications by doing the BSc(Hons)(Polymer Science), which is offered at the University of Stellenbosch.

Diploma: The N.Dip. Polymer Technology which includes a course in Paint Technology, is offered at NMMU.


  • Paint manufacturers
  • SABS
  • CSIR
  • Transnet
  • Municipalities
  • Motor manufacturers
  • Self-employment, with enough experience, can start own business as a consultant or researcher

Getting started

  • Try to obtain vacation or part-time work at a paint factory
  • Arrange to speak to a paint technologist about this type of career

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