Any good painter should be able to handle a crack in the ceiling like Karl has said. There are a couple of things the painter will need to do to make sure the patching will look really good in the end.
First: scrape and remove all loose and peeling paint and plaster.
Second: tape the crack or hole with drywall tape.
Third: apply multiple coats of joint compound.
Forth: sand patch until smooth.
Fifth: add texture to blend with existing ceiling and prime.
Hope this helps a little.