How Much Do Welders Earn - Welding Salaries Overview
Dec 18, 2023
Curious about what welders earn? This article provides a clear and concise overview of welding salaries, giving you a realistic picture of the earning potential in this skilled trade. We break down average wages for welders across different regions and levels of experience, helping you understand the financial rewards of pursuing or advancing in a welding career.
Whether you're considering welding as a profession or are already in the field and looking to gauge your earning potential, this guide offers the essential salary information you need.
Best Welding Jobs Explained
Here are some of the most popular welding jobs:
Pipeline welding is a demanding job that requires high welding skills, experience, and physical endurance. Pipeliners work hard and often in unpredictable conditions. This job will take you across the entire US, but there is also a need for local pipeliners. The oil and gas industry has the most significant demand for skilled pipe welders.
Pipeliners must perform under pressure and handle pipe cutting, shaping, and welding. It’s necessary to have strong welding skills in all arc welding processes. However, stick welding is the most used welding method to join pipes, especially outside. Besides welding skills, you need to have good mechanical and mathematical abilities.
For almost all pipe welding jobs, you’ll need pipeline work experience and certifications. You’ll need an American Welding Society’s (“AWS”) - “AWS Certified Welder certificate.” This certificate includes the SMAW Pipe AWS certificate, which is one of the most important certificates for pipeliners.
US Salary Range: According to EMSI labor market data, entry-level pipeliners earn $52,000, while the national median pay is $64,000. The top welders take home more than $100,000.
Welder fabricators work in various industries, from transportation to large infrastructure. Once you obtain the necessary skills, you’ll always have job opportunities. Fabrication takes place everywhere in the world, and there are fabrication shops all over the USA. This line of work is exciting if you like to make different things.
Fabricators must have good knowledge of all arc welding processes. But, MIG and TIG are mainly employed thanks to their precision and weld appearance. Besides welding skills, you must be trained in blueprint reading and have a good eye for design and estimation dimensions. Functioning well in a team is also necessary because metal fabrication often involves multiple operators working together.
Depending on your role in the shop, you’ll need a minimum of an AWS Certified Welder certificate. But, you may also need machining, metal fabrication, or similar credentials.
US Salary Range: Entry-level welding fabricators earn about $39,000, while the median salary in the US is $44,000. The most skilled fabricators earn above $75,000 a year.
Boilermakers are extremely skilled welders and metalworkers who construct, maintain, and repair pressure vessels for hydro, nuclear, chemical, cement, steel, glass, and other industries. Without these pressure vessels, generating energy or moving chemicals, liquids, and gasses would be impossible.
Welding is only one of the skills boilermakers must have. Metal cutting, shaping, and welding are fundamentals. But, you need to have pipe welding, metal fabricating, auxiliary mechanisms, scaffolding, and crane knowledge. It’s necessary to have a high degree of mechanical experience coupled with exceptional welding skills. Math, blueprint reading, construction site experience, and teamwork are also crucial for a successful boilermaker career.
You should undergo dedicated boilermaker training and obtain the necessary welding certificates. The National Center for Construction Education and Research is the best place to start. They have a four-level curriculum that meets all the requirements for a boilermaker career.
US Salary Range: According to EMSI labor market data, entry-level boilermakers earn $44,000, while the national median pay is $58,000. The top welders take home more than $87,000.
Construction / Structural Welder
Construction / Structural Welders work in the construction industry, where they weld metal components together to form structural frameworks for buildings, bridges, and other infrastructure. They may also repair and maintain existing structures.
Structural welders must have strong welding skills and be able to read and interpret blueprints and schematics. They must also have good knowledge of all arc welding processes. But, MIG and TIG are mainly employed thanks to their precision and weld appearance.
Depending on your role in the construction industry, you’ll need a minimum of an AWS Certified Welder certificate. But, you may also need other credentials.
US Salary Range: Entry-level construction welders earn about $35,000, while the median salary in the US is $44,000. The most skilled welders earn above $70,000 a year.
Aerospace Welders work in the aerospace industry, where they weld metal components together to form aircraft structures. They may also repair and maintain existing aircraft.
Aerospace welders must have strong welding skills and be able to read and interpret blueprints and schematics. They must also have good knowledge of all arc welding processes. But, TIG is mainly employed thanks to its precision and weld appearance.
Related Article: Different Types of Welding Jobs and Careers in 2023
Inside the Life of a Welder - Challenges and Rewards
If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding career, welding may be the perfect fit for you. Welders are responsible for the fabrication and repair of metals and other materials using a variety of welding techniques. The job is not easy, but it is essential to our modern world - without welding, we would not have cars, planes, ships, bridges, high-rise buildings, or even spacecraft.
To become a welder, you can start with a high school diploma and then pursue further education, such as an apprenticeship or online courses. Welders can also obtain certifications to improve their skills and increase their salary potential.
The average welder salary in the United States is around $36,000 per year, but this can vary depending on location, years of experience, and education level. Welders who are part of a union or work overtime may earn more. Additionally, welders may receive benefits such as retirement and healthcare, as well as compensation for attention to detail and supervision.
Entry-level welders can expect to earn less than mid-career welders, but with experience and additional certifications, they can increase their salary level. Welders who specialize in certain industries, such as aerospace or nuclear power, may also earn more.
Welding can be a dangerous job, but with proper training and attention to safety, it is a rewarding career. Welders can take pride in their work and the impact it has on society. If you are interested in welding, consider trying it out as a hobby or taking a class to see if it is the right career path for you.
At ArcCaptain, we are committed to making welding equipment accessible to everyone by offering high-quality welders at a reasonable cost. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced welder, we have the tools you need to succeed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average weekly income for welders?
The average weekly income for welders varies depending on their specialty, experience, and location.
Which states offer the highest salaries for welders?
The states that offer the highest salaries for welders are typically those with a high demand for welding services and a high cost of living.
How much can a pipe welder expect to earn annually?
Pipe welders are in high demand due to their specialized skills. The average base salary for pipe welders in the United States is $26.08 per hour. This translates to an annual income of around $54,000 assuming a 40-hour workweek.
What is the typical salary for a rig welder?
Rig welders are typically hired by oil and gas companies to work on offshore drilling rigs. The average base salary for rig welders in the United States is $27.81 per hour. Assuming a 40-hour workweek, this translates to an annual income of around $58,000.
Can underwater welders earn more compared to other welding specialties?
Underwater welding is a specialized field that requires additional training and certification. Underwater welders can earn significantly more than other welding specialties. The average hourly wage for underwater welders in the United States is $26.32, which translates to an annual income of around $55,000 assuming a 40-hour workweek.