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Traveling Welder Salary: Insights and Averages Across the Industry

Jul 03, 2024

Traveling Welder Salary

Traveling welders have the advantage of taking their skills on the road, working on a variety of projects in different locations. This mobility can lead to an interesting and varied career where earnings can differ greatly.

Factors such as your experience, the type of industries you work in, and the places you go all play a part in how much you can earn. You'll not only get a base salary or hourly wage but may also receive additional money for daily expenses and travel, making each job potentially different from the last in terms of pay.

When thinking about where to work, it's important to keep in mind that the cost of living and the local need for welders can greatly impact your potential earnings.

Fundamentals of Traveling Welder Salary

When considering a career as a traveling welder, you need to be well-informed about the financial aspects.

Understanding the average salaries, wage ranges, and factors that influence income is crucial for making informed career choices.

Average Salary and Wage

The average annual salary of a traveling welder in the United States is $46,302. This equates to an hourly wage of approximately $22.

These figures can give you a baseline expectation when discussing compensation or considering job offers.

Salary Range and Hourly Pay

The salary range for a traveling welder varies widely, from $29,500 to $65,000 per year.

This variation reflects different experience levels, locations, and employers. For a more immediate perspective, hourly pay can be a valuable comparison tool, with rates fluctuating based on similar factors.

Factors Influencing Salary

Several variables affect your salary as a traveling welder.

Your years of experience, the complexity of the projects you undertake, and the geographic location of your work are significant contributors.

Additionally, the demand for skilled labor in your area can either bolster or reduce your earning potential.

Regional Variations in Pay

In the United States, your salary as a traveling welder can significantly differ based on your location.

Some cities offer higher wages to compensate for the cost of living, while others may pay less but have lower living expenses.

Highest Paying Cities

Several cities consistently rank as top-paying locations for traveling welders. Based on recent data:

  • Washington: Leading the way with salary figures that surpass the national average by approximately 16.9%.
  • Chicago, IL: Known to offer competitive wages for skilled trades like welding.

Cost of Living Considerations

While certain areas may boast high salaries, it's crucial to consider the cost of living:

  • High-paying regions often have higher living expenses, which can offset the benefits of increased pay.
  • Cities like Washington and Chicago can be more expensive. Therefore, a higher wage here doesn't always equate to more purchasing power.

State-by-State Comparisons

When you compare traveling welder salaries on a state level:

  • States like Washington, Delaware, and Virginia rank above the national average.
  • It's important to weigh the local economic conditions and average salaries to understand how much your income will stretch in different regions.

Impact of Experience on Earnings

The salary of a traveling welder is highly influenced by the number of years you've been working in the field.

More experience typically equates to higher earnings due to the skill and expertise developed over time.

Years of Experience

No Experience: If you are just starting out as a traveling welder with no experience, you may find that your earning potential is on the lower end of the wage scale.

Years of Experience

Average Annual Salary

Less than 1 year

$33,000 - $41,000

1-2 years

$35,000 - $45,000

As you gain more experience, these figures can increase substantially. With each additional year of experience, you have the opportunity to enhance your skills and possibly specialize, which can open doors to higher-paying projects.

Entry-Level vs. Senior Welder Salary

Entry-Level: When you're an entry-level travel welder, typically with 0-2 years of experience, your expected annual salary tends to be lower due to the learning curve and lack of field experience.

Senior Level: On the other hand, as a senior welder with several years of experience under your belt, your earnings potential increases.

For seasoned welders, particularly those with specialized skills or certifications, the salary tends to be significantly higher.

Pipeline Welders: Specialized areas, such as pipeline welding, can offer higher wages.

Level of Experience

Salary Range


$33,000 - $41,000

Senior Welder

Can exceed $70,000

Industry and Job Market Trends

In the welding industry, your career prospects and potential earnings are influenced by the industry's demand for welding skills and the prevailing salary trends.

By understanding these factors, you can better navigate the job market.

Demand for Welding Skills

The demand for skilled welders remains strong across various industries such as construction, manufacturing, and infrastructure development.

Economic growth stimulates construction projects, which in turn increases the need for welding professionals.

Your ability to travel can present opportunities for higher earnings and diverse work experiences due to labor shortages in certain regions.

Benefits Beyond Salary

When considering a career as a traveling welder, it's essential to look at the complete compensation package, which includes benefits that extend far beyond your paycheck.

Healthcare and Insurance

As a traveling welder, your health and well-being are paramount, especially given the physically demanding nature of the job.

Employers often provide comprehensive healthcare packages that cover medical, dental, and vision insurance.

Such packages ensure that you are protected against health-related expenses, which is a critical aspect of your overall benefits.

Paid Time Off and Holidays

Enjoying a work-life balance is crucial, and as part of this, paid time off (PTO) and holiday allowances are standard benefits for you as a traveling welder.

Paid time off allows you to rest and rejuvenate, spend time with family or pursue hobbies without the stress of lost income.

Companies usually outline holiday schedules and PTO policies in their employment contracts, offering you a chance to plan your personal time effectively.

Training and Career Development

You are often provided with opportunities for professional growth through various training programs and career development initiatives.

This could include on-the-job training, apprenticeship programs, or certifications in specialized welding techniques.

Investing in your skillset not only enhances your proficiency but also positions you for potential wage increases and career advancement within the industry.

Salary Estimates Sources

When exploring welder salaries, it's crucial for you to have access to reliable and current data from a range of sources.

Job Posting Data

Employer job postings are a prime resource for understanding salary ranges for traveling welders.

These postings often contain detailed compensation information, which can give you an insight into what employers are currently offering in the market.

Third-Party Salary Data

Trusted third-party data sources, such as Glassdoor, provide comprehensive salary estimates.

These platforms aggregate self-reported salary data from employees and provide an averaged snapshot which can be instrumental in gauging your potential earnings.

Specific Welder Types and Earnings

Travel welders have various specializations that can significantly influence your potential earnings. Here, we'll explore the specific roles of oil rig welders, pipeline welders, and combination and tank welders, and what you might expect to earn in each of these skilled positions.

Oil Rig Welder

As an oil rig welder, you are often positioned offshore and work in one of the most demanding environments in the welding industry. Your job requires not only a robust skill set but also a willingness to work under challenging conditions.

Salaries for oil rig welders vary based on experience, but even no experience oil rig welders can expect a competitive starting salary due to the demanding nature of the job.

Typically, an oil rig welder’s salary can range from $60,000 to $100,000 annually, with experienced professionals earning at the higher end.

Pipeline Welder

If you're considering a career as a pipeline welder, you'll be engaging in work that includes the installation and maintenance of pipelines used for transporting oil, gas, and other substances. This job often requires travel and long hours, as pipelines stretch across vast distances.

Entry-level work from home pipeline welder positions are virtually non-existent due to the nature of the job. However, salaries for on-site pipeline welders are attractive, often falling between $50,000 and $150,000 per year, depending on the location and the complexity of the projects undertaken.

Combination and Tank Welder

Combination welders are skilled in a range of welding techniques, allowing you to work on various projects, including tanks and structural components.

As a tank welder, you are specialized in welding storage tanks that hold gases or liquids, requiring knowledge of specific welding methods and safety protocols.

The earning potential for combination and tank welders can start from $40,000 and go up to around $85,000 or more annually, with variation based on the type of work, location, and level of expertise.

Working Conditions and Additional Pay

Overtime and Shift Differentials

Overtime: If you work more than the standard 40-hour week, you may be entitled to overtime pay. The amount of overtime can vary, but typically, it is paid at 1.5 times your regular hourly rate.

Shift Differentials: For welding jobs that require you to work nights, weekends, or holidays, you may receive shift differentials which are additional pay rates on top of your hourly wages.

Work From Home and Remote Opportunities

Work from Home: While the nature of welding work usually requires a physical presence, some planning or supervisory roles may offer remote work opportunities. However, as a traveling welder, these instances are relatively rare.

Remote Opportunities: Given the hands-on nature of welding, remote opportunities are limited, and you should expect to be on-site to perform your duties.

Danger Pay and Hazardous Conditions

Hazardous Conditions: Welding can be a dangerous job, involving exposure to high heat and potentially harmful materials.

Safety Measures: Your wages may reflect the additional safety protocols you're required to follow, which can impact the overall complexity and risk associated with your work duties.


The salary of a traveling welder in the United States is subject to a myriad of factors including experience, location, and industry demand. As of March 2024, you can expect an average hourly rate of $22.26, though this can range from $14.18 to $31.25 reflecting the diversity of opportunities in this field.

Financially, the role may prove lucrative, with benefits such as per diem rates and travel expenses potentially enhancing your overall compensation package. If you're considering a career in traveling welding, it's important to factor in the varying economic conditions across states and the additional benefits beyond base salary that may be on offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the hardest welding job?

The hardest welding jobs are often those that involve extreme conditions or high-risk environments. Underwater welding, for example, is widely considered one of the most challenging and dangerous. It requires working underwater, often at great depths, and dealing with hazards like unpredictable currents, poor visibility, and pressure-related health risks. 

Additionally, working as a pipeline welder in remote locations can be particularly demanding due to the harsh outdoor conditions and the precision required for high-pressure lines.

Is there such a thing as a portable welder?

Yes, portable welders exist and are commonly used for repair work, construction sites, and in any situation where mobility is required. These welders come in different forms, including handheld models and those that can be transported on a cart or vehicle.

Portable welders often use gasoline, diesel, or batteries for power, allowing welders to operate them in locations where electricity may not be readily available.

Is being a welder a profitable career?

Being a welder can be a profitable career, especially for those who acquire advanced skills, certifications, and experience in specialized welding techniques. The profitability of a welding career can increase with the ability to take on complex tasks that are in high demand. 

Specialized welders, for example, may command higher pay rates. Geographic location and industry needs also play a significant role in the earning potential of welders.

What are specialized welders?

Specialized welders are those who have focused their skills on a specific type of welding process or application. They might be certified in advanced techniques such as TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding, or they may work in industries that require specific types of welds, such as aerospace or automotive manufacturing.

Specialization typically requires additional training and certification, and it can lead to higher pay and more selective job opportunities.

What industry hires the most welders?

The construction industry is one of the largest employers of welders due to its constant need for structural welding in the building of commercial and residential properties, infrastructure, and large-scale industrial projects.

Manufacturing also hires a substantial number of welders for the production of metal goods and machinery. Additionally, specialized industries like aerospace, automotive, and shipbuilding employ welders specifically trained for their unique welding requirements.


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