If they are honest, most people wouldn’t mind getting paid more at their job. Welders are no different. A welder’s salary can range widely, with some earning as low as $30,000 annually, others earning up to $60,000, and specialists making up to $200,000.
So how can you negotiate a higher welder salary?
Sure, you could go up and ask your boss. That might work, but it might not. Or you might not get a raise as big as you were hoping for.
Like any job, negotiating a higher welder salary should start with giving yourself an edge in the conversation. If you can demonstrate WHY you deserve to be making more, it makes it more difficult for the employer to turn you down or give you a low-ball counter offer.
Average Welder Salary
With welding jobs in demand, there are a lot of good opportunities out there to find work. This also means that the average welder salary varies depending on where you live.
In the United States, the average welder salary is about $38,000 annually, according to data obtained from Indeed.
In certain states like New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont, there are plenty of welding jobs with salaries above the national average. In New York, for instance, the average welder salary is $43,166. Due to a growing job market, there are many opportunities to make good money and work on major construction projects.
One thing to keep in mind is that several factors come in to play when determining welder salaries.
The salaries highlighted above are for your average welder at a fabrication shop. As you’ll learn below, certain types of welding jobs pay well above these average salaries.
Another factor to consider is the type of employer. If you get a welding job and join a union, the pay may be higher. Typically, union jobs pay better than non-union ones and come with better perks and benefits.
If you want to make significantly more than the average welder salary, you could consider going out on your own. Those who take the risk to bet on themselves and be their own boss can make significantly more than the guys they pay to do work in the shop.
Being your own boss comes with risks, but the earning potential is exponential.
5 Ways to Increase Your Welder Salary
If you want to make more money and increase your welder salary, there are several ways you can go about it.
Sometimes, making more money isn’t about being a shrewd negotiator. If you take certain steps to improve your skills and knowledge, it’s tougher for an employer to try and offer you less.
Here are five different ways to make more money welding.
- Practice and Improve Your Skills
It may sound cliche, but the easiest way to make money welding is to get better at it. Welding isn’t really a career where you can pretend you have the skills—poor work results in poor pay.
Most employers today will have you complete some welding tests before getting hired. The test does two things. First, it lets you demonstrate that you can safely complete different welding processes and tasks. Second, it showcases the quality of your work. Employers use this to get a baseline of your welding skills and help determine your welder salary.
If you want to make more money than the average welder, you need to be better at your job than the average welder.
Taking the time to practice and improve your skills is how you get better. The more you can master different skills, the more you can progress in your career.
Besides just practicing, there are a few ways to get better as a welder. Taking classes, finding a mentor, watching training videos, or join a program like Welder101.
- Get an Education
One surefire way to increase your earning potential is to work on your education. If you commit to going to school, you can significantly increase your knowledge and develop a range of skills.
There are different certifications you can earn to demonstrate your training and experience. The American Welder Society offers several certifications that can make you stand out to employers. Some of these certifications include:
- Senior Certified Welding Inspector Certification
- Certification for Certified Welding Inspector
- Certification for Certified Welding Educator
- Certified Welding Engineer Certification
- Certification for Certified Welding Sales Representative
- Certified Radiographic Interpreter Certification
- Certification for Certified Robotic Arc Welding
- Certified Associate Welding Inspector Certification
- Certification for Certified Welding Supervisor
- Certified Welder Certification
With any type of work, location matters. As mentioned above, certain parts of the country (and the world) pay a higher welder salary than other areas do on average.
If the salaries in your area aren’t what you feel you deserve, you may have to relocate for a better opportunity. For some, that might mean going on an adventure and moving to another country like Switzerland, Germany, Norway, or even Canada. All of these countries have jobs with great welding salaries.
If you aren’t looking to make a drastic change and move permanently, you could also consider travel welding. Some welding jobs can have you traveling for work for weeks or months at a time. Crews on oil rigs in the middle of the ocean or crews building pipelines across the country will work in shift rotations. If you want to make the sacrifice and travel for work on a rotation, you can make more than the average welder working 9-5 in a fabrication shop.
For some, that isn’t feasible. If you need to be home and close to family, travel welding may not be for you. If you still want to make more money, you may have to consider moving your family to a different state. Check out this article to see how welder salaries compare across each state and different countries worldwide.
- Shift Industries
Sometimes moving doesn’t have to mean changing your physical location. As mentioned earlier, certain types of welding jobs pay more than others do.
Welding is a fundamental skill, and the process itself is similar, regardless of the type of project. A MIG welder works the same 20 stories above the ground on a New York City skyscraper as it does at a fabrication shop in the midwest.
But, if you want to increase your welder salary, you may need to shift the type of welding you do.
Certain welding jobs pay more money because the risk, or the skill and knowledge that’s needed, is much greater. If a welding job requires you to work in a dangerous setting that could lead to injury (or even death), they have to pay you a premium rate.
Take underwater welding as an example. Sure, the welding process is similar to work done on land, but the added risk of drowning, changes in pressure, or dealing with swirling currents, requires specialized training and skill. It’s not for everyone. Employers in this area need to pay well above the average welder salary to the right person and ensure their work gets completed properly.
If you’re looking to switch industries, here are a few types of welding jobs that offer higher pay. Keep in mind that many of these require additional training and education to complete the work safely.
- Aerospace welding
- Underwater welding
- Pipeline welding
- Rig welding
- Gain Experience
For some, how much money they make welding comes down to experience. The more years you have under a welding helmet with a torch in your hand, the more you can expect to make. A new apprentice shouldn’t expect to make the same money as the guy who has been welding for 20+ years.
As your experience grows and you work on more projects, you’ll naturally become faster and more efficient at your job. Employers like that, especially when they’re paying an hourly rate for your time. If you can demonstrate this improvement and show employers you have the experience to excel at your work, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to increase your wage.
If you want to gain welding experience, there are plenty of opportunities out there. Take advantage of these opportunities when they present themselves. If you’re still in school, look for shop assistant positions and work part-time. Not only will this help you build experience to put on your resume, but you’ll also get to pick up tips and tricks from more experienced welders in the shop.
Best of all, that may even lead to finding a higher-paying job down the road. If you build connections while still in school, you can use them to find out about opportunities later on in your career.
3 Key Factors That Influence Your Welder Salary
It’s not just your experience or knowledge that can help increase your wage and welder salary. There are three other key factors that many employers will consider.
Someone could excel at everything they do in the shop, but if their other traits and qualities don’t align with what the employer is looking for, they might not get offered a job. Remember, employers don’t just hire on skill or experience alone.
If you want to make more money welding, consider these key factors:
Be Punctual and Reliable
Employers want someone they can trust. If you don’t show up for work on time, you can’t expect to get a raise or increase your welder salary. It goes without saying, but you have to show up if you want to get paid.
Showing up doesn’t just mean coming to work that day. Are you reliable? Do you show up to work 15 minutes before your shift every day, or do you stumble in 5-10 minutes late a couple of times a week? If an employer has one welder that is on time and one who is not, who do you think is going to get a raise first? Being punctual and reliable are some of the easiest ways to build trust with your boss.
Don’t pass up opportunities for overtime work either. Sure, you don’t have to stay late every time your boss asks. But, if you are someone who works hard and will put in extra hours to help get the job done, you can show your boss that you’re someone they can rely on. This can go a long way when it comes time to ask for a raise or when the boss is writing checks for holiday bonuses.
Have the Right Attitude
Besides just showing up on time, employers also want to make sure you have the right attitude. Employers will hire welders who might not have the experience they’re looking for but do have the right attitude. You can always train someone to become a good welder. It’s hard to train someone to have a positive attitude, though.
So what does this look like exactly?
Having the right attitude means respecting your coworkers, being dedicated, and taking pride in your work. Being someone who helps their teammates, asks questions, and always tries to get better can reflect positively on your employer and help you build rapport with them.
Demonstrate a Solid Work Ethic
Employers look at more than just your attitude and attendance record, they also factor in your work ethic.
Being someone who goes above and beyond, puts in a good effort, and demonstrates that they’re committed to the company and work being done are all ways to help increase your welder salary. Of course, you can’t just do this now and then.
To really stand out and show your boss that you deserve more pay, you need to do these things every day.
Improve Your Welding Skills and Knowledge with Welder101
If you’re looking to learn new welding skills or just give yourself a refresher, consider enrolling in Welder101. This detailed course combines 30+ years of welding experience into over 50 easy-to-follow video tutorials that you can view at your own pace. The Welder101 library of materials and resources continues to grow, and enrollment comes with a lifetime membership, so you are never out of the loop!
If you’re serious about increasing your welder salary, Welder101 can help you develop the skill and knowledge you need to stand out to employers!