Welding jobs are in demand and expected to grow in the coming years. Depending on where you live, the type of welding needed and the number of available welding jobs can vary. Like any career, different regions can have different annual salaries for similar positions. In most cases, it comes down to the amount of work available and the demand for people to fill those roles.
According to Indeed, the annual base welder salary in the United States is $18.23 per hour. That works out to about $38,000 annually. But, keep in mind, that’s an average salary and wage. This means that there are a number of people earning both above and below that amount.
The average welder salary does not take into account things like experience or additional training and certifications.
With added training and experience on the job, welders can expect to earn great wages over the course of their careers. Welding is a difficult profession but you’re compensated well for your time and effort.
Average Welder Salary in the United States
Data from ZipRecruiter shows that there are seven states in the US that pay welders above the national average salary. Topping out the list are New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont. These areas reportedly have a growing job market with plenty of opportunities for welders.
But what about the rest of the US?
Using the same data from ZipRecruiter, here are the average annual salaries by state:
As you can see, there are plenty of places across the country where you can make a great salary working as a welder.
For some, that might mean you have to move to a different state if you want to increase the amount you make. Even still, with the right training and experience, welders can increase their earnings.
If you take the risk to go out on your own, the amount of money you make can grow even more. Those who own and operate successful businesses and shops can expect to earn well over the salaries mentioned above. It pays to be the boss!
What Country Pays Welders the Most?
Welding is a global career. You can go pretty much anywhere in the world and they’ll need a welder’s help. Travel welding is a way some welders choose to explore the world.
If adventure is your thing, you could find yourself working on job sites in Europe, Asia, and plenty of other amazing spots.
Highest Paying Welder Salaries Around the World
Just like in the US, welding salaries can vary by region. A big factor in this scenario is the type of welding you do. Working on structural metals for instance will earn you less than $40,000 (USD) annually in other countries. If you work on natural gas pipelines, you could easily make over $70,000.
In Canada, welders can make over $60,000 (USD) per year. If you want to travel down under and work in Australia, you can expect to earn up to $51,000 (USD) annually. But the real money to be made welding overseas is in Europe.
Travel welding in Europe can be a great experience. There are countless sights to see and plenty of opportunities to earn a great living. Some of the top places to work as a welder in Europe include Germany, Norway, and Switzerland.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the top welder salaries in these three European countries:
Norway – $118,000 (USD)
Switzerland – $60,000 (USD)
Germany – $52,000 (USD)
How Welders Can Increase Their Earning Potential
If you’re looking to stay closer to home, there are still plenty of ways to make more money as a welder. Training, experience, and type of work all factor into how much money a welder can expect to make.
Here are some of the ways you can set yourself up for success and start earning more money welding.
One of the best ways to make more money welding is to get more certifications. Obtaining certifications and growing your skillset makes you more valuable to employers.
Most employers will require you to have basic welding certifications to land a job. However, the welders that end up making the most money have gone above and beyond the basic certifications.
Obtaining these certifications is easier said than done. Earning them requires time, effort, and skill. You may even have to enroll in specialty training schools or programs to obtain some certifications.
Think of it as an investment in yourself. Spending some money now to get the right training can help you make a lot more down the road.
Here are some of the different certifications offered by the American Welding Society that you might be interested in:
- Senior Certified Welding Inspector Certification
- Certification for Certified Welding Inspector
- Certified Associate Welding Inspector Certification
- Certification for Certified Welding Supervisor
- Certified Welder Certification
- 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
Another way to make more money welding is to travel. As you could see from the data shared above, different states offer different welding salaries. Sometimes the simplest way to increase your salary as a welder is to go where the work is.
Some welding jobs might require you to travel for weeks or months at a time. If you’re willing to make that sacrifice and live on a rig in the ocean or travel along the pipeline as it gets built, you can make more money than the average welder.
Making these kinds of sacrifices and spending extended time away from the family isn’t for everyone. But, employers will pay a premium wage to find people willing to do that work.
Sometimes making more money as a welder simply comes down to time. It goes without saying that when you’re first starting out, don’t expect to be the top wage in the shop. Even if you have extra certifications and land a job with a big company, you’ll still start out on the lower end of the pay scale. That’s because one of the biggest factors in increasing your welding salary is experience.
The more time you’ve spent holding a torch and working on a project, the more knowledge and experience you bring to the table. As your skills progress and your experience grows, you’ll naturally end up working more efficiently and effectively at your job. These are valuable traits to an employer and when you are in possession of them, you may see a raise and increase in your wage.
Typically, after 5-10 years in the industry, you can likely reach the top half of the payroll. In those first 3-5 years starting out, try to be a sponge. Learn as much as you can and improve your skills. If you really want to make top-end money, you always need to be improving your skills and getting better. Even 30-year journeymen still spend time learning and practicing each day.
Type of Work
The great thing about welding is that it’s a fundamental skill. At the end of the day, the processes are quite similar regardless of the project.
If you’re willing to take on a riskier type of work, you’ll get paid more money. When welding needs to be done in a dangerous environment that could lead to injury or death, employers will pay a premium for welders to complete the work.
Consider an underwater welder for instance. They have to deal with dangers like potential explosions, drowning, even dangerous marine wildlife.
While some of the hazards are the same as a manufacturing shop, underwater welders make significantly more because of the excess risk involved with the job. If you’re willing to earn additional certifications and accept these added risks, there are plenty of welding jobs that pay well above the average welder’s salary.
5 Welding Jobs That Can Pay 100K or More
It’s incredibly difficult to pull large ships or other major structures onto land to make repairs.
To become an underwater welder, you need more than just a basic welding certificate. You’ll need to be trained in commercial diving and have specialty welding skills like wet welding.
It takes a decent amount of time, money, and effort to acquire all these skills and certifications. But, if you’re willing to put in the work, you can expect to make the big bucks as an underwater welder.
Rig welders are some of the highest-paid welders in the world. When you’re working on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean, there’s little room for error. You’ll need a diverse skill set and may be required to perform different tasks like underwater welding, hyperbaric welding, and more depending on the type of repair.
Rig welders often live on the rig for weeks or months at a time away from their families. As such, they’re paid a premium for the sacrifice and risks associated with the job.
Industrial Pipeline Welder
In order for pipelines to transport oil and natural gas hundreds of miles without leaking, quality work is an absolute must. Pipeline workers need to have above-average skills and be able to work in almost any position.
With the pipe built in a fixed position, pipe welders can find themselves getting into some difficult positions in order to complete their work. The welder must be able to handle working outdoors in harsh conditions.
Generally, pipelines aren’t built in the most accessible locations. You could find yourself dealing with the harsh conditions of snow and cold winds in Alaska, or the dry and hot deserts of the middle east.
Do you like working at heights? If you’ve ever seen someone working on the top of a bridge or high up on a skyscraper, chances are that was an ironworker.
These types of welders work on large structures like stadiums, skyscrapers, cranes, and bridges. When you’re working up high in the sky, you can be exposed to severe weather and winds.
Wearing a harness and dangling hundreds of feet in the air isn’t for everyone. If you’re someone who isn’t afraid of heights and likes a challenge, a career as an ironworker might be right for you.
Certified Welding Inspector
A lot of welders later in their careers will become certified welding instructors. This type of work involves overseeing and reviewing every aspect of a welding project. Inspectors need to understand welding codes and ensure that work is completed as safely and functionally as possible.
Becoming a certified welding inspector takes years of hands-on experience and knowledge. You’ll also need to pass the American Welding Society’s Certified Welding Inspector Exam.
Increase Your Welder Salary and Skills
If you’re just starting out on your journey as a welder, or are looking to make more money, a great place to start is by growing your knowledge and skills.
Welder 101 is a comprehensive online training program designed to help new welders build their skills and support experienced welders in brushing up on various welding techniques.
With over a growing content library of easy-to-follow video tutorials, training resources, exclusive discounts on welding gear, and access to an online community of welders from around the world, Welder 101 is the perfect way to start, or advance, your welding career!
Don’t wait any longer, get started today!