Author: Adam Mason
Published: October 25, 2021
Everyone knows that welders are among the highest-paid tradesmen.
Welders who work hard to develop their skills and knowledge of the craft are able to benefit from high demand, and the ability to bargain for better pay and have access to highly sought-after positions.
A welder’s pay can vary greatly depending on the state they work in, the company they work for as well as the skill level they possess.
When choosing which niche to fill in the welding job market, it is important to understand the difference between different welding positions. Some types of welding jobs pay much more than others for good reason. Some positions will require a welder to work in harsh or unpleasant conditions.
Many places where demand for welders is high, like Alaska, are known for difficult weather and challenging conditions. Welders are also frequently asked to leave their families for long periods of time at very remote work locations.
In many cases, the jobs can come with significant hazards as well. Remote locations, dangerous environments, and jobs that require the welder to work in an enclosed area generally pay much more than other welding jobs.
Underwater welding jobs are generally the most dangerous for a variety of reasons and offer pay that few other welding positions could compete with.
Three Best Paid Welding Jobs
As an occupation, welding comes with a great deal of satisfaction, but it is also a highly competitive trade that requires those considering it to weigh their options carefully.
What follows is a description of the highest-paying welding jobs available. We will discuss the hazards, the benefits, and the pay ranges for each to help you make a more informed decision.
- Underwater Welding – Wet Welding & Dry Welding Or Hyperbaric Chambers
Easily one of the most dangerous activities a welder can do, underwater welding, is also among the most secure and highest paying jobs out there. Underwater welding comes with special compensation for the added hazards that come with working underwater.
In addition to the obvious dangers, these tradesmen also have to cope with barometric pressure.
Despite all this, many underwater welders enjoy the challenge and travel, as well as the surreal working conditions. Underwater welding comes in two forms, wet welding, and dry welding. Wet welding is done while the welder is submerged, either partially or completely.
Specially designed welding rods are used to make this possible. Dry welding or hyperbaric welding means welding in a sealed chamber that is submerged.
The hyperbaric chamber encloses the welder and the material to be welded. It is filled with helium or argon and oxygen to force the water out, allowing the welder to do his work. Underwater welders are required to undergo an extensive course of training.
This education includes diving proficiency which comes with a whole range of required skills as a professional welder.
Aspiring underwater welders must pass a series of stringent performance and knowledge tests to earn their underwater welder certification. Skill sets required include SCUBA diving, topside welding, and underwater welding.
The average underwater welder’s salary is $60k – $105k annually. However, most incomes float around $25,000 – $80,000. Diver welders in the top 10% make $115k while the bottom 10% pull in $30,700. And according to payscale.com its $39k – $125k
- Welding Technician/Robotic Welding – The Line Between Welder And An Engineer
Welding is a terrific skill set to have and will continue to be much-needed for many years. Welders will be needed to work in difficult-to-reach places, low volume fabrication, and repair.
Many functions of welders will remain too complex to automate.
Machines have been built that can perform many welding tasks, but working in unpredictable environments and making difficult decisions will require a professional human welder for the foreseeable future.
In construction, a certified welding technician will regularly encounter a variety of metals and various situations that require their specialized expertise.
Contractors and employers will expect the tech to be well-versed in the latest developments and technology within the field and able to apply it.
A welding technician typically works in construction or assembly work. He or she must make critical decisions involving the type of welding techniques, equipment, and processes to be used.
The need for certified welding technicians will continue to increase, making this career path a secure job opportunity with good pay. Pay by Experience for a Welding Technician is on an upward trend. More on robot welding here.
An entry-level Certified Welding Technician with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $51 – $62(in thousands) based plus bonuses, overtime pay and tips.
- Army Military Support
With America’s military heavily engaged overseas, there is a definite demand for skilled trades in all four branches of the Military, particularly for welders.
The pros of working for the military are guaranteed benefits, good pension, and healthcare, an opportunity to travel, and a secure job.
To enlist in the Military as a welder you will have to pass a thorough physical and mental examination.
However, fear not because there are always high-demand Military Occupational Specialties (MOSs).
When you pass all the tests you will be sent to Allied Trades Training. The training lasts around 19 weeks and during it, you will also learn machinist skills that will come in handy when you go back to the private sector.
The salary is not impressive but there are other benefits besides a safe job that make up for it. Ability to Earn Credentials in GMAW, SMAW, flux-cored arc welding, GTAW, and oxyfuel cutting/plasma cutting.
Education benefits, like Tuition Assistance that allows a person to receive up to $250 per credit hour to take college classes. Afterward, then come credentialing programs, like further AWS and NIMS certifications. You can even become an AWS Certified Welding Inspector. The best thing about these benefits is that soldiers who serve honorably are going have access to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and benefits in this bill can be transferred to your family members.
$48,988 –Average yearly salary by Paysa.com
Pay will differ a lot depending on the state, certification, skills, and the branch of the military.
The Average yearly salary from other sources:
- $41,076 U.S. Army Welder yearly salaries in the United States per Indeed.com
- $46,919 Average Salary of Military Welder Jobs per ZipRecruiter.com
- Pipeline Welder (Highly Skilled Welders)
Oil, gas, water, and other pipelines provide the lifeblood of our infrastructure. Pipe welders will always be in high demand as long as the demand for fuel and other resources is high.
Many pipe welders work on oil rigs and refineries. These facilities comprise the majority of the oil and gas industry. Pipeline welders are also needed in the automotive industry, shipbuilding, nuclear energy, aerospace, and fabrication, not to mention the armed forces.
Oftentimes, work areas are in hard-to-reach locations. In addition to learning how to lay down high-quality welds, welders working on industrial pipes must master the application of their craft while working in difficult positions.
The national average Pipe Welders salary range from $35k – $58k/yr according to salaryexpert.com. On payscale.com your Market Worth would be 58k/yr and on glassdoor.com it’s $38,166/yr.
*Program length when completed in normal time.