Welding is a profession that earns you a good amount of money there is no doubt about that. It is a wrong notion that welders earn less than other professionals in any other given field, but welding has a wide scope and is a big industry.
As welding comes in different forms and types, the income differs as well. Moreover, the type of job and the experience you have as a welder is also a big determinant of your earnings in this career.
Industries such as construction, manufacturing, transportation, and motorsports, as well as oil and gas companies, need welders all the time, where the ladder almost always pays more.
How much do welders earn?
On average, based on the Department of Labor the salary of welders in the U.S. is around $36,000 a year. Different industries have specific criteria and so the amount of money you earn varies from industry to industry and state to state. How much money you earn as a welder definitely depends on a variety of factors. Following are some significant factors:
As a beginner, you earn comparatively less than an experienced welder. At the lower end, a beginner can make $15 to $18 per hour. On average entry-level welding positions in different industries and state departments pay around $25,000 to $35,000 a year.
However, if you have a good 5 years of experience, you can earn as much as $60,000 to $75,000 a year. As your experience level increases and skills improve, the money you make keep adding as well.
If you combine experience with a willingness to relocate (say to an oil rig in the ocean, or to North Dakota to work with the oil shale companies) then several years of experience can net you north of $100k.
Having a welding certification from welding school adds a lot to the value of your skills. Welders with certification usually earn significantly more than welders who join the profession without certification.
Certifications from different welding schools such as Hobart Institute of Welding Technology, Lincoln Welding School, and Tulsa Welding School have a great impact on your income and career in general. Welders who come out from these welding schools get better positions and definitely earn more than regular welders.
Different welding jobs in big industries often come with a certification requirement, some companies even do their own tests to determine if you are good for the job. But if you have a valid certification, there is no doubt that you can get a decent job.
Type of welding
Different types of welding earn a different amount of money. The three major types include:
- Metal Inert Gas Welding (MIG)
- Tungsten Inert Gas Welding (TIG)
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding or Stick Welding
Out of these, MIG welding is the most popular and has the most demand in a number of industries.
When you choose to weld as a profession, it is not only confined to be a welder. If you have specialized in MIG welding, it is not necessary that you merely earn as a welder. You can choose to become a welding engineer, instructor, or inspector. The ladder, almost every welder hates but someone needs to do this job as well as any other.
All of these diverse careers pay more than being out on a field welder.
Type of industry
Each industry requires a specific level of experience and skills. And so, each industry pays accordingly. Moreover, every industry comes with different level of risks. When you are good at taking risks and doing the job perfectly, the pay almost automatically increases.
Construction industry sometimes requires working at heights. As it is a great risk, the industry pays more. Other industries like oil and gas companies require long working days out on the field for weeks. There is also the option to become an underwater welder, and they are paid higher than the average.
Area you work in
Now, if you are looking for work in the local area, in the south, you are going to earn around $20 per hour. The average pay for welders in the US increases as you move more up north.
However, if your welding job requires traveling from place to place, you are going to earn more than average.
Also, if you work in an industry like ships and transportation or oil and gas companies, they provide you accommodation as well. You need to live on the platform for an extended period of time. While you are away from home, you can earn even more than $100,000 a year for a half a year of work.
Therefore, if you are working far from home and in dangerous conditions, you earn more such as:
- Traveling industrial pipe welders can earn between $50,000 and $185,000 a year.
- Underwater welders earn between $100,000 and $200,000 a year.
- Military support welders can earn as much as $160,000 to $200,000 a year, especially in hot and dry areas like the Middle East.
How much do MIG Welders make?
Out of hundreds of different types of welding, MIG welding is the most common. Let’s dig into how much do MIG welders make.
MIG welders come with exceptional skills and professional training. As they work with super-heated metal in industries, it is quite dangerous. They use complicated machines and work on foot most of the time.
As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, MIG welders make $18 per hour, on average. Depending on the type of task and area, the pay of MIG welders ranges from $12.74 to over $25.50 per hour.
The annual salary of MIG welder can be as low as $25,000 and as high as $88,000 a year, depending on geographic location, experience, and special skills.
What kind of welders make the most money?
When it comes to other types of welding, let’s have a look at what kind of welders make the most money.
TIG welding is another type of welding that makes a handsome amount of money. It requires working under different conditions to cut or join metal pieces together. TIG welders use manual and semi-automatic welding machines to do the job. A TIG welder earns around $19 per hour, on average. Typically, the hourly rate of TIG welders ranges from $14 to $26 an hour.
Annually, a TIG welder can earn between $30,000 and $90,000. The rest depends on different factors as mentioned above.
Stick Welding is another high-end type of welding that is a good career choice. It pays more than MIG and TIG welding. The hourly rate of stick welding ranges from $13 to $27 and more. On average, stick welding pays $18.40 per hour.
You cannot expect a 6 figure annual income right when you start your welding career. However, you need to choose your career path according to your skills and specializations. Once you know what you are capable of, you can earn $200,000 or more a year if you are willing to do the work and gain the experience.
If you are starting out as a welder you need to practice, and if you have the bucks to spend, check out this review about Lincoln 210 MP. With 210 MP you can practice all three welding methods. It is more of a higher tier machine for professionals, but still if you are serious about welding you can buy 1 welder instead of three.