If you’ve ever wondered about the earning potential of welders, you’re not alone. The amount you can make as a welder depends on various factors. To give you a better idea, let’s dive into the average earnings, future prospects, and educational requirements for welding jobs.
Average Annual Salary of Welders in 2013
The average annual salary of welders varies significantly across different states. For instance, in Nevada, welders earn around $45,000 per year or $17 per hour. On the other hand, the top 10% of welders make over $72,000, while the bottom 10% earn around $28,000. The highest average salary can be found in Alaska, where welders make a whopping $71,570 annually. It’s no surprise that Alaska’s flourishing welding industry rewards welders generously.
Although wages are on the rise, they haven’t kept up with the demand for skilled workers. As a result, welders need to consider more than just wages when making their career choices. In major metropolitan areas, the minimum wage is currently set at $15 per hour, forcing fabrication shops to increase their wages to attract entry-level workers.
Interestingly, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Washington pay their entry-level welders more than the national average. In fact, between 2008 and now, these states have increased their pay rates compared to the national average. While Idaho ranks last in terms of pay, the state has experienced recent welding wage growth. This means that welders in Idaho may consider relocating to regions with higher-paying opportunities.
In Canada, welders can earn as much as C$85,000 per year at the upper end of the scale. In the UK, welders can expect to earn around thirty-eight pounds per year. In Switzerland, welders earn as much as CHF 115,000. In Norway, welders are often paid on a daily basis.
Salaries are determined based on the level of skill required for a specific welding position. Highly skilled welders generally earn more than their less skilled counterparts. According to the Occupational Employment Statistics program, the average annual wage for welders varies by state.
The Pacific Northwest and Mountain West region have the highest employment rates for welders. However, Oregon has seen a decline in the number of welders since 1998, while Montana, Idaho, and Washington have experienced an increase. Notably, North Dakota continues to grow and added 480 new welders last year.
The average annual salary of welders varies widely by region and specialization. Starting salaries may begin at around $15 per hour, but many jobs pay more than that. As welders gain experience and expertise, their earnings can reach up to $18 per hour. On an annual basis, welders can expect to earn between $43,000 and $68,000.
Future Earnings of Welders
Future earnings for welders depend on several factors, including the type of welding and the location of employment. Traveling welders generally earn more than those who stay in one place. Moreover, the location of the job can affect the welder’s safety, with higher-risk jobs commanding higher pay.
The welding industry’s growth ensures promising future earnings for welders. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a need for over 450,000 new welders in the next decade. This growth rate is expected to continue for another decade. Furthermore, welding skills are transferable to various industries.
Welders can look forward to a bright future, especially with the increasing demand for housing. However, most welders struggle to save for retirement due to their low salaries. Nonetheless, they can benefit from the flexibility of working from home and having more quality time with their families.
Apart from exceptional welding skills, interpersonal skills are crucial in welding jobs. Building and maintaining client satisfaction is vital. Welders should be friendly, outgoing, and customer-oriented. If you excel in welding, you might even consider starting your own small welding business.
For veterans of the military, there are many benefits available, including tuition assistance and credentialing programs. These benefits can easily exceed three hundred dollars per year for an experienced welder. Veterans can also take advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which offers education benefits that can be transferred to their families.
While welders may not become high earners, they will continue to have many opportunities in various industries for decades to come. Unlike accountants, lawyers, or auditors, welders may not have as many opportunities for career advancement. However, the upside is that welders don’t necessarily require a college degree. In fact, you can start your welding apprenticeship right after high school and begin earning money.
Locations of Lucrative Welding Jobs
The highest-paying welding jobs are often found in large cities with significant manufacturing industries. Although welding positions are available in smaller towns, they generally pay less and may require more travel. However, these positions provide opportunities to develop different skills and gain experience in diverse welding jobs. Therefore, it’s essential to consider whether a job is located in a large city or a small town when searching for welding opportunities.
The aerospace industry is one of the most lucrative sectors for welding jobs. Apart from aircraft manufacturing, light and heavy railway equipment, maritime vessels, and infrastructure industries all require skilled welders. Additionally, learning computer-aided drawing programs and robotics can enhance your job prospects.
Underwater welding is another highly lucrative field. This type of job requires specialized training and experience. Underwater welders must be certified commercial divers, familiar with decompression chambers, and experienced in deep-sea diving. The job also demands an advanced understanding of barometric pressure. In addition to welding skills, underwater welders may need underwater photography skills to evaluate submerged equipment and pipes. This job can be highly rewarding and may offer international travel opportunities.
The fabrication industry is another source of lucrative welding jobs. Welders play a vital role in the construction industry, which often requires a large number of welders simultaneously. Large construction projects often involve extensive metalwork, and welders can work on multiple projects simultaneously. If you’re afraid of heights, don’t worry—there are other positions available in construction that don’t require working on scaffolding.
Although the basic wage of a welder may not be exorbitant, it can be decent. Depending on your level of experience, you can earn between thirty and sixty thousand dollars per year. While it may not be enough to buy a second home or save up for expensive gear, not everyone dreams of becoming rich. However, there are several locations where welders can earn up to six figures.
Education Required to Become a Welder
As a welder, physical fitness is essential. You’ll be standing for long hours, and fatigue can negatively impact your work quality. Additionally, good communication and teamwork skills are crucial. You should be able to take direction and lead others while being adaptable to changes.
To become a welder, a high school diploma or GED is generally required. Some high schools offer welding courses that can prepare you for various types of welding. You’ll also need a basic understanding of mathematics since welding often involves measurements. If you lack a math background, consider taking math courses before enrolling in a welding program.
In addition to learning welding techniques, you must familiarize yourself with different metals and how to work with them. Welders also need excellent hand-eye coordination, as they often bend, lift, and manipulate metals. The job can be physically demanding, and you may be required to work in various weather conditions. Moreover, welding is an inherently hazardous occupation.
Those interested in pursuing a welding career should have a passion for building things. They need to be knowledgeable about different types of welding and how potential employers utilize them. Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) and metal inert gas (MIG) welding are the two most popular welding processes. MIG welding is commonly used for fabricating metal joints and is also prevalent in the automotive and shipbuilding industries.
If welding sparks your interest, you can start your training at a community college or technical school. Some of these institutions offer welding programs, although you may also need to take general and non-welding classes. Community colleges typically offer two-year programs, and students can become certified by taking the AWS certification test. Do note that becoming certified can take some time. However, once you have your certification, you can start working as a welder.
There are also multiple organizations through which you can earn welding certifications. For example, Delta Technical College certifies students in various welding techniques. Additionally, some employers have internal welding certification programs. You may also consider obtaining welding certifications from the American Welding Society or the American Petroleum Institute, as these certifications can enhance your job prospects. The application process and testing for welding certification can take several months.