How much does welding pay?
As with most jobs, a welder’s salary depends a lot on their skill and experience levels.
On average, a welder’s hourly pay is usually around $20 per hour, but this takes into account both beginners and the very highest earners. At the top end of the scale, very skilled, highly-qualified welders can earn $30-$40 per hour.
In general, the farthest locations and the most dangerous jobs carry the highest salaries, as do offshore oil rig contracts. However, it’s up to you to weigh up whether the extra income is worth the risk, long hours and time spent away from home.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that some specialized jobs (such as those involving underwater or pipe welding) will only keep you busy for a few months at a time. Although you might earn a big income over the course of a few months, as soon as the contract ends you might find yourself bringing in nothing until you find the next welding gig. Some welders like having these breaks between jobs, while others don’t like the feeling of uncertainty which this type of work can bring.
Whether you’re a new welder or someone who’s been in the game for a few years, there are always things that you can do to increase your wage. Do as much training and gain as many qualifications as you can, as this will attract employers’ attention and make it clear that you know your stuff. The initial outlay for the course fees might seem high, but you’ll easily make your money back with the extra pay that you earn.
Similarly, if you have a broad skill level then you’ll appeal to more employers, so try to perfect as many different welding techniques as possible. This also means that if demand drops in one particular field, you won’t be left wondering where to turn in your career, as you’ll already be qualified and experienced enough to move into another area.
Location also plays a big part in a welder’s salary, so it’s worth carefully considering whether you’re in the best place for your career. For example, wages in Alaska average out at double the wages that welders earn in South Dakota, so do your research to find out where the highest paying jobs will take you. It stands to reason that the parts of the country with a high demand for welders will pay more, so it’s really worth considering a move if you’re able to do so.
How much does underwater and pipeline welding pay?
Underwater and pipeline welding are more specialized techniques which need more training and carry higher risks, so naturally these are higher earning areas.
The average underwater welder’s salary usually falls at around $24 per hour, which works out to about $54,000 per year. Low earners might only see $30,000 per year, while the top earners can rake in £90,000 or more. It isn’t uncommon for very experienced underwater welders to bring home six figures.