11 Highest Paying Welding Jobs in 2022 - WaterWelders (2022)

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11 Highest Paying Welding Jobs in 2022 - WaterWelders (1)As a basic welder, the pay is pretty decent, but it’s not the most lucrative of careers. With an annual salary ranging from $30,000 – $60,000 depending on experience, it’s a career that will afford you a decent life, but you won’t be stacking away the savings or buying a second home on this salary. Of course, not everyone has aspirations of getting rich. But if you already have the skills and you possess a desire to maximize your earning potential, there are several welding jobs that can earn you six-figure salaries. To get to the top of the pay scale for welding, it will require specialization and years of experience, but you can achieve your dreams of a high-paying welding job with any of the following 11 choices.

How to Earn More as a Welder

Although the average welder makes a salary that’s respectable but not incredible, specialists in the field can make over $200,000 annually. So, what’s the difference between your average welder earning $40,000 and a superstar welding stud making over $200k? Well, quite a lot actually. The following are some of the major differences that help account for such discrepancies between salaries. The more of these included in the job description, the higher pay you can expect from that particular branch of the industry.

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Qualifications and Certifications

Most welders possess some sort of certification to verify their education in the field. But the welders who earn the highest paychecks often have the most certifications. Not just numbers though, they generally have taken the time to learn and earn the most difficult certifications that require a lot of time, energy, and skill to get. These require the attendance of specialty schools and can cost quite a bit of money along the way. Since these schools aren’t located everywhere, you’ll likely have to relocate, at least temporarily, if you want to get the sort of specialized welding education that will earn you the big bucks.

But schooling and education are only part of the process. You’ll also have to perform certain tests to earn the certifications that will qualify you for the best-paying welding jobs available. These tests can be very difficult and require extensive knowledge of many processes since mistakes in the real world can be catastrophic.

The extra risk means you need extra skills, which is what the best employers are willing to pay for. But you won’t land the highest-paid gigs with a single certification. No, the best jobs in the welding field will require a myriad of certifications, often from different regulating bodies.

For instance, to be an underwater welder doesn’t just require the wet welding certification from the American Welding Society. You will need that, but it’s just a single part of the equation. You’ll also need to be a certified commercial diver before you can even do the schooling necessary to learn the skills needed to pass the AWS wet welding examination.

To land a job in underwater welding, you’ll need internationally recognized certifications in diving, plus OSHA certifications, and even CPR and underwater first aid certifications to name a few. As you can see, it’s a complicated process that requires a lot of time investment just to get in the door.

Of course, that schooling can be very expensive. Many of these programs cost tens of thousands of dollars and will require months of full-time study to complete. Moreover, once you’ve earned the certifications you need, you’ll have to continue your education to keep them up to date. With ever-changing regulations and techniques that you need to keep up on, your education is never really done.

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Experience

Even if you have all the right certifications and land a career with one of the best-paying companies in the field of your choice, you still aren’t going to start with your dream salary. In fact, you won’t even be close to the top of the pay scale yet because one of the most important aspects of earning a high salary in welding is experience.

Your first few years are going to see paychecks at the bottom of the pay range in any given welding field. After 3-5 years of work experience in the welding specialization of your choice, you can expect to see your salary starting to grow to the numbers you were hoping to see. After 5-9 years you’ll finally start breaching those high numbers, provided you’ve kept up to date on your certifications and you’ve done a great job for your employer from day one. Not everyone is cut out to make the top-end salaries, so you’ll have to keep improving every day if you want to ensure that you do.

(Video) 5 Top Paying Welding Career's

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Travel

It doesn’t matter how qualified or experienced you are if you aren’t where the work is. Often, the best paying work for welders requires a lot of traveling and time away from home. This sacrifice is a major part of why certain welding careers pay so well. You may be spending weeks or months on end on a rig at sea, or you may be traveling to a new place every other week to keep up with the demands of your chosen specialization.

In pipe welding, for example, you may be following the needed repairs, being called to a new location when something breaks down and they need your assistance. In rig welding, you may be living on an oil rig for many months, always there to take care of problems if and when they arise. It’s a major sacrifice to spend so much time away from your family and it’s not for everyone. But hey, that’s why they earn the big bucks.

Health Risks/Danger

It’s not surprising that the higher risk of injury and death you’re exposed to during your work, the better compensated you’ll be. Some types of welding take place in dangerous environments and have high degrees of workplace fatalities. No one wants to die for their job, so employers are willing to pay much higher wages for the workers who take on the extra risk.

To illustrate, in underwater welding, you have to deal with such risks as electric shock, explosions, decompression sickness, dangerous marine wildlife, and even drowning. Naturally, this means that underwater welders have the opportunity to earn a much higher salary than the average welder since most welders aren’t likely to drown in their manufacturing jobs.

Work Schedules

While most employees work a pretty standard schedule that looks similar to a normal 9-5 for five or six days a week, many of the highest paying welding jobs have long and difficult hours that help propel them to the tops of the earning charts. Offshore welding jobs are often worked for weeks or months at a time, putting in 12-hour days, seven days a week. If you can’t handle the stress of such hours, then such careers may not be in the cards for you.

But there are upsides to these schedules as well. Many welders who work these types of hours also take off several months a year and still make incredible salaries that they can finally enjoy when they get those months of downtime. Others work for a few weeks of long and constant days before taking a few weeks off. It all comes down to the companies you’re working for and the type of schedule you can handle working.

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The 11 Highest Paying Welding Jobs

1. Rig Welder

11 Highest Paying Welding Jobs in 2022 - WaterWelders (6)

Image Credit By: PO3 Patrick Kelley, commons wikimedia

Annual Salary: $52,000 – $207,000

Rig welders are about the highest-paid welders in the world. They work long and difficult hours and they have the most advanced educations and qualifications. If they make a mistake, it’s going to be cataclysmic, so companies only hire the best of the best for these positions. You’ll need years of experience and multiple certifications before companies will even consider you for the job. Rig welders are often expected to perform underwater welding, hyperbaric welding, and welding of all different types on offshore oil rigs at sea.

Some rig welders may be flown to and from their worksite on helicopters daily. More likely though, you’ll be living on the rig you service for extended periods, working 12-hour days, every day of the week. This may last for weeks or months at a time, but it’s a major part of why rig welders earn such incredible pay.

(Video) The dangerous world of underwater welding

  • Read more:What is an Oil Rig Welder, And How Do You Become One?

2. Underwater Welder

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Image Credit By: Petty Officer 1st Class Charles White, defense.gov

Annual Salary: $38,000 – $147,000

Underwater welders face a lot of danger in their job. In fact, this is one of the most dangerous jobs you could hold, and they have a much higher rate of workplace fatality than most other careers. Naturally, that’s a major part of why they get paid so well. Underwater welders may work offshore on many different types of projects. They could be building or repairing oil rigs and other oil-related structures, salvaging shipwrecks, working on subsea construction, or many other duties that only they can perform.

To be an underwater welder, you’ll need a wet welding D3.6M certification from the American Welding Society. But before you can even start schooling to get this certification, you’ll need to be a certified commercial diver, which requires 5-7 months of full-time schooling. You’ll learn the basics of underwater welding during this initial schooling, but you won’t be certified to earn the biggest paychecks until you get your official AWS certification. Expect to spend $20,000+ just to get the education and certifications necessary for this career. But once you’re earning six figures yearly, the investment will be worth it.

3. Nuclear Welder

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Image Credit By: Bradley Hicks, afmc.af.mil

Annual Salary: $22,000 – $143,500

Nuclear welders may have to perform a large variety of tasks that require many different certifications. You’ll likely need an underwater welder certification as well as commercial diving certification. But the most unique requisite for this career is that you’ll have to be cleared by the FBI! You have to have a security clearance just to work in or around the nuclear materials that a nuclear welder will have to work on. Moreover, you’ll likely need to pass psychological tests and regular drug and alcohol tests as well. It’s a rigorous lifestyle that’s not for everyone. As a nuclear welder, you may work on nuclear-powered vessels, building or repairing reactor vessels, or working in shipyards.

  • Read more:How Much Do Nuclear Welders Make? Salary Statistics

4. Industrial Pipeline Welder

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Image Credit By: Hamid Soufi, commons wikimedia

Annual Salary: $23,500 – $133,500

Gas and oil are transported through extensive interconnected pipelines that span thousands of miles. A leak can mean disaster for the company that controls the pipeline as well as the environment around it. As an industrial pipeline welder, you’ll be responsible for building and fixing these pipelines. This means a lot of travel to various areas, often even out of the country. On the bright side, you’ll see a lot of places and perform your work in ever-changing environments. But some of them may not be the ideal workplaces. You could find yourself working in the heat of Saudi Arabian deserts, or the snowy tundra of Alaska. Granted, you’ll be well-compensated for your travel and your skills, and you won’t have the same risk to life and limb that other high-payed welders may experience, such as underwater welders.

  • See also:How Much Do Welders in Arizona Make? Salary Statistics

5. Military Support Welders

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Image Credit: Sgt. Justin Smith, marforsouth.marines.mil

(Video) Make Money Welding Beginner & Beyond | $100+ per hour! | How to Price Jobs

Annual Salary: $37,000 – $160,000

It shouldn’t be very surprising that working in war zones can pay very well. Military installations across the world require building and upkeep, and it takes skilled workers to do it. When you’re risking your health and well-being in a war-torn area, the compensation will rise to meet the risk. Not everyone is cut out for this type of environment, and you need to pass rigorous training before you’ll be sent off on such jobs. You’ll also have to be a part of the armed forces, another choice that’s not for everyone. But you’ll get great benefits and even better paychecks.

  • Read more:How Much Do Military Support Welders Make? Salary Statistics

6. Welding Engineer

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Annual Salary: $51,000 – $120,000

To be a welding engineer, you’re going to need a love for learning since you’ll always have to stay up to date on all the latest and greatest welding techniques. You’ll need to incorporate these new advancements into the companies you work for, using your knowledge to enhance the processes currently taking place to make things more efficient and improve the overall level of workmanship of your entire company. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree and certification through the AWS just to get started.

7. Certified Welding Inspector

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Image Credit By: Staff Sgt. Jason McCasland, afgsc.af.mil

Annual Salary: $42,000 – $104,000

As a certified welding inspector, you may not be doing a whole lot of actual welding. But you’ll need to understand it better than any of the welders in your company since you’ll be responsible for making sure that everything they do is up to standard. You’ll need to monitor heat values, make sure all welders are following compliance and safety protocols, and ensure that all processes are performed up to an acceptable level of quality. This means you’ll need to know and understand the specifications for every welding process being performed. Before you can even take the exam to get certified, you’ll need three years of welding experience.

  • Read more: How Much Do Welding Inspectors Make This Year?

8. Pipe Welder

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Image Credit By: Creative Commons Zero – CC0, peakpx

Annual Salary: $35,000 – $100,000

Pipe welders will work on pipes across many industries, not just oil and gas pipelines. You may perform work in automotive manufacturing, shipbuilding, or construction, among others. You’ll need AWS certification, but you’ll also likely receive on the job training from the companies you work for.

  • See also:What is a Journeyman Welder, And How Do You Become One?

9. Combo Welder

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Image Credit By: Creative Commons Zero – CC0, pxfuel

(Video) Underwater Welding Tig Welding In Water | Will The Welding Experiment Argon Welding

Annual Salary: $32,000 – $82,000

Combo welders are less specialized than many of the other high paying welding jobs. You’ll need to be proficient in many different types of welding, such as MIG, TIG, Stick, and ARC. Depending on the company you work for, you may be asked to do extensive travel. Your duties will also depend greatly on your employer since combo welders may be hired into a variety of different fields. You’ll need several years of experience before getting hired as a combo welder because you’ll be expected to be able to perform so many different functions.

10. Certified Welding Supervisor

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Image Credit By: Kelly White, tinker.af.mil

Annual Salary: $38,000 – $75,000

As a certified welding supervisor, everything comes down to you. You’ll have to make sure that all the welders in your company are meeting quality standards, deadlines, and safety requirements. You’ll be overseeing all of the welding, so it’s up to you to ensure that everyone is doing what they need to be. Safety is one of your primary concerns, and you’ll have to be vigilant in ensuring that everyone is strictly adhering to safety protocol. But if production schedules aren’t met, that falls on you as well.

11. Aerospace Welder

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Image Credit By: NASA/Quentin Schwinn (RS Information Systems, Inc.), NASA

Annual Salary: $37,000 – $69,000

Though they make more than the average welder, aerospace welders don’t earn as much as you might expect, considering the industry they work in. This is highly skilled work with very tight tolerances, but your risk of death or injury is low and you won’t generally be asked to do a lot of traveling. If you want the comfort of a pretty regular career with above-average pay, then this is a specialization you may consider.

  • See also:What is a Traveling Welder, And How Do You Become One?
11 Highest Paying Welding Jobs in 2022 - WaterWelders (17)

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Conclusion

So how much do welders make? There are many ways to make an incredible salary as a specialized welder. The more risk you’re willing to take on, the better paychecks you can see. Likewise, the longer you spend away from home, the more your bank account will thank you. You’ll also get paid more for higher skills, more education, and more certifications, but the best way to make the highest salary is to do all of the above.

If you can handle the long hours, time away from home, and extensive education necessary to be a rig welder, then you could take home over $200,000 annually once you have a few years of experience. With an AWS wet welding certification, you could make a great six-figure income as an underwater welder. And if you have a squeaky-clean background and a solid psychological profile, you could even become a nuclear welder and earn well over $100,000 each year for your endeavors.

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  • How to Earn More as a Welder
    • Qualifications and Certifications
    • Experience
    • Travel
    • Health Risks/Danger
    • Work Schedules
  • The 11 Highest Paying Welding Jobs
    • 1. Rig Welder
    • 2. Underwater Welder
    • 3. Nuclear Welder
    • 4. Industrial Pipeline Welder
    • 5. Military Support Welders
    • 6. Welding Engineer
    • 7. Certified Welding Inspector
    • 8. Pipe Welder
    • 9. Combo Welder
    • 10. Certified Welding Supervisor
    • 11. Aerospace Welder
  • Conclusion

FAQs

11 Highest Paying Welding Jobs in 2022 - WaterWelders? ›

As a basic welder, the pay is pretty decent, but it's not the most lucrative of careers.
...
The 11 Highest Paying Welding Jobs
  1. Rig Welder. ...
  2. Underwater Welder. ...
  3. Nuclear Welder. ...
  4. Industrial Pipeline Welder. ...
  5. Military Support Welders. ...
  6. Welding Engineer. ...
  7. Certified Welding Inspector.
Jul 19, 2022

Where are the highest-paid welding jobs? ›

Where Welders Make the Most Money
State NameMedian Hourly Earnings2020 Jobs
403,409
Alaska$32.12542
Texas$20.8752,856
Oklahoma$19.9410,420
43 more rows
May 5, 2020

How can I weld 100k a year? ›

Conclusion
  1. Rig Welder.
  2. Underwater Welder.
  3. Nuclear Welder.
  4. Industrial Pipeline Welder.
  5. Military Support Welders.
  6. Welding Engineer.
  7. Certified Welding Inspector.
  8. Pipe Welder.
Jul 19, 2022

What kind of welder gets paid the most? ›

The 7 highest-paid welding jobs in America
  1. UNDERWATER WELDER. One of the recurring themes you'll notice with all of the highest paying welding jobs is specialization. ...
  2. PIPELINE WELDER. ...
  3. CERTIFIED WELDING ENGINEER. ...
  4. CERTIFIED WELDING SUPERVISOR. ...
  5. MILITARY SUPPORT WELDER. ...
  6. CERTIFIED WELDING INSPECTOR. ...
  7. AEROSPACE WELDER.

Can you get rich welding? ›

Welding is no get-rich-quick scheme, but if you stick at it for even a short time, you can earn some good coin. Entry-level welders earn $40,000 a year on average, and the increase continues regularly, up to between $50,000 to $500,000 with experience in a good field.

What state pays welders the best? ›

ALASKA. Alaska is number one in the nation for welding salaries, with the average welder bringing in $66,740 a year and the highest earners making $94,280 and up.

What country pays welders the most? ›

Welders in European countries like Switzerland and Norway can make as much as US$118,000. This is the higher end. Even the lower end pay of welders in these countries is more than the national average in the United States and some other countries.

Can a welder make 200k? ›

Yes, a welder can make $200k.

If you can handle the long hours, time away from home, and extensive education necessary to be a rig welder, then you could take home over $200,000 annually once you have a few years of experience.

Can you make 6 figures welding? ›

Because these types of jobs require specialized skills and can be potentially risky, contract welders can earn well over $100,000 in a year.

How can a welder make a lot of money? ›

$50+/hr Beginner Welding Products you can SELL to get your business ...

What trade makes the most money? ›

The Highest-Paid Trade Jobs
  • Radiation Therapists. ...
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologists. ...
  • Dental Hygienists. ...
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians. ...
  • Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians. ...
  • Boilermakers. ...
  • Construction and Building Inspectors. ...
  • Electricians.

Is welding a good career in 2022? ›

Job growth for welders is expected to be strong, with about 14% more welders needed by 2022. This means that if you want to venture into welding, you will not go wrong because jobs are available, and the pay as seen is good.

Can you make a good living as a welder? ›

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average welder's salary is $42,000 dollars per year. BLS stats mean 50% of welders in the United States earned more than that figure and 50% earn less. In surveys by the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, most entry level welders earn a starting pay near $17 per hour.

Can welding make you a millionaire? ›

Conclusion. Opting for a welding career doesn't mean you'll wake up rich. It needs hard work, skill, talent, and determination. So while you won't be able to make $300,000 a year at the start of your career, you could still work towards earning a satisfactory sum or start your own business.

Are welders poor? ›

Exacerbating the situation are talking heads and the internet. Listen to enough people and you might think the starting salary for a welder is $40,000. That amount is thrown around quite a bit, but it's really the median salary. The BLS reports that the 2018 median salary for welders was $41,380 per year.

Who is world's best welder? ›

Who is the best welder in the world? Well, according to the Arc Cup International Welding Competition (ACIWC) Anton Kamenskikh is considered as the best welder in the world in 2019.

What city do welders make the most money? ›

Best States For A Welder to live and work in 2022

The best city in America for welders with the highest pay is Newark, NJ.

What state is welding in high demand? ›

Texas. Texas has been called the welding jobs capital of the United States and it is not hard to see why. Texas has the highest level of employment than any other state. In fact, Houston has the highest level of employment of welders in a Metropolitan area.

What city has the most welding jobs? ›

Houston, Texas

But it is because of how many jobs there are to go around in this big state. Over 50,000 welders are currently employed across Texas, more than any other state in the country.

What states pay the most for welders? ›

ALASKA. Alaska is number one in the nation for welding salaries, with the average welder bringing in $66,740 a year and the highest earners making $94,280 and up.

Where are welders most needed? ›

Texas. Texas has been called the welding jobs capital of the United States and it is not hard to see why. Texas has the highest level of employment than any other state. In fact, Houston has the highest level of employment of welders in a Metropolitan area.

Do welders really make good money? ›

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average welder's salary is $42,000 dollars per year. BLS stats mean 50% of welders in the United States earned more than that figure and 50% earn less. In surveys by the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, most entry level welders earn a starting pay near $17 per hour.

Is welding in high demand? ›

With proper certification, a welding technician can be employed anywhere on in the world. As a result, welding is in high demand in many countries globally, especially those whose economies are industry-based.

What city do welders make the most money? ›

Best States For A Welder to live and work in 2022

The best city in America for welders with the highest pay is Newark, NJ.

How can I make a lot of money as a welder? ›

$50+/hr Beginner Welding Products you can SELL to get your business ...

Can a welder make 100k? ›

Because these types of jobs require specialized skills and can be potentially risky, contract welders can earn well over $100,000 in a year.

What trades pay the most? ›

The Highest-Paid Trade Jobs
  • Radiation Therapists. ...
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologists. ...
  • Dental Hygienists. ...
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians. ...
  • Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians. ...
  • Boilermakers. ...
  • Construction and Building Inspectors. ...
  • Electricians.

Are welders poor? ›

Exacerbating the situation are talking heads and the internet. Listen to enough people and you might think the starting salary for a welder is $40,000. That amount is thrown around quite a bit, but it's really the median salary. The BLS reports that the 2018 median salary for welders was $41,380 per year.

Why do welders drink milk? ›

So why do welders drink milk? The fumes released when welding, cutting, or brazing galvanized steel can cause a condition known as Metal Fume Fever. The thought is that milk helps the body rid of toxins encountered when welding galvanized steel and thus prevents them from getting sick.

Is there a future in welding? ›

There's a Growing Need for Welders

Many signs point to a promising future for welders. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to see 3% growth between 2019 and 2029 for the employment of welders. This could translate into the addition of 13,600 jobs within the next 10 years.

Does welding shorten your life? ›

A beam falling on a welder, a fire or a metal fume fever can all contribute to a shortened life. Generally, large beams falling are rare, but they tend to happen more on large ironworking projects for buildings and skyscrapers.

Will robots replace welding? ›

Will robots completely replace welders, no.... this will not happen in the foreseeable future. Humans still outperform robots on parts that require complex decision-making, where there is lower volume and customization of parts and on construction sites.

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