June 24, 2017

What to Expect for Welder Salary

Welding as a career option is a wonderful choice that provides a skilled professional with the ability to work in a hands-on environment. While welding is often considered to be one unique profession, the fact is that there are a variety of education and skill levels required for the various niches that a worker may choose to pursue in his or her career. A welder salary will vary considerably depending on the niche (e.g. underwater welding) that is pursued.

Entry-Level Welder Jobs

There are many entry-level jobs that are available to workers with only a high school diploma or the equivalent. The average welder working in a standard welding work environment with basic welding skills or in an on-the-job training program will earn about $33,000 per year on average. There is some variation in this, and a fair range of pay for an entry-level job with no to minimal welding experience is about $25,000 to $44,000. With about four years of experience on the job, a worker may expect to ear about $44,000 on average in a typical welding job, with the possibility of up to $59,000 per year.

Factors Affecting Salary

There are a variety of factors that will affect a welder’s salary. For professionals interested in pursuing a unique niche or obtaining additional training or certifications, there are quite a few opportunities to earn a considerably higher salary as a welder. Here are a few of the factors that can affect a welder salary:

  • Work Environment. When many people consider welding as a career, they will consider working in a warehouse, manufacturing, or repair type facility. However, there are other welding work environments, including underwater welding, aerospace facilities, automotive shops, and more. Each unique work environment will command a different level of compensation.
  • Education and Training. While there are some entry level jobs that require little to no training to get started working as a welder, other jobs have special certification and education requirements. For instance, an underwater welder will be required to meet the Underwater Welding Code training requirements.
  • Special Certifications. Some types of welding jobs will also require you to hold special certifications as well. With underwater welding as an example, the professional will need to be certified as a commercial scuba diving in addition to having specialized welding skills.
  • Skill of Work Required. Some welders can enter into the field with no experience at all and can receive training on the job. Compensation will reflect the skills brought to the table. With time on the job or by attending a professional welding school or training program, additional skills can be learned that may allow a welder to advance into higher paying jobs.
  • Risk to Welder. Welding in general comes with hazards such as fire and burn risks as well as risk from exposure to noxious fumes. Other jobs in different settings may come with additional risks, such as the risk of electrical shock that comes with welding near water.

Different Types of Jobs

Welder Salary - Aerospace Welding

Aerospace Welding

One of the biggest factors that affect welder salary is the type of job that a worker is employed in. Different jobs will bring together all of the elements noted above including education, skills, risk, and more, and so it is interesting to review some of the more popular welding jobs and compare welder salaries with these different jobs:

Aerospace Welding: This type of job allows workers the opportunity to build and repair aerospace equipment and machinery including airplanes, spacecraft, and more. Specialized and advanced skills are required beyond basic entry-level welding skills. The average aerospace welder salary is about $41,000 per year.

Automotive Welding: Automotive welders are those who use their skills building or repair automotive vehicles and equipment. The skills required are more closely attuned to entry-level, but specialized in this niche may provide a worker with a slightly better than average income. The average salary for this position is about $38,000 per year.

Underwater Welding: This is among the most highly specialized welding jobs, requiring advanced welding certifications as well as a commercial scuba diver certification. Generally, these professionals are not hired on with an underwater welding salary on an annual basis but rather are hired on a per-project basis. The equivalent underwater welding salary is approximately $100,000 to $200,000 per year. Professionals working in this line of work are exposed to electrical shock risk, the possibility of decompression sickness by working underwater, and other related risks.

Salary Trends and Outlook: What to Expect With a Welder Salary In the Future

Before beginning a career working in this field and especially before pursuing specialized training and certifications for a niche job, it is a good idea to explore the future of this industry to ensure job security and a steady or growing income potential. The base pay for entry level jobs generally increases to adjust for inflation, but there is opportunity to increase income potential with experience and further education and training. Many professionals with years of experience in general and niche jobs do go on to assume managerial or supervisory positions, earning greater income. Income potential with niche jobs, such as with aerospace and underwater welding positions does trend higher on average each year than entry-level positions.

Those considering a job as a welder will find a comparison of welding salaries among the various niches and work environments interesting. The opportunity to increase a welder salary by specializing in a niche like underwater welding, obtaining certifications, and gaining experience and training in the field is significant.