Welder Salary Guide: How Much Do Welders Make?

As demand for skilled welders continues to rise, it’s essential to examine the salary trends and disparities across different types of welders and skill levels in the United States. In this welder salary guide, we will delve into the earnings of welders by job type, skill level, and location.

How Much Do Welders Make Per Year?

According to the latest available data (as of September 2021), the median annual wage for welders was approximately $42,490, with the lowest 10% earning around $28,560 and the highest 10% making over $64,240.

However, it is essential to recognize that this figure varies significantly based on specific welding jobs and geographical regions.

Welder Salaries By Specialization

Underwater Welder Salary

According to industry reports, the average annual salary for underwater welders ranges from $50,000 to $100,000. However, the top professionals in this field can earn well above six figures annually.

Due to the added risks and technical challenges, underwater welders typically earn higher salaries than other welding professions.

Structural Welder Salary

The average annual salary for structural welders is around $47,000 to $60,000, depending on experience and location. Structural welders focus on joining metal parts to construct buildings, bridges, and infrastructure projects. Their expertise is in high demand, and they are usually paid well.

Union Welder Salary

Union welders can expect to earn an average of $50,000 to $65,000 per year. Union welders are part of labor organizations that negotiate wages and benefits on behalf of their members.

Unionized welders often enjoy more competitive salaries and better benefits compared to non-union counterparts.

Nuclear Welder Salary

The salaries of nuclear welders range from $60,000 to $80,000 annually.

Nuclear welders work in the nuclear power industry, where precision and quality welding are critical. Due to the stringent safety requirements and specialized knowledge needed for nuclear welding, these professionals earn higher-than-average wages.

Other Specializations

There are numerous other welding specializations, such as aerospace welders, pipeline welders, and automotive welders, each commanding different salary levels.

Aerospace welders, working on aircraft and spacecraft components, can earn between $50,000 and $80,000 per year.

Pipeline welders or combo welders, involved in the construction and maintenance of pipelines, often earn salaries in the range of $50,000 to $70,000 annually.

Automotive welders, specializing in vehicle manufacturing or repair, typically make around $40,000 to $50,000 per year.

Welding Salaries Based on Skill Levels

Entry-Level Welder Salary

Entry-level welders are those just starting their careers with limited experience or formal training. Their salaries tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum, ranging from $30,000 to $40,000 per year. As they gain experience and acquire certifications, their earning potential increases.

Welding Apprentice Salary

Welding apprentices are individuals undergoing structured training programs to become skilled welders. They often earn lower wages initially, usually around $25,000 to $35,000 annually. However, as they progress in their apprenticeship and gain hands-on experience, their salaries rise accordingly.

Experienced Welder Salary

Experienced welders with several years of practical know-how and industry certifications can significantly boost their earnings. Skilled welders can expect salaries between $45,000 to $60,000 per year, depending on the type of welding and location.

Factors Influencing Welding Salaries

Several factors affect welding salaries in the United States, including:

  1. Location: Wages can vary significantly from one state to another due to differences in demand, cost of living, and industry concentration. For example, welding jobs in states like Alaska, Louisiana, and Texas often offer higher salaries due to the presence of oil and gas industries.
  2. Certification and Experience: Certified welders with advanced skills and substantial experience generally command higher pay rates. Professional certifications, such as those from the American Welding Society (AWS), validate expertise and can lead to better-paying opportunities.
  3. Industry Demand: Welders in sectors experiencing high demand for their services, such as construction, energy, and manufacturing, can negotiate better compensation packages.

Welder Salary By State

Welders earn varying salaries depending on the state they work in. Check out out state salary guides for welders to see how much they make near you.

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