How Much Do Welders Make? [Figures for All 50 States!]

how much do welders make

A welder is someone involved in the fabrication and repair of metals and other materials that can be welded using a variety of different welding techniques.

If this is a profession that interests you, in addition to important information like the qualifications, certifications, and years of experience you need, the one thing you are likely to be very interested in is a pipe welders’ salary in the United States, whether it’s in states such as North Dakota, Georgia, West Virginia, New York and cities like Atlanta, Seattle, and Pascagoula or somewhere else.

In the following post we are going to discuss typical welder salaries in the United States, looking at various aspects of this subject such as what the highest-paid welding jobs are, whether jobs in welding have a high salary and what do welders make on average as a base salary.

What is the Highest-Paid Welding Job?

Although it is hard to pinpoint what specific welders are paid in specific industries as it differs from sector to sector, company to company and location to location, some welding roles are paid more than others. The greater the risks involved and the more remote the locations the work is carried out, the higher the pay is likely to be. For example, the highest-paid welding jobs are normally:

  • Underwater welders
  • Military support welders
  • Certified welding supervisors
  • Pipe welders
  • Aerospace Welders

We have covered more information on underwater welders in a separate article, so if that’s what you are interested in, please be sure to check out that detailed post.

Below, though, you will find a brief description of each of the other welding professions mentioned, as this will help you understand the kinds of duties you would have if you were looking to work in one of the high paid roles.

Military Support Welders

Military Support welders are those involved in the maintenance, repair, and building of equipment used by the military and this ranges from heavy weaponry to vehicles. In addition to graduation from an appropriate vocational school or high school, to be employed in this role, welders need to also have basic armed forced skills and training with any of the branches. Some are employed during their military careers, while others are employed as civilians.

They need to have comprehensive experience in many forms of arc welding working with materials like aluminum and steel at the very least. It is also vital that they can refer to blueprints and can follow specifications orders and have reasonable math skills.

Certified Welding Supervisors

As the name of the role suggests, certified welding supervisors rely on a combination of leadership skills and welding skills and hold management positions. They tend to be responsible for a whole team of welders and ensure they complete projects safely and on time while staying within a set budget. To qualify for a certified welding supervisor position, individuals need to have numerous years’ worth of experience and hold an American Welding Society supervisor certification.

As part of their work, they make important decisions about the welding techniques that should be used, the kinds of materials they should work with, calculating costs, and inspecting their team’s work.

Pipe Welders

Pipe Welders are one of the most common roles within the welding profession and involve the joining, maintenance, and repair of metal pipes for various industries including shipbuilding, metal fabrication, automobile manufacturing, energy, and construction. The role of a pipe welder is crucial for ensuring the gas, oil, and water needed by the country’s infrastructure continues to flow. Pipe welders work in a variety of different environments from sewage and water facilities to chemical plants, oil rigs, and even oil refineries.

A large part of their role is involved in the building and repairing of pipelines. As well as fusing the pipes, they also are involved in the shaping and straightening of them. They must know how to perform a variety of duties such as assembling and dismantling pipes, applying special anti-corrosion coatings, pipe maintenance, pipe inspection for leaks and cracks, equipment calibration, worksite preparation, and reading blueprints.

Aerospace Welders

It will come as no surprise that aerospace welders in the United States are involved in work for equipment, parts, and materials used in aviation-related structures, spacecraft, and planes. This means they will regularly work with materials like stainless steel, carbon steel, magnesium, titanium, and aluminum. It is not for the fainthearted or those who have trouble with heights as much of their work is performed high up on platforms and actual aircraft and they need to be skilled in using both automated and manual welding tools. It is also important that they can work with electric arc welding and gas welding.

Do Welders Make a lot of Money?

Although it will depend on the company they are employed by and wherein the United States, the reality is that yes, a welder can make a reasonable amount of money, even if they are just starting their career as an entry level professional. However, they generally won’t be on the top-dollar salaries you often will read about on blogs, because just as it is with most professions, welders need to start from the bottom and work their way up the ladder.

Is Welding a Good Career?

This is an interesting question because as we’ve already noted, there is potential to make a very high salary. However, those high salaries are only normally accessible to the very experienced welders in the industry and not those at entry level. Does that mean it is any less of a good career to start? No, we don’t think so.

For one thing, you don’t necessarily need to get a college degree. All that’s required to get started in welding is, at the very least, a short trade program to get a welder certificate. That means you don’t need to spend years of your life studying in college. There are some organizations and businesses that will offer training and education through a welding school as a part of the position you offer.

So, not only do you get a job almost immediately, but they will usually advance the trainees who complete the welding course onto better positions with higher salaries. Even within the oil and gas industry and shipbuilding industry, it’s possible to find training that will help individuals to secure regular work not just with other companies but also if they are interested in establishing their firm too.

Another reason why welding is a great career choice is that it’s an in-demand role. There will always be a need for professional tradespeople who know how to join pieces of metal together.

Finally, the opportunity to earn a large salary is one of the reasons that motivate a lot of people to train to become a welder. We’ve already touched upon the fact that it may not come to you straight away if you chose to start a career as a welder. You have to earn your stripes, so to speak.

In the long run though, unlike other trades where there is no real upper earning potential, with welding there is. There is even the very real potential, if you are willing to do some of the more challenging work, to earn as much as or possibly even more than the average doctor or lawyer.

Whether you are looking to go for one of the more challenging and riskier roles, or just want consistently, well-paid work, success in a welding career is only possible in the same way any career is possible with dedication, the right attitude, and a lot of hard work.

What do Welders Make on Average?

The last point above, about earning potential leads us nicely onto the last aspect of welding jobs we want to discuss – the potential welder salaries per year that most can expect. Several factors can contribute to the amount welders make on average, such as their experience level (both in their ability to use all manner of arc welding, including a tig welder, and other types and the years of experience they have), the kind of welder certification they have and their job title.

As taken from, we have found an accurate average for how much a welder can make depending on what state they are based in.

The pay ranges from lows of $14.26 per hour and $29,671 a year in North Carolina and highs of $19.45 per hour and $40,457 in New York.

The rest of the states, in order of least to most per hour and per year, are:

Welders Average Pay Overview
State Per Hour Average Per Year Average
Alabama $15.52 $35,821
Alaska $17.68 $66,810
Arizona $16.48 $33,808
Arkansas $15.63 $35,345
California $17.43 $42,760
Colorado $16.66 $46,520
Connecticut $17.85 $50,698
Delaware $16.68 $51,470
Florida $14.98 $37,830
Georgia $15.89 $36,050
Hawaii $18.50 $56,914
Idaho $16.30 $31,514
Illinois $15.54 $36,802
Indiana $16.37 $38,272
Iowa $16.05 $37,281
Kansas $16.41 $41,918
Kentucky $17.01 $35,668
Louisiana $16.22 $51,020
Maine $16.29 $48,220
Maryland $17.86 $47,970
Massachusetts $19.27 $49,950
Michigan $15.64 $37,450
Minnesota $16.72 $44,040
Mississippi $15.37 $43,050
Missouri $15.33 $37,790
Montana $16.65 $40,070
Nebraska $17.59 $40,570
Nevada $17.54 $45,010
New Hampshire $18.75 $46,400
New Jersey $16.93 $44,660
New Mexico $15.68 $46,530
New York $19.45 $44,190
North Carolina $14.26 $39,610
North Dakota $17.48 $46,950
Ohio $16.55 $39,390
Oklahoma $16.34 $41,470
Oregon $16.68 $44,310
Pennsylvania $16.83 $37,721
Rhode Island $17.70 $48,830
South Carolina $16.74 $48,840
South Dakota $16.97 $37,440
Tennessee $16.67 $39,220
Texas $15.71 $43,400
Utah $16.40 $40,950
Vermont $17.61 $40,820
Virginia $17.36 $46,280
Washington $19.13 $49,770
West Virginia $16.91 $41,520
Wisconsin $16.51 $42,530
Wyoming $17.46 $57,120

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