Welding is one of those jobs in the United States that has been highly underrated. Though it doesn’t seem as glamorous as other careers like being a lawyer or doctor, welding is a highly skilled and valuable profession. With the right combination of equipment and training, welders can excel in this field.
Thankfully for those who want to make money with this trade, there are plenty of employers around the country who offer great employment opportunities for recent college graduates or anyone else looking to earn a living through welding.
General Facts about Welding in the U.S.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics sometimes back published data showing the best paying welding jobs in the United States. Here are some quick facts about welding and how to get started:
State general facts about welding in the United States.
1. Welding is a craft in which the welder melts metal and joins it using heat and pressure.
2. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the total employment of welders, brazers, solderers, and cutters is approximately 408.990.
3. Welding requires specific training, certification from an accredited school or an organization recognized by the American Welding Society (AWS), or other recognition to work legally under the supervision of someone who is certified through AWS
4. In the U.S., there are two main types of welding: manual and automatic. Manual welding is done using hand tools, while automatic welding is done with equipment that requires no manual operation
5. Welders can be described as craftsmen, but it is often used as a broader term to describe the art of fabricating metal into shapes and structures or joining them together through heat and pressure
6. There are many types of welding jobs, including pipe welding, structural metal, and sheet metal fabrication.
Best Paying Welding Jobs in the United States
In this article, the author will be highlighting some of the jobs a welder who is a graduate can apply for. According to Indeed, some of these pay more than $50,000 per year.
1. Welding Specialist
A welding specialist is a person who is qualified to work with specific types of equipment and perform specialized welding functions.
Some of the tasks that a welding specialist performs are:
– Conducting surveys related to welding equipment and practices, and then creating reports based on their findings.
– Visually inspecting welded products or work areas for defects and then reporting them to the appropriate person within the company or organization.
– Troubleshooting and replacing defective equipment or parts, and when possible, creating a line of communication between manufacturers/sources for replacement parts or processes.
The average salary for a welding specialist in the United States of America is $52,223, with the most experienced earning as much as $85,000 per year.
2. Welding Engineer
Like the first job listed above, a welding engineer is skilled in welding and makes sure that welders are trained on how to do their job correctly. They are also tasked with creating new welding equipment.
Some of the tasks that a welding engineer performs are:
– Developing new and improved weld processes by using computer software or physical inspection techniques. This is done through mathematical modeling or simulations, device testing, and/or prototype development. This might include creating prototypes for research projects or prototypes for their company’s specific products.
– Developing new and improved welding equipment and processes by creating a variety of prototypes. This is done through geometric modeling or physical inspection or testing of prototypes, or through the design of computer software.
– Improving existing welding equipment models for faster speeds, increased mileage, decreased operating costs, and higher equipment efficiencies.
Examples include: improving the speed at which a welder can complete a procedure by finding ways to reduce friction during the work process and speeding up an entire line of welders who are working on the assembly floor so that more products can be produced more quickly.
Welding engineering is one of the best paying welding jobs in the United States of America.
The average salary for a welding engineer is $75,072. Top earners get $133,000 per year.
3. Industrial Maintenance Welders
If you are looking for a job immediately out of school, this might be a fit. Industrial maintenance welders must have in-depth knowledge of the entire manufacturing process and can identify and solve problems when they arise.
They can work in a machine shop, or on the floor of any type of factory.
Some of the tasks a maintenance welder performs:
– Assisting in the installation, repair, and maintenance of industrial machinery and equipment.
– Inspecting hot work areas, using hand tools such as grinders, grinders with electrical power, pneumatic hammers, or other machine tools to remove burrs and imperfections from metal parts.
– Inspecting welded parts for defects before releasing them for use in production.
Examples include: checking welds on pipes and other equipment for defects before they are sent out to warehouses or other locations where they may be used. They may also perform quality assurance inspections to ensure that all components are the same size, have the same weight properties, etc.
– Performing weld repairs on equipment or processes that have broken down. This can include making sure that the issue is fixed on time. They may also create process improvements to reduce or eliminate the risk of future breakdowns.
The average salary for a maintenance welder in the United States of America is $54,443, with the highest-paid getting $85,000 per year.
4. Certified Welding Inspector
If you are interested in a job that requires an advanced degree to obtain, and you have a genuine passion and skill for welding, this might be the place for you.
Certified welding inspectors typically work at the federal government level where they are responsible for inspecting regular welded products in warehouses or factories.
Some of the tasks that a certified welder inspector performs:
– Inspecting welded parts using microscopes, microscopes with magnification capabilities, or other scientific instrumentation and equipment to ensure that they meet specifications needed for whatever type of product will be produced using the robotic system. This is done by creating test methods and specifications so that these requirements can be met through inspection.
– Developing new processes that can be used to improve quality control of large quantities of products in manufacturing or warehouse settings. This may involve using signal analyzers to calculate the size and shape of defects found on coated parts.
– Developing new methods for inspecting welded products to assess their quality, damage potential, and load-bearing capacities, according to standards set by the American Welding Society.
Examples include: examining a piece of metal product for seams and joints that are too small. Inspecting a product’s appearance, identifying flaws such as dents or burn marks, determining how it will work on an assembly line, or evaluating whether it will be damaged during shipping from one location to another.
The average salary for a certified welding inspector is $72,029. The highest-paid professional in this career earns $120,000 per year, making it one of the best paying welding jobs in the United States of America.
5. Welding Foreman
Welding foreman is one of the high paying welding jobs in the United States of America. They are responsible for managing and supervising a team of welders that specialize in one area, such as underwater welding or building a skyscraper.
They must be able to train new welders most efficiently and effectively as possible so that the entire line can keep running efficiently. This means they need to be able to think outside of the box and come up with innovative solutions when problems arise.
Some of the tasks that a welding foreman performs:
– Planning, scheduling, documenting, monitoring, and controlling work performed by welding employees within their company or for other companies. This includes controlling the movements and tasks of various teams, making sure that they are completing their tasks on time, and monitoring the quality of their work.
– Assessing the aptitude of prospective welding employees, so that they can recommend which new hires would be best suited for particular jobs. This may involve measuring their knowledge of codes, standards, and regulations set by the American Welding Society.
– Preparing reports about daily activity within welding departments under their supervision to provide to management or investors who are interested in financial details. These reports must demonstrate how well a welding business or factory is performing in comparison to budget goals.
The average salary for a welding foreman in the United States of America is $60,594. Depending on your position, one can earn up to $100,000 per year.
6. Combo Welder
This type of position can be found in both manufacturing and construction settings. They are typically hired to repair machinery that is currently in operation, such as drilling machines, conveyor belts, or any other type of heavy equipment.
Combo welders need to have many different skills to be able to perform this type of work. These skills include welding installation, welding troubleshooting, repair, operating equipment such as dewatering pumps or conveyors, maintaining equipment (such as drills) for efficient operation, assembling jigs and fixtures into a complete machine, using computer-aided design equipment for creating blueprints for new welding jobs.
Some of the tasks that a combo welder performs:
– Installing a new welding system on equipment to patch or strengthen existing welds while the machine is in operation. This may involve performing repairs or reworking steps in a manufacturing process using a new or different type of welding technique, such as MIG, TIG, or MAG.
– Performing problem-solving skills by using their knowledge of computers and electronics to troubleshoot and repair faulty welds that occur on equipment in the field. This may include using signal analyzers to calculate the size and shape of defects found on coated parts.
– Developing plans for implementing new welding procedures to repair damaged equipment as quickly and efficiently as possible. This may involve using computer-aided design equipment to create blueprints for new welding jobs.
The average salary for a combo welder in the United States of America is $60,827 per year. The highest-paid pockets $89,000.
7. Welding Technician
A welding technician is typically hired by a company, government agency, or other organization to perform a specialized task in the workplace. They are responsible for ensuring that welders are meeting the specifications that were created by welders’ inspectors and weldings foremen.
They will also be needed if there is a breakdown of any kind on the welding equipment or within any of the machines that they are protecting. They may even be responsible for performing quality control testing on new coated parts to ensure that they meet the specifications needed for whatever type of product will be produced using the robotic system.
Some of the tasks that a welding technician performs:
– Assembling or repairing welded equipment, including welding machines and welding stations used in metal fabrication or manufacturing. This may require using computer-aided design equipment to create blueprints for new weld jobs.
– Performing quality control testing on new coated parts to ensure that they meet specifications needed for whatever type of product will be produced using the robotic system. This may involve using signal analyzers to calculate the size and shape of defects found on coated parts.
– Developing new procedures that can be used to improve quality control of large quantities of products in manufacturing or warehouse settings. This may involve designing new welding procedures or recording new methods for inspecting welded products to assess their quality, load-bearing capacities, and damage potential according to standards set by the American Welding Society.
– Instruct new employees on how to perform welding tasks, such as how to install and repair new equipment while in operation. They may also need to be familiar with current safety regulations regarding welding that are implemented by organizations such as the American Welding Society.
The average salary for a welding technician in the United States of America is $51,151 per year.
8. Underwater Welder
Underwater welders are mainly needed in industries, such as oil and gas, that have stationary or floating rigs that drill for oil and natural gas. These workers are required to be able to work in an environment that is full of water, which limits the type of tools they can use to complete their tasks.
Some underwater welders may need to learn how to fly helicopters or airplanes for inspection purposes while others may just need basic welding skills. To become an underwater welder you must complete a professional-level welding program at a technical school or other accredited educational institution.
This program will allow you to obtain the necessary skills for this type of work as well as a PWD (Professional Welding Designation). This will allow you to be hired for underwater welding positions by oil and gas companies.
Some of the tasks that an underwater welder performs:
– Performing extended work shifts in the depths of the ocean, sometimes under dangerous conditions to ensure that a well or platform is safe enough to be used again. Some tasks may include welded steel pipes, railing, valves, and other types of equipment. These welders may need to use compressed air systems for welding components with varying diameters or thicknesses down to 14 mm (5/16″).
– Inspecting equipment such as pipelines, petroleum storage tanks, and offshore platforms. This involves testing equipment using welding methods such as MIG, TIG, or MAG.
– Installing bent pipes on the top of undersea pipelines. This involves using underwater welding machines to weld steel pipe assemblies that are pre-bent.
– Performing specialized welding procedures, such as repairs and reworks on piping systems while working under water pressure. This may require leaving the surface of the ocean for extended periods or being underwater for most of their shift.
– Assembling pipes on the surface of underwater platforms and staging them to be welded underneath the water surface. These welders will need to be able to perform the following tasks: crane operation, setting up and operating a pipeline crane, assembling or repairing pipelines, and assembly repair welding.
The average salary for an underwater salary in the United States of America is $59,516 per year.
9. Structural Welder
Structural welders are usually required in a wide range of industry settings to repair or make structural repairs on ships and offshore platforms. These workers have specialized training in welding techniques and may need to be certified by the American Welding Society or an equivalent professional organization. They also need to possess some level of advanced math, physics, and chemistry knowledge.
These welders will be directly responsible for welding structural components that support mechanisms, such as valves, pumps, and tanks that house liquids or gases within large ships or offshore rigs. They may also install metal structures on a ship or offshore platform that are used to protect against the effects of storms, waves, high levels of acidity, and other materials used in these fields.
Some of the tasks that a structural welder performs:
– Repairing and assembling riveted metal structures, such as support beams on ships or offshore platforms. These workers may need to be able to weld together metal components with thicknesses of 20 mm (3/4″) and larger. They also test welds for strength and inspect parts for defects before fixing them or moving them to a new location.
– Welding large structural steel pieces together to complete construction projects that involve reinforcing the entire structure of a ship or offshore platform. This may include installing large components such as heavy machinery, storage tanks, or cranes.
– Repairing metal equipment such as pipelines or valves with leaking seals. This may involve repairing cracks or holes in metal components that are part of the inner workings of a ship, platform, or piece of machinery.
– Repairing broken steel pipes that are part of the cooling system on board ships or offshore platforms. The structural welder may need to weld repairs, such as patches, onto the outer wall of a damaged pipe to stop leaks from occurring.
– Performing extensive welding repairs on damaged propellers and rudders. These may require using underwater welding methods to repair damage caused by ship strikes or severe storm conditions while working from a boat or helicopter while floating above the surface of one of these structures.
The average salary for a structural welder in the United States of America is $53,827, with top earners getting as much as $71,662 per year.
10. Pipe Welder
Pipe welding is one of the best paying welding jobs. Professionals in this career work mostly in industrial settings, such as chemical processing plants and refineries, to construct and repair large piping systems that are used for moving fluids through the system. These welders may need to have a thorough knowledge of fluid mechanics since they will be using their skills to make sure that all equipment is working properly and safely.
They will also need extensive knowledge of specific shielding gases that can be used when welding a variety of metal components including low alloy steels, stainless steel, or non-ferrous metals. In addition to this, they may need to understand how pressure affects different types of gases. This will help them to determine which type of gas they should use on different projects.
To become a pipe welder you must complete a professional-level welding program at a technical school or other accredited educational institution. This program will allow you to obtain the necessary skills for this type of work as well as a PWD (Professional Welding Designation). This will allow you to be hired for pipe welding positions by oil and gas companies.
Some of the tasks that a pipe welder performs:
– Installing and cutting pipes with sizes ranging from 9″ x 40″ on up to 100″ x 10′. These welders may also be needed to fit pipes together using special trucks or high-pressure equipment.
– Constructing and repairing large production piping systems. This might include repairing cracked components on a pipe network, welding together a joint, or cutting off the end of the pipe if it is too short.
– Installing and repairing large-diameter cooling pipes for fluid pumped through a refinery’s production system. These welders may also be required to repair or replace pipes that have been damaged by a leaky seal or from corrosion caused by chemicals used in the process.
– Attaching valves or other control devices onto large flow lines using specialized equipment. This may involve assembling the components that make up a valve or device into one central section of piping. This will allow the welder to work on large systems that use valves for controlling flow rates and pressures.
– Repairing large pipes that are broken or cracked due to a ship strike, major storm damage, or a chemical explosion. These welders may be required to weld pieces together to repair the damaged pipe and/or replace it with a new section of piping.
– Making repairs with high temperatures and high pressures using specialized equipment like hard martins, fillet welders, or gas welding machines.
The average salary for a pipe welder in the United States of America is $61,617 per year. The highest-paid earns $83,274. This makes it one of the high paying welding jobs.
Overall this concludes my critique of the welding profession and its subdivisions. It is not an easy field to get into or make a decent salary in. As I mentioned before, there are various amount of ways to get into the industry as well as special qualifications or certifications that some may need to find best paying welding jobs.
As you can see there are many different careers when it comes to welding, as well as the type of skilled labor they require to work effectively in these positions. Staying up-to-date with the advancements and technological advances will make this career more interesting and rewarding than ever before, which is a good thing for any worker who wants steady income and career advancement.