Welders get paid well. It is true that, on average, you can’t consider welding to be the most lucrative career. However, as you compound experience and learn new techniques, you can get into specific welding fields that pay pretty well, allowing you to find one of the highest-paid welder jobs.
Yet, it’s not that easy to get into a specific welding niche. There are strict requirements for each niche, and they get more challenging as the promised pay increases. That’s what the compensation is for. From underwater welding to welding in military sites, here are the top 5 highest paid welders.
Top 5 Highest Paid Welder Jobs
Welding is a craft, so the payment – which is usually an hourly rate – varies according to a handful of factors:
- The technique the welder uses
- The type of project
- The work environment
- Required certifications
- Safety hazards
- Level of skill
Below, we’ll be telling you about the five highest-paid welders, their average annual salaries, and a glimpse of the nature of their work.
Underwater welders easily come on top of the list of the highest-paid welders for plenty of reasons. Welding underwater requires an insane amount of training, for starters. It is one of the most dangerous jobs in welding and non-welding careers.
There are two ways to go underwater; dry welding (hyperbaric welding) and wet welding.
There’s a watertight closed-off area called the ‘hyperbaric chamber‘ that encloses the welder and the welding area in dry welding. The chamber is filled with a mix of oxygen and helium or argon to push water out, allowing the welder to do its job.
The welder is submerged underwater for wet welding, and they use special rods in their welding process. Welders have to tolerate barometric pressure and freezing temperature underwater, in addition to other harsh working conditions, for which they get good compensation.
Apart from mastering the welding technique, they’re going to perform underwater. Welders need to be certified in scuba diving to reach the welding sites and work there with ease.
Average annual salary: $25,000 – $130,000
The whole industrial infrastructure is based on pipelines carrying gas, oil, and water. A leak in one of these pipelines means a disaster to the industrial sector, and that’s when pipeline welders are here to the rescue.
An industrial pipeline welder is responsible for building, fixing, and maintaining gas pipelines that can run for hundreds of miles and need maintenance along with this distance.
The risk of this job is that these pipelines are huge, and they run across long distances. Thus, they can’t be moved. It’s the welder’s responsibility to reach the location of the issue and work on it. These locations can be challenging a lot of the time.
Pipeline welders might work in oil rigs and refineries. Still, they might also find themselves working in hot desserts or freezing locations.
Average annual salary: $35,000 – $58,000
Military Support Welder
America’s military forces are engaged in many places, and it’s not very surprising that working with the military in dangerous war zones overseas pays well. The military requires skillful welders to install and fix military structures and vehicles.
In this case, usually, military support welders need to be part of the armed forces, in addition to tons of other required training. Not anyone can qualify for this kind of job.
The main training that military support welders are supposed to do is the Allied Trades Training, which lasts around 19 weeks.
Due to military support, welders’ tough and dangerous work environments have great compensation rates and good access to healthcare. They work by contract per project most of the time since projects are always changing and require traveling.
Average annual salary: $41,000 – $48,000
Seated right at the ocean, oil rigs are a source of many welding good-paying welding jobs both in and out of the water. Apart from working as an underwater welder at an oil rig -which pays pretty well-, working as a rig welder is also among the highest-paid welding jobs.
Rig welders are mostly the most advanced and experienced because mistakes are fatal here. They undergo extensive training, and it takes them years before they’re even considered for the job.
They’re supposed to be skilled in underwater, hyperbaric, and offshore welding in most cases. Given that most welders master one of these, you can see why this job is demanding, but it does compensate well for its extra demands.
Average annual salary: $52,000 – $207,000
The job title sounds fancy, and so does the pay.
Welding supervisors are in charge of overlooking the whole welding process on site. They make sure that the welders are working according to their standards. They ensure that safety measures are taken to protect the welder and the rest of the people at the site.
To take on such a huge responsibility, you must have years of professional welder experience. You must be skilled in most welding techniques since you’ll oversee a whole project. A unique set of skills that requires certification, time, practice, and, thus, a hefty paycheck.
Average annual salary: $37,000 – $83,000
Everything comes at a price. You indeed get money for the effort you put in when you’re a welder. However, you get this money at the expense of your time away from home, your willingness to withstand tough conditions, and the effort you put into learning new welding techniques and gaining certificates.
Overall, welding is a pretty good career because it offers a variety of versatile options, from small stable location-fixed jobs all the way to challenging hazardous gigs. In the end, you’ll be paid the equivalent of the effort you put into it. It’s your call!