Best Paying Welding Jobs

Updated on February 22, 2024

Welding is a skilled trade that offers a wide range of career opportunities, some of which come with significant financial rewards. Here, we explore the top-paying jobs in the welding industry, providing insights into their roles, average salaries, responsibilities, and the education required to secure these positions.

Rig Welder

  • Average Salary: $52,000 – $207,000
  • Job Description: Rig welders are among the highest-paid professionals in the welding field, primarily working on offshore oil rigs. Their work is critical and requires precision, as any mistakes can have severe consequences.
  • Responsibilities: Rig welders perform underwater welding, hyperbaric welding, and various types on offshore oil rigs at sea. The job often involves long hours and living on-site for extended periods.
  • Required Education: Rig welders need years of experience and multiple certifications. A high school diploma or GED and completion of a two-year technical training program are typically required.

Underwater Welder

  • Average Salary: $38,000 – $147,000
  • Job Description: Underwater welders work in one of the most dangerous environments, facing risks like electric shock and decompression sickness. Their job includes building, repairing, or salvaging underwater structures.
  • Responsibilities: Tasks may involve working on oil rigs, shipwrecks, and subsea construction projects.
  • Required Education: A wet welding D3.6M certification from the American Welding Society and a commercial diving certification are necessary.

Nuclear Welder

  • Average Salary: $22,000 – $143,500
  • Job Description: Nuclear welders work in sensitive environments, requiring a high level of trust and clearance. Their work involves welding tasks on nuclear-powered vessels and reactor vessels.
  • Responsibilities: May include building or repairing reactor vessels and working in shipyards.
  • Required Education: An underwater welder certification, commercial diving certification, and clearance by the FBI are typical requirements.

Industrial Pipeline Welder

  • Average Salary: $23,500 – $133,500
  • Job Description: These welders work on the extensive networks of pipelines that transport gas and oil, where leaks can lead to significant disasters.
  • Responsibilities: Building and repairing pipelines, often requiring travel to various locations, sometimes internationally.
  • Required Education: A high school diploma or GED and relevant welding certifications.

Military Support Welders

  • Average Salary: $37,000 – $160,000
  • Job Description: Working in military installations around the world, these welders operate in potentially dangerous conditions, which is reflected in their compensation.
  • Responsibilities: Building and maintaining military infrastructure in war zones.
  • Required Education: Rigorous training and being part of the armed forces are necessary.

Welding Engineer

  • Average Salary: $51,000 – $120,000
  • Job Description: Welding engineers are responsible for developing welding techniques and procedures to ensure the quality and integrity of welded structures.
  • Responsibilities: Incorporating new welding techniques into company processes, improving efficiency and workmanship.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in a related field and certification through the AWS.

Certified Welding Inspector

  • Average Salary: $42,000 – $104,000
  • Job Description: These professionals ensure that welding work meets industry standards and specifications, focusing on safety and quality.
  • Responsibilities: Monitoring welders, ensuring compliance with safety protocols, and quality assurance.
  • Required Education: An associate’s degree in welding and at least a Certified Associate Welding Inspector (CAWI) certificate.

Final Thoughts

The welding industry offers a variety of high-paying careers for those willing to acquire the necessary skills and certifications. From the perilous depths of underwater welding to the precision-required environment of nuclear facilities, these roles not only demand a high level of expertise but also offer substantial financial rewards in return. For anyone considering a career in welding, these positions represent the pinnacle of what can be achieved in the trade.

Sources

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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