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.


I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

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.

Get the Checklist