What Are the Highest Paying Welding Jobs?

It’s no secret that welding can be a great way to gain steady employment and a great salary.

But the rate of pay and the amount of opportunity for advancement varies widely in the industry. The type of welding that you specialize in, where you work, and what kind of company you work for will all affect how much you make.

If you’re hoping to land one of the highest paying welding jobs available, you’ll need to start by looking into what specialties and regions pay the best.

If you’re already trained and certified and are looking to land one of the highest paying welding jobs, you may need to look into moving to a higher paying region.

But if you’re just starting your welding career, you can change your specialization or the region you’re searching in to increase your odds of landing a high-paying position.

Once you’ve found the right position for you, it’ll be time to find the perfect welding gear for the job. But first, it’s time to find one of those jobs.

To help you get started on your search for a great welding job, check out this list of the highest paying welding jobs in the United States and around the world.

Underwater Welding

If you’re willing to put in the extra work that it takes to become a certified underwater welder, you’ll be well on your way to one of the highest paying welding jobs available.

It’s no wonder that this field pays so well. Underwater welders must not only be skilled at welding. They have to be certified in commercial scuba diving. Then, they have to learn how to combine those two skills at the same time.

The work takes place under lots of pressure. You’re on a time limit because you can only work for the length of time that an air tank can provide. Hazards such as poor visibility, freezing temperatures, and even slight changes in the weather can affect how long you work on a project.

Using electrical equipment underwater also poses a threat of electrocution. Given the risks, it’s no surprise that this field is one of the highest paying welding jobs available.

Becoming an underwater welder

The training that you’ll need to become an underwater welder will likely cost more than it will to do other types of welding. But in the long run, the increased salary will make up for it.

The high cost of training, the skills required, and the risks that make this one of the highest paying welding jobs also make it one of the rarest for welders to get certified in. Which means that if you do get the training and experience, you’ll likely have plenty of job opportunities.

You’ll likely be working on oil drilling stations or on underwater pipes in the ocean as well as in lakes and rivers. You may even get to travel the world performing jobs.

Military Support Welding

If you’re looking for steady employment and don’t mind taking risks, then military support welding might be the right choice for you.

While you won’t be doing any welding that you wouldn’t do for a private company, this is one of the highest paying welding jobs because it does carry some risk.

You’ll be working at military bases and camps around the world. Some of these may be in war zones, or in areas that are the target of violence.

Military support welders may either be employed by the military or work for private companies that have contracts with the military. While contracted work may pay more, being employed by the military has other benefits.

If you’re not already a certified welder, you may be able to get trained on the military’s dime while serving. If you’ve already received training, you may be eligible for help paying any education loans you have.

The military provides other benefits as well, such as healthcare, housing, and retirement plans.

There are dozens of welding jobs that the military is in constant need of. Whether it’s repairing equipment, helping to build new structures or equipping vehicles with military-grade features, welders are in constant demand.

Military support welding is one of the highest paying welding jobs because even in times of peace, the military needs welders. In times of war or in hostile areas, skilled welders are in even greater demand.

Industrial Pipe Welding

Industrial pipes are in use in dozens of industries around the world. They carry gas, water, chemicals, and more, through cities and in rural areas.

They are also in constant need of repair. Damage and deterioration can be detrimental. Sometimes maintenance is preventative, to keep the pipes running properly. Other times the repair is after a disaster has struck.

In these cases, repairs need to be made quickly to keep the damage and loss of profit from growing. These repairs may involve working in treacherous, high-stress situations.

The constant need for maintenance and repairs and the sheer number of industries that rely on industrial pipes make this one of the highest paying welding jobs available.

If you choose to specialize in this field, you’ll find steady employment nearly anywhere. But if you’re willing to work overseas, you’ll have the chance to work in some of the highest paying welding jobs on the market.

To enter this field, you’ll need to learn to work fast and efficiently (but safely!). You may be forced to make quick repairs that need to be of sound quality to prevent future damage.

You’ll also be working for companies that have a lot on the line. Mistakes can mean a huge loss of profit, and possibly even damage to a company’s image.

States with Low-Populations or High Industry Demand

If you’re already a certified welder and wondering how you can land one of the highest paying welding jobs in the industry, it may be as simple as moving to a new state.

Regardless of the type of welding that you do, you may be able to earn more money working in certain parts of the United States.

Many of the areas with the best welding jobs are those in low-population areas. Companies in these areas struggle to fill job slots, resulting in them raising their wages in an attempt to attract new employees.

Some of the other high-paying welding positions exist in states or regions where there is a high demand for welding work. Areas where the oil drilling industry, or other industries that use industrial pipes, are strong often raise their pay rates to compete with other companies looking for skilled workers.

Where do welders make the most money?

Alaska is home to some of the highest paying welding jobs in the U.S. The top 10 percent of welders in Alaska earn a whopping $43.83 per hour on average.

This is thanks to a combined effect of a low-population and a high demand, thanks to oil drilling in the state.

While the oil industry in Hawaii may be smaller than in Alaska, a low population still makes the state home to some of the best paying welding jobs. The top 10 percent of welders in Hawaii make an average of $39.75 per hour.

The next four states with the highest paying welding jobs are North Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Nevada.

The top 10 percent of welders in North Dakota make an average of $39.05 an hour. In West Virginia, they make $37.88, in Wyoming, they make $35.23, and in Nevada, they make $34.38.

How to Land One of the Highest Paying Welding Jobs

If you want to land one of these high-paying welding jobs, you’ll need to start by getting the right training and certifications.

First, decide which area of welding you’d like to specialize in. Maybe you want to work in underwater welding. Or perhaps you know that you’d like to work on an oil rig, on vehicles, or with the military.

Once you’ve chosen an area to focus on, you’ll need to find a school or training location that can help you prepare and get certified.

Then, it’s time to get the right equipment for the job.

Even though an employer will likely supply most of the equipment that you will need on the job, there are a few things you’ll want to get for yourself. You’ll also need equipment to use while training and getting certified.

If you plan to do contract work, you may need to have even more of your own equipment.

What to know before you start your search

Before you start buying equipment, it’s a good idea to do some research. Welding equipment is expensive. Wasting money on equipment that won’t perform well, or that won’t hold up, will end up costing you even more over time.

To find the right welding equipment for you, start by reading reviews. This can help you narrow down your search, and help you feel better about your purchases.

If you’re looking for quality reviews of welding equipment that you can trust, BestWeldingGear can help.

You can read real reviews of equipment before you buy. If you aren’t sure where to start shopping, you can also check out BestWeldingGear’s top picks to find some great choices.

Salvador J. Celaya

Salvador J. Celaya is the Editor of Bestweldinggear.com. As a welding enthusiast he loves to share what he knows about welding helmets and other gear in this field. In personal life he is the father of two cute kids and a loving husband. He loves foods and nothing is more important for him than being with family and friends in his spare time.

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