DIY Tools Workshop

How Much Does a Welder Make? 

Considering a career in welding, but not sure about the annual salary? A welder can make from $36,830 to $72,970 per year, with the national average at $48,940.
Katie Flannery Avatar
Two welders at work.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›


  • The typical salary range for a welder is between $36,830 and $72,970, while the national average salary is $48,940.
  • Welder salaries can vary depending on education level, experience level, the industry in which the welder works, their position, any additional or specialty skills they have, and the geographic location in which they work.
  • Welders can increase their salaries by pursuing certifications, learning additional skills, getting more experience, taking on leadership roles, relocating to a higher-paying region, networking, and negotiating their salary with their employer.

A career in welding can be rewarding and stable, especially for those who enjoy working with their hands and don’t want to end up sitting at a desk all day. But how much does a welder make? The salary range for welders can vary depending on experience, education, and geographic location. However, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average welder salary falls between $36,830 and $72,920, with many welders making about $48,940 per year. 

Salaries are typically higher for welders in the aerospace, automotive manufacturing, and oil and gas extraction industries—in fact, these industries typically have some of the highest-paying welding jobs. This higher welder salary is due to the specialized skills and certifications required by these industries. Additionally, union welders often earn more money than non-union welders. While the average salary for a welder is a good estimate for those considering a welding career, there’s always room for growth and increased earning potential for those who pursue additional education or certifications in specialized techniques. Welders who take the steps to specialize may find themselves in demand for good-paying welding jobs that offer a higher welding salary. 

Welders at work.

Key Welder Salary Factors

Education and experience are significant elements for aspiring welders to keep in mind when considering the average welding salary. The industry and specific type of welding also matter. Specialized sectors offer a higher salary relative to an entry-level welder salary, and having additional skills, such as expertise in particular techniques or working with specific materials (such as the best plastic welders) can also increase pay. Wages can vary significantly by region due to differences in demand and cost of living. 

Education Level

Welding jobs pay more if the welder has some form of higher education in addition to a high school diploma or GED. Higher education programs and courses teach the scientific principles behind welding processes and proper techniques while using the best welders. This theoretical foundation makes welders more versatile, allowing them to tackle complex projects and potentially qualify for certifications in specialized welding techniques. 

Educational programs also typically involve hands-on training, where students develop practical skills in various welding techniques such as shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) or gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). These skills make them better welders, which can increase their welder yearly salary. Also, some welding jobs require specific certifications beyond a high school diploma. For certain jobs in construction or for working on pipelines, workers may be required to obtain certifications from the American Welding Society (AWS). To earn these qualifications, students often need to complete additional education or training programs. 

Although hands-on experience is essential for becoming a welder, the best online welding courses can supplement that training. These courses can prepare aspiring welders for entering the workforce or provide continuing education opportunities for experienced welders looking to expand their skill set.

Experience Level

Experience is a major factor that influences a welder’s salary. As with many other professions, there’s a direct correlation between years of experience and earning potential. 

Experienced welders can work faster and more efficiently than beginners. They have a deeper understanding of the various materials they work with and how to troubleshoot potential problems. This allows them to complete projects faster and potentially take on more complex jobs that come with a higher welder average salary. 

With experience comes mastery of the craft. Seasoned welders produce higher-quality welds with greater consistency, which reduces the risk of mistakes. This reliability makes them valuable on projects where precision and quality are important. 

Experienced welders will develop specialized skills in specific welding techniques or gain expertise in working with certain materials. These specialized skills can open doors to higher-paying welder jobs. 

In addition, welders who have years of experience will sometimes take on leadership roles, supervising junior welders or overseeing entire welding teams. This type of leadership experience can command a higher welding average salary. 

Industry and Position

Industries with specialized needs, such as oil and gas or aerospace, often pay welders more because of the advanced skills and certifications that are needed in these fields. This is in contrast to the construction industry, where welding tasks might not be as specialized, possibly resulting in welding job salaries being lower. 

The position a welder holds can also affect their salary. Welders who have advanced certifications or specialized skills, such as pipe welding or underwater welding, can earn higher salaries than entry-level workers. Those in management positions can also earn more money than less-experienced welders. 

Additional Skills

Welders with additional skills beyond just knowing how to weld are more valuable, which can make them candidates for higher pay. Additional skills can include operating specialized equipment, having expertise in specific welding processes like TIG or MIG welding (or using the best MIG welders), or possessing certifications in welding inspection or quality control. 

Having additional skills opens doors to a wide range of opportunities. Welders may be able to qualify for roles that have greater responsibility or specialization, which usually have a higher salary. Investing in additional training and honing advanced skills can significantly enhance a welder’s earning potential. 

Geographic Location

Geographic location plays a role in a welder’s salary due to two key factors: cost of living and regional demand. 

Welders in areas with a high cost of living, such as major cities or coastal regions, typically earn more than those in rural areas with a lower cost of living. This is because a higher salary is needed to maintain a similar standard of living in a more expensive location. 

The demand for welders in a particular region can also influence salary. Areas with a booming construction industry, a strong manufacturing sector, or a concentration of industries that rely heavily on welding (such as shipbuilding or oil and gas) will likely offer higher salaries to attract and retain skilled workers. 

StateMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Alabama$22.09 $45,950
Arizona$24.77 $51,510
Arkansas $20.63$42,910
California$26.58 $55,290
Colorado$25.75 $53,550
Connecticut$27.55 $57,300
Delaware $25.88$53,830
District of Columbia$29.22 $60,780
Florida $22.45 $46,690
Georgia $21.55 $44,820
Hawaii $33.89$70,500
Idaho$22.41 $46,610
Illinois$23.24 $48,350
Indiana $22.43$46,660
Iowa $22.44$46,680
Kentucky $22.07$45,910
Maine $25.32$52,670
Michigan $22.05$45,870
Minnesota$25.44 $52,910
Mississippi$23.75 $49,400
Missouri $22.85 $47,540
Nevada $24.49$50,950
New Hampshire $25.08 $52,160
New Jersey $27.66$57,530
New Mexico$27.04$56,250
New York $26.40 $54,910
North Carolina$23.36$48,590
North Dakota$27.95$58,130
Ohio $22.66$47,120
Rhode Island$28.63$59,550
South Carolina$21.62 $44,970
South Dakota$21.32$44,350
Tennessee $21.72$45,180
Texas$25.24 $52,500
Utah $24.35 $50,650
Vermont $22.87$47,570
Virginia$25.91 $53,890
West Virginia $23.85$49,610
Wisconsin $25.39$52,800
Puerto Rico$12.94$26,900
Virgin Islands$25.05 $52,100
Two welders at work.

Welder Salary by Experience Level

A welder’s salary will fluctuate based on their level of experience, with entry-level positions earning less compared to mid-level and senior-level roles. 

Welder Experience LevelAverage Annual Salary
Senior-level $72,970


The starting salary for welders is typically around $36,830 per year. The lower wage is because of the entry-level nature of the position, where new welders are still developing their skills. As they gain more experience through on-the-job training and by learning different types of welding techniques, they can expect to see their earnings increase. 


In the welding profession, mid-level status is typically achieved after around 10 years of experience. Welders at this stage have honed their skills through various projects and mastered a broad range of techniques relative to their entry-level peers. This translates to an increase in their yearly pay. The average salary for a mid-level welder is around $48,940 per year. These welders can handle more complex projects, and their experience also allows them to work jobs that require more specialized skills or certifications. 


Welders with extensive experience, typically those with 20 to 30 years on the job, can expect to see their salaries climb into a higher range. These welders often earn about $72,970 or more per year. Their extensive experience and advanced certifications qualify them to earn more while working on the most complex welding projects. 

Two welders in a workshop.

How to Increase Your Welder Salary

Increasing your welder salary involves a combination of improving your skills, gaining experience, and exploring opportunities for advancement within the field. Here are some strategies to boost your earning potential as a welder. 

  • Gain experience. As with many professions, experience is important in welding. The more years you spend sharpening your skills and building a strong track record, the more valuable you’ll become to employers. 
  • Pursue certifications. Earning certifications in specific welding techniques or materials can demonstrate expertise and provide you access to higher-paying opportunities in specialized fields. 
  • Develop additional skills. Expanding a skill set beyond basic welding techniques can make you more valuable to an employer. Learning advanced techniques or gaining skills in areas such as blueprint reading or welding inspection can lead to earning more money. 
  • Seek out leadership roles. If you have experience and strong leadership skills, you can take on supervisory or leadership positions, managing welding teams and making sure everyone follows safety regulations and protocols. These types of roles usually include a boost in pay. 
  • Negotiate your salary. Don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary when applying for a new job or during performance reviews. Research the average rates for welders with your experience level in your area to strengthen your position. 
  • Relocate to a high-paying area. If you live in a region with a higher cost of living or a significant demand for welders, you can command a higher salary. 
  • Network and build connections. Networking within the welding community and building relationships with industry professionals can lead to job opportunities or career advancement.


The following frequently asked questions touch on potential earnings and the trade’s pros and cons. We’ll explore factors influencing welder salaries across different states, look into the physical demands and potential drawbacks of the profession, and highlight the rewarding aspects and career opportunities that attract many to welding. 

Q. Which state pays welders the most?

While specific salary data can vary, states with a booming oil and gas industry or a strong concentration of shipyards tend to offer higher salaries for welders. Alaska, Hawaii, and Wyoming are often cited as some of the top-paying states for welders. 

Q. What are the disadvantages of being a welder?

Welding can be a physically demanding job, often requiring working in awkward positions and lifting heavy materials. Exposure to fumes and intense heat can also be a concern. Some welding jobs can also involve working outdoors in harsh weather conditions. 

Q. What are the benefits of being a welder?

The welding profession offers a clear path to good wages, with the opportunity for salary growth as more experience is gained. Many welding jobs don’t require a 4-year college degree, making welding an excellent career option for those who prefer a more hands-on approach and don’t want to complete a college degree. The demand for skilled welders is expected to remain strong for years to come, which can provide job security and stability. 

Bureau of Labor Statistics, PrimeWeld