Which Welding Jobs Have the Highest Salary?

Learn what the basic field of welding entails, including the education, training, salary and outlook. To find out the education, skills and experience that are likely to fetch you a higher salary in advanced welding jobs, read on. Schools offering Industrial Automation Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

The basics of welding involve cutting and joining metal parts, also filling holes, indentations, or seams, using hand-held tools or equipment that's remotely controlled. As an entry-level welder, you can work in building and bridge construction, on pipelines, in power plants and refineries. Learn more details about the beginnings of this career in the following table.

Degree Required High school diploma (minimum)
Education field of study Welding, metal fabrication, engineering technology, material science, metallurgy
Training required Apprenticeship program
Licensure/Certification Certified Welder, for example
Job growth (2016-2026) 6% (welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers)*
Median salary (2018) $41,380 (welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Are Some Welding Specialties with High Salaries?

With a minimum of a high school diploma, along with technical and on-the-job training, you can get a job as a basic welder. For advanced opportunities in welding, however, a degree may be required. There are many specialties within the field. In this article, we discuss three of the highest paying positions: underwater welder, technical sales representative, and welding research scientist.

What is an Underwater Welder and How Much Do They Earn?

Underwater welders work in a variety of industries like ship building and maintenance, offshore drilling, and waterway construction. They use arc welding to preform cutting, fitting and rigging to salvage sunken equipment, identify weld discontinuities and defects, and survey water of various depths for obstacles.

As an underwater welder, you'll combine your welding know-how with your knowledge of diving procedures and protocol. You will typically need a high school diploma and an associate's degree in areas such as welding, metals fabrication, or machining. You'll need to be certified as a welder, as well as a commercial diver. You might find the most opportunities in coastal regions, which means you may have to travel. In 2019, the American Welding Society (AWS) reported the national average median pay for the job was $77,000.

What Does a Technical Sales Representative in Welding Do and What is Their Salary?

As a technical sales representative you'll advise manufacturers about where and how to use different welding technologies, along with preparing and submitting bids. Your knowledge of all types of welding could help you to train and mentor potential customers about machinery and products, as well as troubleshoot any customer welding issues. While you may have a home base, you will likely travel to manufacturing facilities, testing labs, and active construction sites.

Ideally, you should have a bachelor's degree in welding, materials science, or a related field, but an associate's degree may also be acceptable. Get training experience in an apprenticeship program, as well as certification as a welder or welder sales representative. You should enjoy working with people, helping customers determine their needs, demonstrating how to use welding equipment and supplies, and troubleshooting any problems. The national average median pay for this job was $80,000, according to the AWS in 2019.

What is a Welding Research Scientist And How Much Can They Earn?

This type of scientist researches and tests ways to join metals such as steel, aluminum, iron, and copper. They work to solve current welding problems and consult with others in the field. You should like working in a lab environment and using equipment to test field and control samples of media and materials. Be prepared to travel to work sites or labs to collaborate with colleagues. In addition, you'll be called upon to present and publish your research.

You'll typically need a master's degree or a doctorate in welding engineering, material science or metallurgy. It's a good idea to get lab experience, particularly using welding equipment for testing and research. The national average median pay for this welding career was $86,000, reported the AWS in 2019.

What Are Some Careers Related to Welding?

Boilermakers assemble, install and maintain boilers, closed vats, or other large receptacles containing gases or liquids. Like welders, they need to know how to work with all types of metals and use power and flame-cutting torches to cut and shape metal parts. Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters work on the pipes that carry gases or liquids in businesses and homes. These jobs are often learned during an on-the-job apprenticeship, and most states require plumbers to be licensed.

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