How Much Does a Welder Make a Year?

By Jacqueline DeMarco · April 15, 2024 · 6 minute read

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How Much Does a Welder Make a Year?

Currently, the median annual salary for a welder is $47,540, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If someone is on the hunt for a truly hands-on career and gets satisfaction from building or repairing things, they may find they enjoy working as a welder. However, this can be a physically demanding and potentially dangerous career choice. To better understand what this role entails and what welders earn, read on.

What Are Welders?

A welder is a highly-skilled professional who uses specialized equipment to cut or join metal parts, as well as make other changes to metal products like filling holes. Many welders specialize in certain techniques and processes, but the core of what they do involves applying heat to metal pieces so they can then melt and fuse them together permanently. Typical job responsibilities of welders include:

•   Scrutinize structures or materials slated for welding

•   Understand and analyze blueprints, sketches, and specifications

•   Supervise the welding process, making heat adjustments as required

•   Determine and measure the dimensions of components for welding

•   Execute welding tasks in accordance with blueprint specifications

•   Manage and maintain equipment and machinery.

Training to be a welder typically involves training at a vocational school, which can take between six months and two years, in part depending on one’s desired specialization. Usually, a welder does not need a college degree.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that welding can be a good career for introverts. While there is some teamwork and/or client contact involved, much of the job involves working solo with one’s tools.

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How Much Do Starting Welders Make a Year?

If someone is new to the field of welding, they can expect to earn less as an entry-level welder compared to their more experienced counterparts. In terms of how a welder makes an hour, the lowest 10% of earners in this role make less than $35,380.

That being said, there is a lot of room for salary growth in this role. The highest 10% earned more than $68,750. While not common, it is possible that a welder with experience and specialization could earn $100,000 per year in a job market where there is a high cost of living and consequently higher-than-average pay.

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What is the Average Salary for a Welder?

What the average salary looks like for a welder can depend a lot on where they live. For example, while New York welders earn the most on average ($54,046), Arkansas welders earn almost $10,000 less per year ($35,598). The following table compares how much welders earn on average on a monthly, weekly, annual, and hourly basis in each state, arranged from highest to lowest.

What is the Average Welder Salary by State for 2023

State Annual Salary Monthly Pay Weekly Pay Hourly Wage
New York $54,046 $4,503 $1,039 $25.98
Vermont $53,304 $4,442 $1,025 $25.63
Pennsylvania $49,492 $4,124 $951 $23.79
New Hampshire $48,368 $4,030 $930 $23.25
New Jersey $47,846 $3,987 $920 $23.00
Washington $47,742 $3,978 $918 $22.95
Massachusetts $47,279 $3,939 $909 $22.73
Wyoming $47,171 $3,930 $907 $22.68
Alaska $47,110 $3,925 $905 $22.65
Wisconsin $46,976 $3,914 $903 $22.59
Oregon $46,688 $3,890 $897 $22.45
North Dakota $46,613 $3,884 $896 $22.41
Indiana $46,231 $3,852 $889 $22.23
Hawaii $45,712 $3,809 $879 $21.98
Arizona $45,276 $3,773 $870 $21.77
Colorado $45,180 $3,765 $868 $21.72
New Mexico $45,152 $3,762 $868 $21.71
Minnesota $44,904 $3,742 $863 $21.59
Montana $44,593 $3,716 $857 $21.44
Nevada $44,544 $3,712 $856 $21.42
South Dakota $44,055 $3,671 $847 $21.18
Alabama $44,036 $3,669 $846 $21.17
Ohio $43,785 $3,648 $842 $21.05
Rhode Island $43,245 $3,603 $831 $20.79
Delaware $42,795 $3,566 $822 $20.57
Iowa $42,621 $3,551 $819 $20.49
Connecticut $42,541 $3,545 $818 $20.45
Virginia $42,308 $3,525 $813 $20.34
Mississippi $41,987 $3,498 $807 $20.19
Tennessee $41,804 $3,483 $803 $20.10
Illinois $41,717 $3,476 $802 $20.06
Utah $41,617 $3,468 $800 $20.01
Maryland $41,478 $3,456 $797 $19.94
California $41,424 $3,452 $796 $19.92
Georgia $41,022 $3,418 $788 $19.72
Nebraska $40,688 $3,390 $782 $19.56
Maine $40,571 $3,380 $780 $19.51
Missouri $40,186 $3,348 $772 $19.32
South Carolina $39,789 $3,315 $765 $19.13
Idaho $39,544 $3,295 $760 $19.01
Kansas $39,523 $3,293 $760 $19.00
Oklahoma $39,404 $3,283 $757 $18.94
Louisiana $39,205 $3,267 $753 $18.85
Texas $39,201 $3,266 $753 $18.85
North Carolina $38,967 $3,247 $749 $18.73
West Virginia $38,223 $3,185 $735 $18.38
Kentucky $37,499 $3,124 $721 $18.03
Michigan $37,431 $3,119 $719 $18.00
Florida $36,305 $3,025 $698 $17.45
Arkansas $35,598 $2,966 $684 $17.11

Source: ZipRecruiter

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Welder Job Considerations for Pay & Benefits

What someone’s pay and benefits look like as a welder depends a lot on if they choose to work full-time or part-time. Full-time welders who are employed by businesses can expect to gain access to traditional employer-sponsored benefits like retirement accounts, paid time off, and healthcare.

However, if someone only works part-time as a welder or is self-employed, they likely won’t receive any benefits and will have to pursue things like opening retirement accounts and sourcing healthcare coverage on their own.

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Pros and Cons of Welder Salary

Because welders don’t need a college degree — only technical and on-the-job training — they can save a lot of money on education expenses. Not having to worry about student loan payments each month can help their salaries stretch a lot further, which can be a major advantage of this career path.

On the other hand, this salary can come at a steep cost. Welding can be a very physical and therefore exhausting career. Welders expose themselves to many on-the-job hazards that can lead to injury, such as breathing in fumes and handling extremely hot materials. There are safety procedures in place to offset these risks, but there is still a certain level of risk they can’t avoid.

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The Takeaway

Working as a welder can lead to a median annual salary of $47,540, and an expensive degree isn’t required to work in this role. There is also the potential to earn a higher salary as welders gain experience (the top 10% earn more than $68,750) in this field. However, it can be tiring and potentially hazardous work.

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Can you make 100k a year as a welder?

It’s not impossible to make $100,000 or more a year as a welder — the top 10% of earners in this field make more than $68,750. However, it may take many years of experience to earn top pay. Welders who are self-employed may find it easier to charge higher rates for their work.

Do people like being a welder?

Many people enjoy working as a welder, especially people who consider themselves an introvert. Working as a welder requires a lot of independent work, which can be a great fit for those who get overwhelmed by too much social interaction during the workday.

Is it hard to get hired as a welder?

If someone wants to get hired as a welder or in a similar role, they should be able to find employment if they have the right skills and education. There are an anticipated average of 42,600 job opportunities for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers expected between now and 2032.

Photo credit: iStock/simonkr

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Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.


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