Welding Salary: these can vary greatly between different positions. This guide will cover each popular welding job title and the wages that go along with it.
Single Hand Shop Welding Salary
First, we will go over the most common position. These are employee positions that are referred to as “Single Hand Welding”. This means that the employer provides the equipment and the work that employees need to pursue a full time position.
Shop employees (including us at Welders Manual) in the U.S. will start out at about $18 an hour. These workers will build handrails, staircases, ornamental pieces etc. This all falls under the general “Fab Shop” category. These positions do require a ton of skills, ranging from welding to finishing to brazing.
All of the owners costs associated with running a shop leave the welders pay on a lower list of priorities. I do know some shop welders that make $28 an hour, but it has taken them over a decade to land that wage.
In conclusion, shop welders yearly pre tax pay is between $37,000 (new hires) to $58,000 (Expert).
Field Welders/Ironworker Salary
These positions are a lot harder on the body. Long hours out in the elements are just part of the job. Heavy pieces of steel and I beams can pose safety risks as well.
If you are a field welder or ironworker for a private company, you’ll start out around $22-$24 an hour. If you are part of a union in a large city (New York, Chicago) you can work up to around $60 an hour. The ironworkers union requires extensive training. If you pay your dues and stick around for a few decades, you could be making some serious cash.
Field Welders/Ironworkers will take home $46,000 (new hires) to $124,000 (NYC Journeyman).
Self Employed Mobile Welding Salary
Mobile welders run their own hustle and make repairs around their local area. They need a rig truck and many tools used for general welding practices. Around our area in Colorado, these welders will charge about $85 an hour. So, if you worked full time at this wage you would take home $175,000. WOW! The problem is that a lot of repair jobs only last a couple of hours. Also, if your phone doesn’t ring, you’re out of work.
A fairly busy mobile rig welder with a great client base could expect $80,000 a year. This will include a lot of smaller jobs. Although, self employed taxes and insurance will take a large chunk of that.
Rig Truck Pipe Welders
As mentioned in our welding jobs article, pipeliners generally receive a split check. There are 3 rates included in their paycheck. A good example is:
- $75 an hour for welding
- $18 an hour for their truck use
- $100 a day (per diem) for living expenses
These wages are great if these workers stay on the job. However, a lot of oil rig jobs may only last 3-4 months. If there is a layoff and the welders don’t have another job lined up, that is troublesome.
If a pipeline welder can work steady for 8 months per year, they are doing quite well. They could expect consistent yearly wages well over $100,000. As with mobile welding, this work consistency will come down to solid contacts and who they know in the industry.