5 ways to increase

your wage in the welding world

  1. Experience

As with most occupations, the more experience you have, the more opportunity you have to increase your wage. A simple scroll on any hiring site can show you that more experience qualifies you for those higher paying wages. That being said, it is not a guarantee that you will have a higher wage if your skill is not up to par. Many employers looking for a welder require a welding test as part of the interview process. Your skill is really what will determine your wage over the amount of experience you have. However, the experience on your resume can help you get to that welding test to show your employer that your experiences have paid off. 


Not every position calls for +10 years of experience, but many would like to see some. Take advantage of any opportunity to gain experience in your field. Whether that be working part time while in school, mastering new types of welding or learning tips and tricks from industry experts. 

2. Education


Welding education requirements vary from employer to employer, but a career in welding does not necessarily require a college degree. Some employers may only require a high school diploma along with an employer-based welding test. Others may require a certificate, a degree from a technical school or an undergraduate degree. Below are a list of options on how to become a welder: 


  • Get a Certificate – There are a variety of programs to choose from
    • Students can get certified at a trades school
    • Students/workers can earn a welding certificate through the American Welding Society (AWS)


**Make sure to research how often your welding certificate requires a renewal. Most require them every six months to a year. 


  • Take an Apprenticeship Program
    • This is a great way to get hands-on, real-world experience in the world of welding
    • Taking an apprenticeship program can also increase your chances of getting hired on at the company you worked with 
  • Get a Degree
    • Students can earn a higher degree such as a welding technology associate’s degree
    • Students can earn a four year degree such as a Bachelor’s Degree in Welding Engineering


To put in perspective of how an education can determine a wage, please review two welding occupations in remotely the same area: 


Bridge Construction Welder: $20.27-$28.40 an hour

Requirements – Preferably at least 5 years of welding experience and possesses an AWS D1.5 from an accredited facility


Weld Process Engineer in the Aerospace Industry: $30-$40 an hour

Requirements – Bachelor’s degree and 3 years of relevant experience OR in absence of a degree, 7 years experience is required

As you can see, the job that requires more education gets paid more. That being said, even the weld process engineer doesn’t technically require education if enough experience is completed. This is only one example that doesn’t relate to every person/situation, but it is something to think about when you are looking into further your education to increase your wage. Keep in mind that education doesn’t always have to be a four year degree. It could be taking one course that enhances your tig welding or software skills. In the end, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of investing in more schooling, but it is an option if you are looking to increase your wage. 

3. Location

This career path will not limit your ability to travel. In fact, there are opportunities for welders all around the world and even out of this world! I’m talking outer space! However, if you’d like to stay on Earth, you could find welding jobs in places such as Italy, Switzerland, and China.  


There are many welders that travel for a living. They go from job to job, traveling and taking in the sites along the way. This career path may not be ideal for everyone, but for those who love new adventures (and a little extra cash), this could be your perfect fit! One example would be an independent contractor for a shipyard. A shipyard welder might work on a job for a few weeks or months in the United States and then find herself/himself in Japan for the next few years. 


The location you chose to work at will affect your wage. Salaries vary from state to state, place to place. Many welders that travel tend to have higher wages. The location of the job may also affect the safety of the welder. More often than not; the higher the risk, the higher the pay. 


If you are looking to increase your wage in the welding world, you might want to look into switching up your location. Different locations could pay you more. Some highly skilled welders who are willing to travel can earn over $100,000 a year. That being said, keep in mind that the cost of living also varies from place to place. Just because you can make $40,000 more in one place, doesn’t mean your cost of living won’t also increase. Another factor to keep in mind is the safety of the location you may be looking into. Some of the most high paying welding careers (pipeline welders, underwater welders, military welders) come with higher safety risks. 

4. Industry

One of the benefits to choosing welding as a career path is the wide range of opportunities that lie ahead. Along with the variety of locations you can work from, you also have a variety of industries to choose from. Below are a few industries that your welding career could take you: 








Project Management




Different industries can call for a higher wage. For example, the shipbuilding welder occupations tend to make more than the construction welder occupations. As discussed previously, those occupations in that industry do come with a set of risks and lifestyle adjustments. 


As a new welder, you might not be able to get into the industry you want right off the bat. However, you can build your skillset to eventually move on to another industry OR build your skillset to move up in whichever industry you are in. 

5. Skill

As mentioned throughout this article, your skill as a welder can have a heavy influence on your wage. There isn’t exactly a “fake it til’ you make it” option when it comes to welding. If your employer has you take a welding test, you can’t “pretend” to be good at welding. If you do happen to get hired somewhere where they didn’t require a welding test, your welding abilities will eventually get the spotlight as they cause safety and quality issues. 

Mastering your craft is an essential part of moving your wage up in the welding world. If you are struggling to perfect a certain aspect of your work, consider the following: 

  • Finding a Mentor
  • Watching Tutorial Videos
  • Taking Additional Classes


When it comes to increasing your wage in the welding world or in any profession, be sure to have a conversation with your employer if you are feeling undervalued. Be clear about your expectations and your goals that you have for your career. Your employer may be caught up in their own day-to-day routines/problems that they need caught up on all of the things you have been doing for their company. They may also be able to help you with an internal transfer, additional education or helping you diversify your skill set.



Having a good attitude at work will make you 

  • A better learner
  • A better teammate
  • A better employee


No matter what profession you are in, having a good attitude when you come to work can only benefit you as a worker and as an individual. When it comes time to needing a reference or asking for a raise, you’ll want to be known as the positive worker not the complainer.

Saying you have to show up to work seems like an obvious factor when it comes to your wage, but unfortunately it needs to be said. You are not going to get paid if you don’t show up for work. Also, keep in mind that it is hard to give out raises or overtime to those who don’t have a very good attendance track record. 


Simply put; show up to work and you’ll get paid!

Okay, so now that you’ve made it to work, you do have to actually work if you’d like to keep your job. Attendance is important, but most employers can’t pay you to do nothing all day every day. 


If you are hoping to see a raise in your future, make sure you are keeping up with your daily requirements and try to go the extra mile when you can.

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