Average Salary by Industry
- Welders' salaries can vary considerably depending on the types of industries in which the welders work. For example, those who do welding in the spectator sports industry earned annual salaries of $61,830 in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They earned average salaries of $55,770 in the natural gas distribution industry and $54,640 per year working for pulp and paper mills. Those working in the pipeline transportation of natural gas industry earned average annual salaries of $54,140. They earned average salaries of $33,330 per year in the architectural and structural metals manufacturing industry. And those the agriculture, construction and mining machinery industries earned salaries averaging $35,610 per year.
Median Wages by Employer Type
- Welders' salaries can vary significantly by employer type. For example, self-employed welders earned some of the highest median wages at $13.76 to $34.52 per hour, according to 2011 PayScale.com data; or $28,621 to $71,802 annually, based on 40-hour workweeks. Median salaries are those in the exact middle of salary lists. Welders working for the federal government earned median wages of $17.36 to $26.69 per hour, or $36,109 to $55,515 per year. They earned median wages of $15.10 to $25.22 per hour working for state and local government agencies, or $31,408 to $52,458 per year. Those working for manufacturing and other companies earned median wages of $13.14 to $18.77 per hour or $27,337 to $39,042 annually. PayScale's median salary ranges represent the middle 50 percent of all welders' salaries, which are those that fall within the 25th and 75th percentiles.
Median Salary by Skill or Specialty
- Welders' salaries can vary according to their types of skills or specialties. For example, welders earned the highest median wages, among those listed, when specializing in reading blueprints at $13.23 to $22.41 per hour, according to PayScale.com; or $27,518 to $46,613 per year. They earned their second highest median wages when skilled in shielded metal arc welding, a type of machinery, at $12.15 to $20 per hour or $25,272 to $41,600 per year. Additionally, those skilled with tungsten inert gas welding earn median wages of $13.66 to $19.97 per hour or $28,413 to $41,538 per year.
Median Salary by Certification
- Welders' salaries can also vary according to the types of certifications they hold. For example, those with CWI certifications or certified welder inspectors earn the highest median hourly wages among those listed, at $17.13 to $22.82, per PayScale.com; or $35,630 to $47,466 annually, based on 40-hour workweeks. They earned their second median wages with welding level "C" certifications at $11.36 to $20.07 per hour or $23,629 to $41,746 per year. A level C certification indicates that a welder has the basic skills to handle an entry-level welding job. Additionally, those certified as welding, cutting and brazing safety technicians earn median wages of $12.03 to $19.02 per hour, or $25,022 to $39,562 per year.