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How Much Do Traveling Welders Make? 2024 Salary Statistics

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traveling welder on deck

Welders are a vital part of the modern workforce. They are present in major industries, such as oil and gas, construction, marine, defense, automotive, aerospace, and shipbuilding. As economies grow across the globe, so does the demand for welders.

Welding is a very technical job and requires a combination of talents to master. Welders need to know how to visualize a finished project, and be able to use all tools. They also need to understand the properties of metals and pay keen attention to details.

This article will focus on travelling welders, giving a breakdown of their salary.

How Much Do Traveling Welders Make?

The average salary for a traveling welder will depend on several factors such as industry, job type, location, and experience level. For instance, when working in San Mateo, CA, you are likely to make more money than in Newark, NJ. That is because the local economy in San Mateo, CA, and the demand for welders is much higher than in Newark, NJ.

Additionally, the type of project and the work you do will determine your salary. For example, if you are working on a project that involves pipeline construction and repairs, your salary will be more than someone working in a welding repair shop.

Before deciding to become a traveling welder, try to get a sense of all these factors. That will help you prepare better for the future. Although the US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide salary estimates, you can get general insights.

So, what does a traveling welder in the US make? The average salary for traveling welding in the US is $60,171 per year, according to ZipRecruiter. That translates to approximately $28.93 an hour or $ 1,157 weekly or $5,014/month.

That is above the national minimum wage. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that these figures are only averages. It is possible to make as much as $126,500 and as low as $22,000.

In comparison to other countries like Australia, the welder’s salary in the US is lower. For instance, in Australia, the average welder salary is $70,200 per year or $36 per hour. That is according to a survey by Talent.

As a traveling welder, you have the chance to make significantly more money in different locations. It will also give you exposure to new structures and projects. You can also gain expertise and expand your knowledge.

oil rig welder at work
Image Credit: somkhuanfoto, Shutterstock

Who Are Traveling Welders?

These welders work from place to place performing temporary welding jobs. With the growing demand, welders may prefer to move and work in different areas. If you are not tied down in one location, opting to become a traveling welder might be the right decision.

Traveling welders specialize in specific areas such as large-scale construction projects, mining projects, or even small-scale construction projects. Given the condition of these jobs, most traveling welders have extensive experience and personal safety gear.

Their responsibilities and duties are the same as other welding jobs, but they can utilize their skills in different places. Some industries that traveling welders might work in include:

  • Oil rigs
  • Repair shops
  • Aerospace
  • Military support
  • Shipyard welding
  • Pipeline construction and repairs
  • Construction and infrastructure
  • Underwater welding
  • Machinery manufacturing

A career in this field is a far cry from your typical nine-five job. If you want to see the world while working, traveling welding might be the right choice.

Traveling Welders Income by Qualification

The qualification a welder holds will determine how much he or she makes. The reason for this is that all jobs have different responsibilities. Some are more complex, while others are few and basic. Here are some welder qualifications and the average pay.

Welding Apprentice

At this level, you are still undergoing the learning process. You do not have full authority over the job, but you will get training to work independently. You will get supervision from experienced welders as you perform your tasks.

Since you do not have much experience nor responsibilities, you do not make much money. A welding apprenticeship pays around $15 per hour on average, according to Payscale. That would be approximately $20,000 a year.

military support welder welding tank
Image Credit: Denis Dymov, Shutterstock

Certified Welder

After you complete your training, you will be able to work independently. You can then get employed as a certified welder and start earning more money. As an American Welding Society (AWS) certified welder, you can expect your salary to increase significantly.

Typically, a certified traveling welder would make around $20.04 per hour on average, according to ZipRecruiter. That’s approximately $41,690 a year on average.

Welding Supervisor

As you advance in your career, you gain more experience and responsibility. You will then be able to manage other welders and assess the quality of their work.

Depending on your employer, you will need to have an AWS supervisor certification. At this level, you can earn up to $63,648 yearly on average, according to SalaryCom.

Welding Technician

It is a more advanced level. At this stage, you have comprehensive knowledge of different welding methods and equipment. Perhaps your responsibility is to inspect welds for defects.

This position pays higher than the Welding supervisor. The average salary of a welding technician is $29.92 per hour or $63,140 yearly on average according to PayScale.

Welding Foreman

As a welder foreman, you are responsible for the welding production. You coordinate and manage the workflow of a construction site to make sure everything is running smoothly. You also need to know the best welding techniques and equipment for different conditions.

This position is among the top welder jobs with an average salary of $28.46 per hour or $62,500 yearly on average, according to GlassDoors.

inspection of oil rig
Image Credit: noomcpk, Shutterstock

Welding Engineer

At this level, you have the most knowledge of how to work. You are responsible for designing and applying welding techniques that will ensure the integrity of the structure. At this position, you are not just a welder; you have an understanding of the science behind it.

As a welding engineer, you already have attained a bachelor’s degree in the field. You can expect a high salary of $77,344 yearly or $38.45 per hour on average according to PayScale.

Traveling Welders Salary by Location

The pay welders can expect also depends on which state or city they are currently working in. The reasons vary but the main one is that different cities have different living costs. In addition, the rules of demand and supply apply.

The following table shows the average welder salary in major cities across the US, according to ZipRecruiter.

City Hourly Wage Weekly Pay Monthly Pay Annual Salary
San Mateo, CA $34.66 $1,386 $6,008 $72,093
Boston, MA $34.11 $1,364 $5,913 $70,953
Santa Monica, CA $33.67 $1,347 $5,836 $70,029
Renton, WA $33.56 $1,342 $5,817 $69,801
Berkeley, CA $33.41 $1,337 $5,792 $69,500
Daly City, CA $33.32 $1,333 $5,775 $69,305
Lowell, MA $33.03 $1,321 $5,724 $68,694
Richmond, CA $32.60 $1,304 $5,650 $67,799
Newark, NJ $32.51 $1,300 $5,635 $67,621
Springfield, MA $32.29 $1,292 $5,597 $67,167

Traveling Welders Income by Industry

Welding does not restrict itself to building construction. It is applied in many different industries but with varying responsibilities. Generally speaking, you need a higher level of training and experience to work in more complex environments.

Some industries are popular among traveling welders for the high salaries they offer, such as the oil and gas industry. Here are some of the top-paying industries for traveling welders.

military support welder at work
Image Credit: wararara, Shutterstock

Military Welders

The US military has many bases spread across the world, and they need a lot of welding work. With plenty of heavy equipment, facilities, and weapons, they need a lot of building, maintenance, and repairs. The industry relies on both members of the military and traveling contractors.

While most welders in this industry are actual service members, there is always room for civilians. The job has plenty of risks, and for that, you can expect higher pay. The average salary is $$47,397 yearly or $22.79 per hour, according to ZipRecruiter.

Underwater Welders

Also known as commercial divers, underwater welding is one of the most dangerous jobs in this profession. From shipbuilding to oil and gas, this job is applicable in many areas. To do the job, you need to be trained since it can be potentially dangerous.

Underwater welding pays very well. The average yearly income is $53,990 per year or $25.96 per hour on average.

Construction Welders

Construction is one of the largest industries in the world. From fabricating frameworks for bridges to building the tallest structures, everything requires welding.

The beauty of traveling welders is that they can move where the jobs are. You are also not limited to commercial projects. You can pursue opportunities in residential projects depending on availability and your interests. Construction traveling welders average $38,997 per year or $19 per hour, according to ZipRecruiter.

structural welder at work
Image Credit: Chris Singshinsuk, Shutterstock

How You Can Become a Traveling Welder

To become a traveling welder, you need at least one year of work experience. You may also need a valid driver’s license. Additionally, you need to have an extensive knowledge of welding that covers many areas including heavy equipment.

Training and education are extremely crucial when pursuing a career in this field. While you do not need a college degree, you do need to have certifications. A great way to kick start your career in welding is to obtain your welding certification from a trade school.

Obtaining a welding certification will provide you with hands-on skills to use in different welding situations. The duration of schooling for this certification varies from 2-3 years. You can also find welding courses online or at a community college.

Although welding is not a skill that requires years of dedicated training to master, it does require a certain degree of skill. To fulfill your duties, you need to have the ability to resolve problems and a love for manual work. If you want to work for the military, you will have to meet special requirements or complete extensive training.

Final Thoughts

The welding profession offers many opportunities, traveling as you work being one of them. However, before you choose a career path, ensure you are aware of the requirements. Depending on whatever you choose, there is always the potential to increase your income.

Cameron Dekker

Cameron grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a once-proud steel town on the Lehigh River, where he got a taste of TIG welding in his high school shop class. He holds certificates for Certified WeldingEducator (CWE) and Certified Resistance Welding Technician (CRWT) from the American Welding Institute. His interests include scuba diving, sculpture, and kayaking.