What is the Highest Paid Welding Job?

Are you wondering what is the highest-paid welding job?

Answer: Underwater welding of course!

While there are many ways to make a living, none are as fun as commercial diving.

Commercial divers can find themselves working literally anywhere. 

From helping to build oil rigs to unblocking our city sewers, commercial divers do the jobs no one else can. 

It is for this reason that they earn the big bucks. 

There are lots of different types of jobs that commercial divers can end up doing, and all pay differently

Underwater welding is a great way to make lots of money. 

But how much exactly do underwater welders earn anyway?

Let’s take a look. 

Highest Paying Welding Jobs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released figures that show underwater welders earn an average of $54,750 per year or $26.32 per hour. 

As with any job, however, the money welders earn depends on a number of factors:


The industry typically considers commercial divers who have 3 years or less of experience as newbies. 

Given how much there is to learn, divers will spend a few years refining the skills that they learned in their commercial diving training. 

During this time, divers are trying to get as much experience as possible. 

By the 3rd year, a commercial diver should have most skills down to an almost instinct level. 

For underwater welding, this means everything from prepping the kit to welding in near-zero visibility should be second nature to them. 

The first thing that all commercial dive employers will look at is experience. 

Once a diver hits 3+ years working as an underwater welder, they are far more attractive to employers, something that their paychecks show.

The bottom earners make $30,700, something which reflects the fact that they are on the job training.

Meanwhile, the highest-paid underwater welders earn $93,910 per year. 

The difference between these two numbers shows you just how important experience really is. 


While there are no official figures, it is estimated that roughly 90% of commercial divers in the United States work in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Given this, it is unsurprising that the highest paying welding jobs in the USA are to be found in the Gulf too. 

Location is another big factor that affects how much commercial divers earn. 

Here is a breakdown on the average salary earned by commercial divers by U.S state in 2020:

South Carolina $31,690

Ohio $35,820

Missouri $33,060

North Carolina $37,590

Tennessee $40,840

Florida $38,700

Louisiana $41,690

Texas $45,380

Virginia $44,840

Michigan $53,970

Alabama $59,750

Maryland $46,570

Indiana $56,820

New York $49,900

California $57,020

Connecticut $58,540

New Hampshire $57,910

New Jersey $74,430

Washington $56,640

Alaska $78,480

(Figures from Careerexplorer.com)

When you take the difference between South Carolina and Alaska, where the amount is roughly 2.5 times greater, it becomes clear just how much location affects income. 

Location affects working hours, conditions, and cost of living, all of which a diver’s paycheck must account for. 

In Alaska, there is only a 6-month working season due to the freezing conditions in winter and lack of light. In this time divers will have to find other work in a different location, something which is more challenging. 

Likewise, divers working offshore will get higher pay than onshore divers as they have to give up their normal lives while living out on a ship or platform. 

Commercial divers working for companies based in other countries will also see a difference in their pay. Sri Lankan commercial divers earn far less than their U.S counterparts, for example. 


While not as much of a factor as the others on this list, employers in certain industries do pay better than others. 

Also, some employers will pay reliable workers that they trust that little bit more too. 

Start with a reliable job board if you are looking for a new diving job with a good employer. 

Dive Depth

If you are looking for the highest paid welding job, then you will need to go deeper to find them.

Of the 3,420 commercial divers working in the U.S today, just 336 were saturation divers.  

Saturation divers are the ‘Top Guns’ of the diving industry, and for good reason. 

These divers spend long periods of time working at depths of up to several hundred meters. Because the body tissues become saturated with gasses at these depths, sat divers must keep their bodies pressurized for the entire duration of the job. 

Since desaturation can take days, sometimes weeks, they must work, eat, and sleep under pressure. 

The work can be very dangerous, which is why these guys make so much money. 

Rookie saturation welders make $40,000 and up PER MONTH while the experienced ones make in excess of $100,000. 

Thanks to what is known as “depth pay”, which is a pay bonus of an additional $1 to $4 per foot, sat divers are the highest-paid welders on the planet. 

So, drum roll, please.

What is the highest-paid welding job on the planet?

Deep ocean underwater welding. 

How much does it pay?

Given that saturation divers are only allowed to work a limited number of days before being required to take a break, they are unable to work what most people would think of as a normal working life. 

Even though they get more days off than the rest of us, an experienced saturation diver can earn in excess of $500,000 per year. 

This means that these elite deep sea welders earn more than most big company CEOs. 

Not bad when you consider that venturing to places few have ever been before is just another day at the office.