Welders work in a variety of environments. In 2010, more than 60 percent of welders worked in manufacturing industries, while 11 percent worked in construction. In this post, we’ll break down these categories to look at the industries that employ the most welders, those that pay the best, and some additional welding-related career opportunities.
Industries That Employ the Most Welders
The architectural and structural metals manufacturing industry is the top employer for welders, with nearly 40,000 jobs available. Manufacturers in this industry make metal parts for building construction. Top companies in the United States include Alcoa and U.S. Steel.
Coming in second with nearly 22,000 welding employees is the agriculture, construction, and mining machinery manufacturing industry. Companies in this industry, like General Electric, make the machinery used in the different fields.
Finally, third place goes to the motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing industry, which employs about 16,000 welders nationwide. These manufacturers, which include auto manufacturers like Ford and GM, make cars, trucks, and trailers and their associated parts.
Top-Paying Industries for Welders
Welders looking for the highest paycheck should explore job opening in the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industry, which includes the power companies responsible for bringing electricity into our cities and our homes. This industry currently employs only about 1300 welders, but they bring home an average salary of $63,000. The next two spots, which employ even fewer welders, go to the scheduled air transportation industry and the natural gas distribution industry, where welders earn an average of $59,000.
Other Welding Jobs
After gaining some experience and additional qualifications, graduates of welding schools can also work in different capacities. Here are the main types of other welding-related careers.
- Welding supervisors oversee projects to improve quality, cost, productivity, and safety.
- Welding inspectors are responsible for quality assurance and quality control of welding projects.
- Welding educators are certified to train welders both in and out of the classroom.
- Radiographic interpreters are specially trained to read and interpret radiographic images of welded assemblies.
- Sales representatives help clients find new solutions to meet their welding needs.
- Welding engineers design weldments (assemblies of welded parts) and oversee their implementation.
All of these positions require special certifications and some require additional education. For example, welding engineers usually have at least a bachelor’s degree in welding engineering technology. But even if you are just starting out as a welder, it is beneficial to know what kinds of career advancement opportunities may be available down the line.
As you can see, welding is a diverse career, and as a welder you will have the opportunity to work in a variety of industries and job positions. Getting the proper education is the first step toward a rewarding future.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers. Occupational Outlook Handbook.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers. Occupational Employment Statistics.
American Welding Society. Certification programs.