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MilSpec1
03-24-2007, 03:57 PM
Here's a question; generally who are the highest paid welders in the industry? I know there are lot of ways to answer that question but just wondering if you guys who in the industry have an idea. For example; would it be small welding shop owners making the most compared to TIG, MIG or SMAW welders working in auto, oil or pipeline industry. Maybe building construction welders, etc.

Who usually pulls in the most dough for making an arc and putting stuff together?

flatliner
03-24-2007, 04:24 PM
I can only speak for a particular sector, that being a UAW Journeyman Tool and Die welder in the BIG 3. They make $30/hour plus. It may very substantially by the local to which they are affiliated. Some locals are strong, some are not. And the industry they serve is also a factor. I only know this because I was a Tool & Die Maker in the UAW til I took a buyout and I've never looked back! Hope that info helps... Later

DirtyLittleSecret
03-24-2007, 05:35 PM
Did some union policy work a few years back, and if I remember it was the pipefitters who made more $ (think boilers, clean room environments, refineries, medical).
I'll see if I cant dig that material up...

MilSpec1
03-24-2007, 05:59 PM
Thanks, I am mostly curious as I am hooked on most aspects of welding, especially Tig. But I am still on active duty in the USAF for a couple of more years and want to weld when I get out. I will be living in Texas since that is where I am from but just want to know who you all think are the highest paid welders in the industry as a whole.

Thanks, Dean

chopper5
03-24-2007, 07:00 PM
i thought the off shore welders and the nuke power plant welders got the most $perhour

yorkiepap
03-24-2007, 07:50 PM
Hey MilSpec1,
According to some manufacturing data I recently compiled, underwater welders have the highest pay rate per hour. Overall, presently, the entire manufacturing industry, structural, pipeline/rig, aerospace, and industrial are having problems getting younger people interested in a welding career. There is much blame being instituted towards our educational system because of a lack of the industrial leaders to promote the trades in general. According to their outlook, there will be a need for 250,000-300,000 welders in the next 10 years. The future can be bright for a youngster who does some serious consideration getting into the welding arena. Food for thought....Denny

backuproller
03-24-2007, 08:15 PM
milspec, don't get caught up in how much the different welders make. find a kind you like doing. some guys like tig, some stick and some of us love mig. i was a pipefitter and pipe welder for a few years, i got tired of welding in circles. the money was great, but i grew tired of it.
now i work for a construction company, doing anything from reskinning d-8 blades to welding on our crusher. i never know what the morning will bring. plus i got a company truck and the shop is only 8 minutes from the house. i make up some of the money i lost by coming off the road with welding projects in the back yard. then i can use whatever process i feel is needed for the job.

DirtyLittleSecret
03-24-2007, 08:36 PM
i thought the off shore welders and the nuke power plant welders got the most $perhour

Them's the pipefitters Im talkin' about mate!
Alot of good considerations to digest. If it werent for all the time at the university I'd be all over it for a career.

driftstar
03-24-2007, 08:40 PM
/\/\/\ Lol, I dunno about you guys.... but welding in a Nuclear Powerplant, just doesn't seem fitting. Maybe I'm just a wuss, lol. What about underwater welding? I've heard you can make a lot of money doing it, but can't do it very long?

MilSpec1
03-24-2007, 08:43 PM
I forgot about the commercial divers and underwater welding which I would love to do.

MilSpec1
03-24-2007, 08:44 PM
but 41 is a little young to begin commercial diver training

lotechman
03-24-2007, 08:45 PM
In my experience the "unknown" factor is overtime. I have taken jobs that paid considerably less than the going union rate however the employer expected to be paying the whole crew overtime for at least half a day Saturday and in some cases seven days a week.
One employer I worked for figured it was easier to pay overtime than trying to squeeze in extra people or starting a graveyard shift. We were doing structural on a seventeen story building over a period of six months.
When this goes on for half a year it really adds up. The tax man takes a big bite, your family suffers but you can afford some mighty nice toys.
I took a union job for 25.40 an hour then found out I only worked 7.5 hours and the 25.40 didn't kick in on the contract for another four months. I was choked to realize I had given myself a cut in pay. It was a good lesson for me to learn.

DirtyLittleSecret
03-24-2007, 08:49 PM
I dunno. My best climbing partner is a 3rd generation 30yr + union pipefitter (doesnt hardly weld anymore cause he does more drafting/design work). He's worked for NASA, refineries (land & platforms), Intel clean rooms, boilers, nuclear, etc. One profession with many opportunities.

depjim
03-25-2007, 02:47 AM
Hey, Milspec1

Glad to here that another Texan is in the LV area. I'm working south of LV at the Solar One Project (Solar Energy Plant). What part of Texas are you from?
I'll give you a little info for you to consider about your question. There are many varibles that effect the pay scale of any Welding Operator; here are a few.
1. Most likely the biggest pay elevator is location. In the strong Union areas a person has a chance to make much more than in "right to work states". I say that as and honest observation (I'm not a union hand). Our home state of Texas is one of the worst states for pay of any kind. Thaat's why I'm working out of state. Also, if it is in a remote area hourly rates and per diem goes up.
2. Demand, would be my second choice. I'ts like anything else if the is an over abundance of anything the price (wages) will drop or remain the same even when inflation is shrinking your pay checks worth.
3. Type of project and this is some what seasonal. When the public has out grown the energy industrys ability to produce enough vehicle fuel, electricity, chemicals etc there will be a building boom you might say and wages for heavy construction workers will go up. The auto industry and non-moving work places tend to give you a more stable income over time, but there are those people overseas who have locked down a large portion of that type of manufacturing.
4. Overseas: Iran and Afganistian are the big payers at this point. I was offered over 160K per year to go and train some of the Iraqis. I also was offered a rate of pay to work as a welder for less than I can make here in the USA. Got to be patient sometimes and not jump at shinny trinkets that some of the companies dangle in from of you. An OD green tent in the desert is what alot of guys have found for their living quarters over in Iraq etc.
5. Another very important aspect is the cost of living where ever you will be staying and the cost of travel to that local. Travelling 600 miles to work for five bucks more an hour may not be worth the effort after figuring in travel cost, cost of living in the new area and keeping up your permant home, also, how much it will cost you to get out of there if the job runs out.

Milspec1 are you still in the Las Vegas area?
Jim

JTMcC
03-25-2007, 11:31 AM
Right now, working 6/10's (the typical week), a pipeline welder will gross $4000 per week not including the benefit package. Only around $2900 of that is taxable income.

The breakdown is $41/hr on the man, $15/hr on the rig, 41.50/day per diem, plus a benefit package (insurance, pension) of $16.70.

Quite a bit of work in Texas and the surrounding area over the next few years

JTMcC.

tresi
03-25-2007, 03:21 PM
Another big thing to consider is whether or not you want to be able to go home most every night or not. Many of those high paying jobs you'll have to plan on spending 5 night a week in a cheap motel or working 12/7 until the job is done. Then you might not work for weeks. Many people end up prefering to find a small to mid size shops and give up a few $$ per hour for a more relaxed, less back stabbing atmosphere where they go home to there families every night and have steady work.

spuddown
03-25-2007, 04:36 PM
Many people end up prefering to find a small to mid size shops and give up a few $$ per hour for a more relaxed, less back stabbing atmosphere where they go home to there families every night and have steady work.

Some of the worst backstabbing I've ever saw has been in these smaller shops. Also I'm not willing to work for less than I'm worth because I work steady. Its been suggested more than once. My answer is always the same. B.S. pay me what I'm worth, the second I'm not needed lay me off. Funny thing though, the lay off never seems to come.

Woodshed
03-25-2007, 05:43 PM
I have a cousin that does computer welding on the installalion of chip making equipment. Hes is receiving $40.00 per hour, time and a half over forty hours and double time on weekend and they are working 12 hours per day 7 days a week and received $2000.00 per month per diem. End up making little over $5000 per week and works at this rate several week at a time. Money good but he has no life while working. Usually takes off 3 to 6 months between jobs. Also they have to do 99% error free work if they want to keep his job.

JTMcC
03-25-2007, 06:03 PM
Another big thing to consider is whether or not you want to be able to go home most every night or not. Many of those high paying jobs you'll have to plan on spending 5 night a week in a cheap motel or working 12/7 until the job is done. Then you might not work for weeks. Many people end up prefering to find a small to mid size shops and give up a few $$ per hour for a more relaxed, less back stabbing atmosphere where they go home to there families every night and have steady work.


I went back and re read the original post, yup, it's about the "highest paying" welding jobs. Not about working cheap because there is a comfy security blanket, not about pulling a mickey mouse gun trigger every day for the rest of your life, not about driving to the same place every day for 35 years working like a drone for the man, but about the highest paying welding jobs.
Two seperate and distinct topics.
People who don't need the 9 to 5 lifestyle often end up in places like construction or the military.
Some people crave sameness and security. Some people like to go to new places and see different things. And some people want to do so while making the maximum amount of money per hour.
This is America so you get to make your choice.
My plan has always been to make the highest wages possible for the skills I've worked hard to develope.
My wife works as a full time stay at home Mom, my kids have never been to daycare, our decision, and that means that I have to bring home a pretty substantial amout of money plus provide health insurance and other benefits.
As an aside, I spend more time with my family than anyone I know, I work in short spurts of overtime (and my family often travels with me), with breaks in between. When a man can make a comfortable living working half of the year, he gets to spend a lot of time with his family.
I don't know why in the world a man taking home $3200 + per week would stay in what you describe as a "cheap" motel either, there are reasonably priced (very nice) extended stay apartment type accomodations all across the country, and of course a lot of people travel in very nice RV's and stay in very nice RV parks. My kids get to go on vacation several times a year and they enjoy it as much as I do.
And yes, I might not work for weeks, that's one of the most attractive aspects to the work. But I can afford to because I've made the maximum amount currently possible for the weeks I do work.
Thank goodness there are people willing to drive to the same place, and do the same thing, day after day, for low wages, because to me that is like a prison sentence.
It takes all kinds, don't knock my life because I (and my family) love it.

Pipeline welding certainly isn't for everyone, and extreemly harsh inspection in a very fast paced work enviroment mean a lot of people can't make it but there is the opportunity to make top dollar in many of the building trades such as in the Ironworkers, Millwrights, Pile Drivers, Pipefitters, even the Tinners, Carpenters and Electricians have some welders. All of those trades will pay very well (in the Union Sector, plus offer a pension and health insurance) and every one of them are facing a major shortage of qualified welders in the immediate future. Some of those trades work primarily inside for those that don't want to work in the great outdoors.

For a man wanting to weld, and willing to work hard, these are times of great opportunity.

A whole nuther thread could be started on working for less, in a "secure" shop enviroment. But the human element (including the fact that some people will be back stabbers, some will be thieves, some will lie and cheat, a lot will be really nice, and a few will be exceptional) isn't magically suspended when you take a low paying shop job. That's just a fact of this life.

JTMcC, working on the road and loving it.

steve28
03-25-2007, 06:15 PM
here in Sudbury the welders in the mine make around 27.50 plus there nickel bonus which puts them over $30/hour

I wish....lol

zapster
03-25-2007, 06:40 PM
If your really good at what your specialty is..?

You still don't make enough..:realmad:
Thats where the "fringe benefits" come into play...:laugh:

...zap!

WHughes
03-25-2007, 07:05 PM
JTMcC is right. There will be a shortage of qualified union welders soon. The average age of a UA pipefitter/weldor is 57 years old. The jobs are about to get very competitive with one another. The ones that don't have huge scale, per diems, and buku OT won't get the workers. The ones that offer 20% over scale, 2000 a week per diem and 6-10's or 12's (or 7-12's) will get them. I would work 20-30 weeks a year and take the rest off.

Bill

depjim
03-25-2007, 08:36 PM
Whughes

The shortage of quailified welder has been an on going problem at our project since I got here back in 12/04/06. We get maybe ten people a week that will be testable by their work history and maybe two or three will pass. At the same time there are about that many or more leaving for greener$
pastures. I know of several companies that are now paying travel expenses just for you to come to their project an test.
I'm sticking this one out because my son lives about 30 miles from the project and we have been having a great time during my time off.

Jim
P.S. JTMcC, good article you wrote above, could'nt agree with you more.

MilSpec1
03-25-2007, 09:12 PM
Hey depjim if you are ever in the sin city area give me a PM! I miss Tx and we are moving back in Aug for my final assignment!

All good on the pay philosophy. I ask because I am due to retire in 2 years and have really begun to enjoy welding. I have a Hobart Tigmate (new) and although I know it is a starter rig it serves me well in the garage where I am trying to teach myself.

I will be moving back to Tejas this August to Ft Hood in Killeen to work as an ALO (air laison officer) with the USA. I will help them guide bombs on targets in CAS (close air support situations). But I plan on taking some classes at Austin CC or a closer one if available. Do the welding schools/classes help or is it pure welding skills when it comes to pay?

I agree, you have to support yourself and your family but still enjoy your job. Balancing the two is the challenge nowadays. I've been lucky and enjoyed 18 years of flying jets now its time to move on.

rusty ripple
03-25-2007, 09:29 PM
/\/\/\ Lol, I dunno about you guys.... but welding in a Nuclear Powerplant, just doesn't seem fitting. Maybe I'm just a wuss, lol. What about underwater welding? I've heard you can make a lot of money doing it, but can't do it very long?
there are only two companies in the gulf that i know of that do alot of welding, Global Industries and Phoenix.
i have been a commercial diver for four years, since dive school i have wet welded one time. that's more than most people in the field.
there is no limit to how long you can stay in diving, my boss is in his fifties and you have to tie him down to keep him out of the water. now deep gas work is a different story, that definitely takes a toll on the body. but that is not why most people leave the field. the worst part and ultimately why divers don't stay in the field is the toll it takes on relationships. there is no schedule with diving, you work when you're told to,weekends, holidays, after a while it just wears you down.

tresi
03-25-2007, 10:40 PM
JTMcC, Didn't mean to knock your lifestyle. When I was younger and single I spent quite a bit of time chasing government contract work and I don't regret doing it. I even had quite a bit of fun doing it. It's just not my thing anymore and one should consider if it fits them before taking such a job. Maybe that has something to do with the growing demand for people who will live on the road.
It can be a great career. Good pay and benefits. A great way to get experience and looks good on a resume when it's time to make a change.

bugdust
03-25-2007, 10:54 PM
From my limited (14 yr) experience, the wages of a welder can run to both ends of the scale. It really is a hard question to answer. There are so many variables. It also depends on what you consider a welder to be. Everybody and their brother can weld, but very few can do it well. One of my sisters was married to a clown for a while that thought he was the cat's meow because he was a welder. He really thought I would be his best friend or something because we were both welders. In reality, he worked in a muffler shop buzzing exhaust pipes together. Now, I'm not some great welder, not by any means. At this point, I usually only do MIG welding. I am one of those drones mentioned earlier that goes to a shop every day. Here, in Florida, most shops are non-union and the pay scale reflects that. Plus, like I said, I'm in a manufacturing facility every day so I will never make as much as the guys that travel. I'm OK with that. Like mentioned above, it suits some guys and I'm one of them. I like to get off at 3:30 every day. Where I work, the pay scale currently tops out at $19.35/hr for a welder/fitter. There are guys that have been there almost 30 years and don't make top pay. There are some, myself included, that have been there less time (9 yrs. for me) and make real close to top pay.

But, there are many other benefits. We have a pretty good benefits package that I won't go into except to say that whenever we go to the doctor's office, they always comment on how good it our insurance is. But, the company also provides all out personal protective equipment (gloves, leather's, all tools, Jackson EQC 3n1 hoods, RedWing boots, everything to do the job) and we get a company discount through Ford, GM, etc along with discounts on most cell phone plans, Dell computers and a bunch of other stuff as well. I have 3 phones through Nextel. We got 35% off the price of the phones, 30% off accessories and I get 18% off my bill every month. That's just one example of the discounts.

So, asking about top pay is easy to answer if the hourly rate is all that concerns you. But, with that pay is usually more travel, more risk, more expertise needed, etc. Figure out at what level you want to weld and then compare the Total Rewards package (pay, ins., 401k, pension, other benefits, etc) to see what fits your lifestyle best.

JTMcC
03-25-2007, 11:06 PM
For example; would it be small welding shop owners making the most compared to TIG, MIG or SMAW welders working in auto, oil or pipeline industry. Maybe building construction welders, etc.

Who usually pulls in the most dough for making an arc and putting stuff together?



The potential for income is much higher for the business owner, but the risk is also much greater.
Volumn's could be written on the pro's and con's of owning your own business, but there is a lot of potential for income, even in the general run of the mill type work where the employees aren't making a lot of money, the owner, if successfull, is.
To make top dollar as an employee, the welder has to reach into the upper ends of the trade. But the business owner doesn't necessarily have to do that. A good example is the landscape company owner who's worth a couple of million, but his employees are lucky to be able to pay the rent. I know guys that own run of the mill welding outfits where they pay low to mid range wages to the hands, but they are making major income as the owner.
I also know small (one to two man mobile operations, no shop overhead just a truck/tools) business owners grossing well over $300,000 per year (personal net earnings well over $100,000) doing work that doesn't require a great amount of welding skill. But they are fairly solid business men, they're prompt, reliable, and their customers won't call anyone else.
The risk is great compared to guys that punch the clock tho. There are many failures for every success. But this is America, everybody gets their shot.
And I see a lot of people with very limited welding experience trying to start a welding business and they drop like flies. There are just too many things that only come with experience.

So my answer boils down to this:

1. ) Working as an employee you need some serious skills, usually in pressure piping, to draw top dollar (exceptions being in the Union building trades where a skilled, code quality plate welder can make a very good living) and a fair level of risk is involved(drive a thousand or two thousand miles to take a welding test with no guarantees, have a couple of repairs and you're gone, ect.).

2. ) As a small business owner you better have somewhat solid welding skills, some good people skills, some business savvy, some money management skills and a pretty good line of credit. Plus be able to tolerate a much larger amount of risk and inconsistent/uncertain/uneven level of income over the course of a year.

Just my take, I started my welding business in 1992 (nobody thought I'd make it either:) ) and I continue to happily feed the kids and pay the bills. I love my work and it loves me:rolleyes:


JTMcC.
www.firstratefabricators.com

JTMcC
03-25-2007, 11:13 PM
JTMcC, Didn't mean to knock your lifestyle. When I was younger and single I spent quite a bit of time chasing government contract work and I don't regret doing it. I even had quite a bit of fun doing it. It's just not my thing anymore and one should consider if it fits them before taking such a job. Maybe that has something to do with the growing demand for people who will live on the road.
It can be a great career. Good pay and benefits. A great way to get experience and looks good on a resume when it's time to make a change.


Gottcha.

I hear a somewhat steady stream of derogotory comments about my trade by people who know nothing about my work, so I get tired of explaining that, yes, I love my children too and I spend so more time with them and my lovely bride than anyone I know.

JTMcC.

MilSpec1
03-26-2007, 01:41 AM
Rusty,
is the Ocean corp. diving school in Houston pretty good or are they all about the same? Do ex Navy diver types have the advantage when they get out? Finally, can a guy start at 43 yrs old and 'break out' if he is in good shape, reasonably smart and hard work ethic?

Dean

Queticon
03-26-2007, 09:17 AM
How are these jobs out of your area found with the high pay that many of you mention? Is there a list somewhere or a placement company for jobs that are non-union or are these jobs union?

Dan

rusty ripple
03-26-2007, 11:36 AM
ocean corp is alright, but if you're going to dive school you'd be a fool to go anywhere other than young memorial in morgan city. ocean corp tuition is around 15,000$ these days, which is roughly the same as DIT in in seattle and divers academy in new jersey, young memorial is around 2,000$ out of state. its a state funded school.
ex navy divers typically don't impress anyone. i have worked with a few top notch divers who were ex navy divers, but typically navy divers don't have much diving experience, but think they do. from what i gather diving in the navy is more a secondary skill, lots of navy divers only dive once or twice a year after dive school. if you are an ex davy diver then you wouldn't need to go to dive school again, but be prepared to spend a year or two as a tender.
43 years old, its possible, i don't know how good a shape your in, but to break out takes 2-3 years. and then at 43 to have a 20 year old boss might be grating on the nerves. i would say its probably too late to start, but then again it largely depends on the person.
if you want more info check out www.offshorediver.com, you'll get your questions answered with a lot of flack as well, but that is pretty indicative of th types of people you meet in diving.

MilSpec1
03-26-2007, 11:43 PM
Rusty, thanks, thats what I figured since it is such a physical job and one that after schooling takes years to master as well. Just checking, asking someone who has been there.

spuddown
03-29-2007, 12:45 AM
Dug up what we pay our welders and divers, Union Diver $68.13 on your check. Non Union Diver $82.38 on your check. Doesn't matter if your welding or doing something else. Regular welders are, Union $31.39 on your check. Non Union $45.64 on your check. If its out of town you recieve $75.00 per day perdiem. Company furnishes all leathers and consumables. You furnish your hood. However, if your hood gets damaged or goes swimming they will replace it. Hoods can't swim, trust me.

eric5312
03-29-2007, 01:42 AM
So I see a lot of welders.....but very few can teach and lead....and actually weld

GTAW, GMAW, FCAW, orbital, stainless, titanium, pipe 6G...

tired of traveling? sometimes the shop work is pretty easy... and you still make a steady living

MilSpec1
03-29-2007, 01:51 PM
How much impact does education have? In the welding field obviously? Are there management jobs that welders can move into at large companies, plants that pay more but still require welding knowledge and skills?

bugdust
03-29-2007, 10:16 PM
At our facility, welders have moved into Q.A., supervisors, CAD drafters (myself about to hopefully, I have the degree) and weld trainers/leadmen.

WHughes
03-29-2007, 10:41 PM
What kind of background (besides welding knowledge) does a welder need to make a move like that, bugdust?

Bill

eric5312
03-29-2007, 11:46 PM
Background???

So I am mgmt and I am looking for this person

1. good attitude
2. patience
3. good teacher
4. great process knowledge - GMAW, FCAW, SAW, GTAW, Orbital, Pulse, STT
5. great attendance
6. good welding skill, great in at least GTAW,GMAW,FCAW 6G pipe
7. teaching aides are in place
8. multi-alloy skilled - alum, titanium, stainless, duplex, monel, inconel
9. vessels, pipe
10, fitter skills
11. layout skills

bugdust
04-01-2007, 11:31 PM
What kind of background (besides welding knowledge) does a welder need to make a move like that, bugdust?

Bill

Well, our Q.A. took some Inspection classes at the local community college. I don't know exactly what classes they were. He also had some company training in weld inspection.

One of our supervisors simply moved through the ranks; welder, leadman, supervisor. Another supervisor went to college for CAD, worked in the office for a few years from drafter into a Manufacturing Specialist position and just recently made shop supervisor.

Another supervisor came out of the machine shop.

I started as a bottom rung welder nine years ago (with this company), worked my way up to one of the top welders in the shop, went to ITT Tech and got an A.S. degree in Computer Drafting and Design, headed up a few committees (training, process improvement, etc), became the weld trainer for our facility (teach new hires safety, quality, procedures, etc. and work with older employees on new procedures & processes) and just submitted my resume for the newly opened Manufacturing Specialist position, which is a salaried management position.

Basically, you have to make yourself more valuable, learn more skills that the company (or another one) can use. BTW, I went to college for two years and the company paid for 100% tuition reimbursement.:cool2:

CrimsonShadow
05-06-2007, 07:18 AM
I new a guy who was an underwater welder and he said that he was making anywhere between $60-$80/hr welding up north

Supe
05-06-2007, 12:01 PM
How much impact does education have? In the welding field obviously? Are there management jobs that welders can move into at large companies, plants that pay more but still require welding knowledge and skills?

At Penn College, we have one of the top welding programs nationwide. You get your BS as a BWE major, but we do more hands on than just about any other school. MIG, TIG, Flux core, sub arc, stick, OFW, brazing, you name it, with a strong emphasis on advanced stick and TIG, particularly open root pipe. 4 hours a day of actual shop time, 9 out of 10 students leave with at least a D1.1 pipe cert.

MANY companies come here licking their chops, and even a number of Union reps have come by offering to knock off 2-3 years of Journeyman work, acknowledging the skills of many who leave here. Factor all this in with the NDT work that's learned, as well as programming orbital and multiple robotic systems, you can see why it's highly recruited.

Because the program is so applications-end oriented, many students that leave PCT are PERFECT for being the go to guy who acts as a liason of sorts between the paper pusher engineers, and the guys out on the floor. Familiar enough with the equipment to solve problems on the floor or in the field, to relay back to the engineer that something outright won't work, etc. John Deere, Harley Davidson, Yamaha, Lincoln Electric, etc, also heavily recruit graduates of the 4 year degree, offering substantial benefits and bonus packages for agreeing to join their junior engineering programs, etc.

With the age of the current welder getting so high as mentioned, and the lack of guys with the know how to actually weld filling that void between grunt work and paper pusher, you can see how the educational background can translate into some big $$$ in a very short time.

wirehunt
05-06-2007, 08:48 PM
How are these jobs out of your area found with the high pay that many of you mention? Is there a list somewhere or a placement company for jobs that are non-union or are these jobs union?

Dan


Over here the main tool is the phone = DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!!!


For money over here and Australia it's pipe welding. All that matters is that you get through the pipe test before the job cranks. If your known to a company sometimes they will just do a production butt as your welder qual.

I remember seeing on this site before someone saying that in the US cross country pipe welders where getting $110 per hour. I assume this was stoving?


It's a great lifestyle for a certian amount of time, but at times you feel like throwing it in when your away from home so much. Ever time I think about getting out of welding the rate goes up and here I am, still at it!
When I do get away from the pipe welding it will be to get right out of the trade because I hate working in shops, but the bloody money keeps getting better :rolleyes:

Hammack_Welding
05-06-2007, 09:20 PM
One thing that I have found talking to different welders around the country is it depends more on location than what kind of welding you are doing. I agree with an above post. Find a type of welding that you enjoy and go to it.

WelderBoy
05-18-2007, 09:54 PM
Here in Washington a union diver/welder gets $72/h and about $15/h in benefits. As the diver goes deeper the rate of pay goes up SIGNIFICANTLY. Under like 250feet the diver sets the rate of pay. I think this wins. A union welder out of the carpenter's union hall gets $30.40/h and can be called upon to weld anything from GTAW light guage to structural SMAW and similar for ironworkers and pipefitters. I ditched the union and am working at a shipyard. Rate of pay is low-mid 20's/h. But I work year round.

bugdust
05-19-2007, 05:37 PM
I'm out of the weld shop now (got the position mentioned in previous post). In our shop, welders top out at $19.xx/hr. That's not bad for what we do and the area. This is just basic mig, metal-core wire on carbon steel. Nothing fancy although it is a fitter/welder job. I tell new guys we just build big model kits. All of out parts are pre-cut/machined,, bent or rolled..whatever. We work off a print. Most parts fit well enough, some occasionally do not and need a little tweaking, much like a plastic model kit you built as a kid. We even have procedure books that show the order of assembly for tacking and even for welding, again, much like a model kits instruction sheet. The company supplies everything including auto-darkening hoods. It is indoors (well, a tin building...fans in summer, heaters in winter), we work 40hrs/week, every week, OT is always optional, and it's a nice, clean environment. The has signs everywhere that read "Safety, Quality, Quanity...in that order" and that is the way it is.

You won't get rich working here but it's a decent living. Live within your means and save/invest in your future and your quality of life will be better. I know a few people that make much better money than myself but you would never know it looking at their quality of life.

ltlvt
06-08-2007, 09:46 PM
Flat liner i am asuming that u are an X-Delphi employee.. I also.. The truth is if the damn politicians don't do something to keep work in the USA our crafts are going to all die because there will be no real need for them here.. I have 28 loyal and faithfull years to my employeer and my job is being sent to China and Mexico.. We are even closing plants in Mexico cause they can't compete with the labor rate in China... My 3 cents Terry :realmad:

RockyTigJet
02-11-2008, 04:33 PM
:blob2:You will find that most welding jobs are simply grinding jobs in disguise:mad:

If you are in love with welding buy a tig welder for your garage. That way you will always love welding.

As for pay...it's all relative. Great pay usually means bad management or worse working conditions.:nono:

For the gravy if you must weld for a living stainless is king. There is a lot to learn and not just anyone can do it.:cool2: There is shrinkage, fit-up (one mistake can cost $1000's) and material certs as well as welding certs. Apperance is always a concern.

The future of welding however is robotic. You do NOT want to be an operator but instead a programmer or a tech if you like to travel or can get in where they have a dozen or more robots.

One other thing you might consider since you are already in the Air Force is turbine repair and reconditioning. Learn your metallurgy and shine like the sun!:waving:

30 years of welding in the midwest has taught me this.

Best of Luck no matter what you choose. If you weld you will need a high pain tolerance:cry:.

Chris welds
02-12-2008, 10:08 AM
The best paid welder is one who is professional, continually educates him/herself, works with integrity and knows when to tell someone that the job is beyond their current skill set. I started as a welder, went to school for Mech. engineering, been working as a welding engineer and recently got my CWI. I still strike arcs almost everyday too. I'm doing well enough that my wife isn't going to work for the next couple years. There really is no limit to what you can accomplish in this field, and the climate as mentioned by other posts is excellent for young people who want to exceed.
Good luck and thanks for your time in the AF!

paintman
02-12-2008, 11:44 AM
milspec1,
you should be able to go to tech school right there in killeen,or at least tstc in waco,i live near killeen an was stationed at ft hood,im no profecinal welder but im sure thinking about trying it,good luck

Jolly Roger
02-14-2008, 10:07 PM
I made the best money in construction, pipe or plate, both paid the same, some jobs lasted 2 months, the longest went 6. You have to move a round a lot. In the last 30 years the longest I have lived any one place is 3 years. Not all of that time was spent welding. I had finally gotten to where I wanted to be. Great pay, great benefits, opportunity to advance (was getting the college in as well when I could) unfortunately all of the paychecks said ENRON on them. I pipelined for awhile and grew to hate it. If I have to build two of something I am bored with it. I've worked with union guys who were just trying to pay the bills because there was no union work and hoping they wouldn't get caught at it. They were good welders. Now I am doing it for myself and get $65.00 an hour whether I am in my shop or out on my truck. Like these guys told you it all depends on where you are and what the demand is. Will the school help. Yes indeed. Teaching yourself you may never get to where you can pass G6 pipe. That's all rods in all positions to XX psi. All I have ever done were 70,000, but that is because that was the requirement. I never made great money in the oilfield. My dad on the other hand did quite well. He will also tell you he got lucky when most don't. Don't expect to go straight from the Air Force to a high paying job as a welder unless that was your MOS. Nobody starts at the top in this field simply because it is a highly skilled trade and takes years to learn. If you want to go into a construction trade where you can make good money think about fitting. If you made it into fighters you obviously have the math skills and much of the rest is common sense. Many places the welders are the fitters (I didn't know it was a trade related to welding until I went into construction). In the oilfield if you can't fit you will not do much welding. Forty three is a little old to be starting this as a career field, but it can be done. I was Army and draw a 60% disability (went to AIT at Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, and later trained AF guys on Army equipment they had to use). The GI Bill will pay for your schooling and many certifications as well and that list just keeps expanding. Some days are really rough. Depending on what you do there can be a lot of bending or kneeling as well as some hefty lifting (another reason I don't pipeline is I can't get up and down anymore, had them calling me all year last year wanting me to come do it again). There is just a whole lot more to it than being able to make a pretty bead and it is getting more technical every day with more and more alloys being used. I specialize in cast iron and joining dissimilar metals (and at one time that and aluminum were about 70% of my work), but mild steel pays the bills right now simply because of demand.

mccutter
02-14-2008, 10:57 PM
Food for thought: check this guy out: http://www.metalanimation.com/

tmarks11
02-15-2008, 07:01 AM
/// Lol, I dunno about you guys.... but welding in a Nuclear Powerplant, just doesn't seem fitting. Maybe I'm just a wuss, lol.
Nuclear grade welding doesn't pay alot because it is dangerous.

It pays alot because you have to be good. The material you are TIG welding is typically VERY expensive, so nobody can afford screw-ups. And every weld is checked with radiography to ensure no defects.

Brad Blazer
02-15-2008, 09:59 PM
MilSpec1 - Have fun with the ALO job. I was a ROMAD at Ft Bragg 83-87 Det 1, 507TAIRCW. We had lots of fun - no wars then. Made 114 jumps. Master parachutist, HALO.

Did you fly any CAS w/ the B1? Back then they said we would never see anything bigger than an F-16. Then in Afghanistan they were calling in B52s!

I'm sure with your background you can migrate from welding into project management if you want. What was your major? Is it technical?

Brad

Jolly Roger
02-16-2008, 05:01 PM
Brad is right, you might not even want to mess with welding except as a hobby unless you just can't stand management type work. And no, I never jumped out of any perfectly good airplanes, but since the tools of my trade weren't air drop capable there really wasn't much need.

Mandau
03-01-2008, 01:03 PM
Hey MilSpec1,
According to some manufacturing data I recently compiled, underwater welders have the highest pay rate per hour. Overall, presently, the entire manufacturing industry, structural, pipeline/rig, aerospace, and industrial are having problems getting younger people interested in a welding career. There is much blame being instituted towards our educational system because of a lack of the industrial leaders to promote the trades in general. According to their outlook, there will be a need for 250,000-300,000 welders in the next 10 years. The future can be bright for a youngster who does some serious consideration getting into the welding arena. Food for thought....Denny

I second to that... underwater welding would be consider the more expensive and risk taking... you need PADI cert. in S.E.Asia. Excluding welding and repair airplane and plane making... just normal common welder

psyco33
05-08-2008, 03:48 PM
rig welder one job was 55/65 another was 41/65 for me and my truck
got 55 an hour here in Tulsa once no per diem with that job 10 days of work.
5200 bucks
I've made 700 a week per diem so 2800 just for that. around 4000 a week pay.
I've also worked 28/75 plus hotels on one job in Coffeyville KS for 3 weeks. in winter
Borger TX 28/75 in winter
52/90 rig truck and me. 10 days
now, just got back from Fairbanks AK a small project. and home and waiting again.
psyco33

Jonesy70
05-08-2008, 06:39 PM
basically in my area you're worth is based on what you can do...if you can only weld in one process then you get one rate...if you can weld in more processes, you get more...shop jobs "usually" pay less then Field jobs..Usually!!! If you can only weld, you make one rate...if you can fit and weld you get more...pay can also be based on classification....I know guys that are pipefitters that weld just because they get payed more as a welder. I make $32 plus per hr and hold all but 2 certs that my company carries. The local Fitters Union's Top rate is $40 per hour but that is given to someone that has tenure. Boiler makers make a diffrent rate than fitters and so on.

So I would have to say that your rates are relivent to where you live and for the demand for what part of the trade they need

snoeproe
05-08-2008, 08:21 PM
in the unionized plant i work at (pulp and paper mill) Class A journeyman welders make around $35/hr on straight time. anything after 4:00 pm and on weekends is time and a half. anything after 16 consecutive hours is double time.

txweldertx
01-29-2009, 10:20 PM
Right now the industry is quite slow, oil field slowing down, which in return effects refineries. Some of the welding fields that have a constant pay is in the medical, food processing, all dealing with mostly fully austenitc 300 series, and martensitic stainless steels that pays quite good and fair job security. Being a student at Texas State Technical College, I keep up a great deal on job and careers in the welding area. They're saying by summer, things should pick back up, especially nuclear. That is a very high paying and job secure field to look into. Some pullin in 85 to 90k yearly if not more, depending on hours worked. Very tedious work i might add though. Pipelines pay very well also. I know many pipeline welders seeing 3500 to 4000 bi-weekly checks and inspectors doubling that. Theres money in welding, wether its GTAW(very good skill to have) or underwater basket weeving, ya just gotta find it!



Matthew

JTMcC
01-29-2009, 10:42 PM
[QUOTE= I know many pipeline welders seeing 3500 to 4000 bi-weekly checks and inspectors doubling that.

Matthew[/QUOTE]


Weders make considerably more than inspection in mainline construction.

Scale right now is $45/hr on the man, $15/hr on the rig and $102.50 per diem. Working the typical 6/10's that's a minimum of $4665/week plus the benefit package that runs around $18/hr. Premium slots can pay considerably more than that.

Inspection right now is running in the $3000 to $3500 range, for welding inspectors, less for other phases of inspection.

JTMcC.

Vinnytheginny
01-20-2010, 02:06 AM
Hey dudes, my names vinny although this has nothing to do with me. I was reading up on welders pay and im glad to see great things in here. I am a new welder in upstate NY and i "was" currently debating on sticking with my welding or joining the navy. A couple of friends have convinced me that the navy life they had was often enjoyable and experiencing. My only issue i argued against was the pay, they seem to be stupid and not look into everything in detail. I tried to explain to them how much they would really make but i guess their just too young to give a ****. I am only 18 and thanks to JTMcC im more confident on coming through with welding. I just wanted to say i registered to tell you guys thanks for the info, had alot of pull on my decision. Instead of 100k in four years or ****ty jobs with a ****ty economy not makin money im glad to hear 4665/week. Union Join the brother hood.

WHughes
01-20-2010, 09:43 AM
This thread started nearly 3 years ago. Seems to be an epidemic lately. Vinny, join the Navy. You can weld and learn to weld there. After, you can direct entry into most any union you want. UA.org is what you want (pipe welders/plumbers&fitters) Also you will qualify for a low interest VA loan which is worth its weight in gold. I know 4665 a week is good money but you wont make that unless you are a journeyman with weld certs. There are a lot of union brothers out of work right now, and getting into an apprenticeship is very hard right now. You dont mention where you are located but scale is not 45 an hour all over the country. In some states it is as low as 23 dollars with very little pension.

Lets say you ignored my advice and applied for apprenticeship in my hall in Washington which is 41.09 an hour, After passing a college entry test and whiz quiz (drug test) which will take a few months to schedule, you will be able to turn in your application packet to the training coordinator.Then a registered letter is sent out to give you an interview time.(there is no rescheduling) You would not interview for months because we interview twice a year. (more when the economy was better)
So....by this time it is late 2010 or early 2011 and you receive a letter indicating your place on the list for entry in to the union as an apprentice. You could be number 1 or you could be number 31. In the last year my local has taken only 10 or so people. Every quarter you may move down spots on that list depending on the qualifications of the other people that interviewed after you (i.e. guys with plumbing cards, or from a tech college etc). I moved around on that list for three years just as an example.
But.....let imagine you are number 1 on that list after you interview and you are accepted into the program. By this time it is about summer or fall of 2011, if there are apprentices out of work you will enter at the bottom of the list and wait for jobs to come up. Right now in my hall, that list is 80 apprentices and some will not work this year because of the economy.

So far we have assumed best case scenario but now we cannot because you will enter the bottom of a list. By the end of 2011 I expect the work outlook to look much better but there are no guarantees. So, best case scenario for a 18 year old guy with no experience in the field and no weld certs? You will go to work around spring of 2012 or later. Join the Navy learn to weld, get certs, see the world, get laid, have fun, come home join union through Helmet to hardhats program and buy big house on VA loan and make 5k a week if you can find that job. Realistically you will make around 2k a week and every once in a while a big money job will pop up.
Thanks for registering on this forum and good luck.
Not trying to discourage you, only correct your timing. You have the right idea but now I have given you a good road map to achieve that goal.
Oh, and I dont know where you are from, but join a local in a state with a good wage to cost of living ratio. Washington is a good one.

Metarinka
01-20-2010, 01:36 PM
it's not about the money, but what you want and like to do.

historically the people who got paid the best were independently contracted rig welders. working shutdowns and field work Although the work is far from stable and it's not for everyone. In general field work pays more than plat work. hard to sum it up by industries as it varies by location and company. I've worked at aerospace companies doing xray quality welds for 12/hr (really) but it was good experience and I was young.

a lot of people say underwater welding but it takes a long to train it's very rare, and dangerous. You won't find a lot of guys who've been doing the work for 10+ years cause it just takes a lot out of people.

Personally I became a welding engineer who welds on the side and trains welders. I make a good salary and I get away from the overtime game. works for me.

violatedppl
01-22-2010, 06:07 PM
my local,plumbers and pipe fitters local 467 the total package journeymen rate is around 72 an hour, that includes the BEST pension in the country as well as fantastic benefits, you take home 52.50 an hr. Work is slow right now but should be picking up soon, But I have heard that before.

WHughes
01-23-2010, 01:53 PM
High cost of living where you are at also. Our package is around 66 with 41 on the check. I gave the kid good information above. Getting in to any local without family, weld certs, tech school, or any plumbing card will be difficult.

violatedppl
01-23-2010, 07:45 PM
That is very true specially right now. We didnt take an apprentice class last year and it looks like it will be the same this year. And its hard to buy your way into this local specially as a welder, Ive been told it is basically impossible to do so.

WHughes
01-23-2010, 10:33 PM
Some locals sell cards, mine does not and it is not a respected practice. Most on the job frown on guys that bought their book. For me, it depends on their situation. A welder coming in with certs may be able to buy his book, but if he has no pipe experience and fitting knowledge I wont work with him. I did know a guy that came out of a 8 year stint with the Navy, took a fitter test, certified in welding, bought his book and did not serve an actual apprenticeship. He was a good fitter, possessed the required knowledge and was respected on the job site.
My local has taken in some apprentices because the UA requires it but it will be some time before we are able to put them to work. Its looking good here in SE Washington but I dont see a ton of travelers getting work in our jurisdiction until the Vitrification plant at Hanford really takes off. They are supposed to double their work force this year to about 250 fitters and welders but at some point they will need several thousand. For anyone that would like to see whats available on that site, you can go to
waste2glass.com
Very long term project.

eyeball engineer
01-24-2010, 12:25 AM
I hope work picks up, I'd be greatful to get into any appprenticship right now, I just got my D1.1 and D1.3, I'm going to work on flux core next for my D1.1, after that I'll try messin with some pipe, I have never welded pipe before, some say its easy and some say its hard, I'll find out I guess. I hope what I'm doing will help me get into any apprenticship. I applied at UA 250 about two months ago and haven't heard anything, I am hoping on that or SMWIA... SOON!

WHughes
01-24-2010, 07:27 PM
Good luck, if they accepted your application then they will send you a registered letter telling you when you will interview. It will be with about 6 to 8 people. If there is any question, call the training coordinator and ask when they will be interviewing. Like I said above, I rode the list for 3 years before I was accepted into the program. I had letters of recommendation from previous employers and 2 union members, one of which was a 40 year member. The younger member that gave me a letter was on the list for 2 years and he had family in the trade. Its tough but worth it. It will be hard considering our current economy, and the amount of military that will re-enter the workforce when we are finished with Iraq and Afghanistan. A lot of those people will be seeking union jobs. Get those weld certs.

brent t
01-26-2010, 01:06 PM
i thought the off shore welders and the nuke power plant welders got the most $perhour

only when there working in the water other wise they dont make much.

mijamestag
02-16-2010, 07:11 PM
yeah, im curious to know whats the highest paying, im 18 and working in a shipyard as a welding apprentice. i currently make12.55/hr with benifets and overtime vacation...the whole bundle pretty much and by the end of the four year apprenticship i will be a first class mechanic certified in all welding processes including mig,tig,stick,fluxcore and have an associates degree in i think maritime science and if i stick around for the exra two years of college they pay for then i'll have my bachelors and be getting payed about 22/hr but thats just an estimate. i dont want to see myself 40 years from now and still in the shipyard. i've been thinking possibly of trying to get into airplanes, underwater or working for nasa. i know im capable of whatever i just want to know which route i should probably take

regularfella
02-16-2010, 07:35 PM
only when there working in the water other wise they dont make much.

I worked as an apprentice for a company that does Nuke work all over the world. The welders made whatever the prevailing (Union) scale was in that region plus $135 a day per diem and there were a few other companies that paid more. This is the first time I've heard of a welder in a nuke making anything but good money.

Precision Welding
02-21-2010, 07:51 AM
I have found that usually the more expensive the welders needed for the job, the more experienced and trained the welder has to be. In turn the welder making more. The orbital tube welding field and wire feed automatic pipe welding operators that work in the field make a good living.

Pressure_Welder
02-21-2010, 09:33 AM
I work for a generating station as a high pressure maintainence welder, been all over the provience at various coal fired units, hydraulic (dam) stations etc. I have 4 different pressure tickets on varying alloys in maintaining these tickets i get the higher pay grade. Generally i gross about 3500 to 4000$ a checque, without overtime. During shutdowns and maintainece when its nose to the grindstone to get things done " as they lose money every hour the unit is offline " i could gross upto 10,000$ in one checque.

turnNburn
03-06-2010, 02:07 PM
my company used to do quite a bit of work for the nuke plants here in new england, and i found that their house pipers made more than us contractors did. the most money i ever made was working on the spectra underground lines installing pig launchers (something like 3500/wk gross). fitting's a lot cleaner though :)

LandinBenk
03-06-2010, 04:44 PM
Offshore makes average 394$ hour. if im not wrong I have done some research

justinT
03-06-2010, 04:49 PM
394.00 an hour? thats what like 22k a week I wish I could find that job

LandinBenk
03-06-2010, 05:03 PM
Its a project By project basis

Because its high in demand

They pay a lot (risks, time, and educ*)
Very hard to get to and Very lucrative

ibanezed4yrs
03-06-2010, 05:40 PM
lol.. screw all that.. money ain't everything.. it's alot, but not everything.. job security, home every night, working with friends that are like your family who'll bail ya' out when ya' need it.. and enjoying 40 hours a week.. 30 when i'm lucky.. lol.. that's all i need.. of course i gotta be able to live and pay for habits and hobbies..

TozziWelding
03-06-2010, 06:29 PM
It is priced according to what you do, I could go make 3 grand on a dozer blade that takes a ton of hours or 50 bucks fixing a lawnmower in 10 mins. What pays more. It all comes out in the wash. Sure I can bang a plumber $125 an hour for gas pipe, but it may be a 2 hr job. Like I said, it all evens out.

METALiculous
03-12-2010, 10:00 PM
The potential for income is much higher for the business owner, but the risk is also much greater.
Volumn's could be written on the pro's and con's of owning your own business, but there is a lot of potential for income, even in the general run of the mill type work where the employees aren't making a lot of money, the owner, if successfull, is.
To make top dollar as an employee, the welder has to reach into the upper ends of the trade. But the business owner doesn't necessarily have to do that. A good example is the landscape company owner who's worth a couple of million, but his employees are lucky to be able to pay the rent. I know guys that own run of the mill welding outfits where they pay low to mid range wages to the hands, but they are making major income as the owner.
I also know small (one to two man mobile operations, no shop overhead just a truck/tools) business owners grossing well over $300,000 per year (personal net earnings well over $100,000) doing work that doesn't require a great amount of welding skill. But they are fairly solid business men, they're prompt, reliable, and their customers won't call anyone else.
The risk is great compared to guys that punch the clock tho. There are many failures for every success. But this is America, everybody gets their shot.
And I see a lot of people with very limited welding experience trying to start a welding business and they drop like flies. There are just too many things that only come with experience.

So my answer boils down to this:

1. ) Working as an employee you need some serious skills, usually in pressure piping, to draw top dollar (exceptions being in the Union building trades where a skilled, code quality plate welder can make a very good living) and a fair level of risk is involved(drive a thousand or two thousand miles to take a welding test with no guarantees, have a couple of repairs and you're gone, ect.).

2. ) As a small business owner you better have somewhat solid welding skills, some good people skills, some business savvy, some money management skills and a pretty good line of credit. Plus be able to tolerate a much larger amount of risk and inconsistent/uncertain/uneven level of income over the course of a year.

Just my take, I started my welding business in 1992 (nobody thought I'd make it either:) ) and I continue to happily feed the kids and pay the bills. I love my work and it loves me:rolleyes:


JTMcC.
www.firstratefabricators.com

good advice JTMcC

WHughes
03-12-2010, 11:56 PM
JTMcC

I hope you pay your help a good living wage, because it seems you value talent and skill.

Tigmaster55
05-16-2010, 09:27 AM
i am looking for high paying aerospace T.I.G. jobs...................................tigmaster25 @sbcglobal.net

dormammu
11-24-2010, 09:15 AM
I have been interested in doing underwater welding now for sometime and am pretty sure it is the highest paying welding employment. A friend of mine knows someone who has been doing underwater welding right here in Canada and was getting paid 600$ an hour. Although it is very dangerious it is something I have an interest in because of the excitement and risk. Anyone know what kind of training I would need and how long It would take have to undergo- other than getting a welding certificate + diving liscence?

WHughes
11-25-2010, 04:06 AM
Do a search on this website.

DSW
11-25-2010, 05:52 AM
dormammu Take a look at this post, and there are a bunch more if you search using "underwater welding"

http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=37134

dormammu
11-26-2010, 02:09 AM
dormammu Take a look at this post, and there are a bunch more if you search using "underwater welding"

http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=37134

Thanks for the reply, I just have a few questions to ask you about underwater welding. When you described the process of it, is it all pretty much by touch and feel alone to know what you are doing? If its dark all the time how long would the average dive be? Also are most jobs on the exterior of where your working at or are you underwater internally inside a the foundation. And about diving school, would it be everyday training or only a few days a week? I'm going to check all this information out soon but at the moment it is late. Im interested in expanding my horizons and learning many different aspects of welding, but am curious if there are other fields of welding that are similar or will have some sort of relation to underwater/wet. Like is there another field that is specialized like pipeline welding that may be present at a underwater job or something like that. On another topic, how does one become a welding inspector, is it mainly many years of experience on the job or is there some sort of test to past?

I would also like to see more pictures of underwater/pipeline welding of jobs in action, if you guys have any.

DSW
11-26-2010, 04:32 AM
dormammu It all depends. Yes a lot is done mostly by feel in poor vis. If you have to weld underwater, then you just have to deal with the conditions you have. One of the reasons it's not used much as it can be very hard to get a satisfactory weld under those conditions.

"Dive" time can vary. In big money work, it's usually deep, and that often means they are doing saturation dives. You get locked in a chamber and then put under working pressure and then stay in there when not diving. It allows the divers to work longer since they don't decompress between dives. Sat times often can last a month since decompression from saturation depths can last days. Saturation isn't cheap, so they want as much time as possible from those in saturation.

Some work is outside, like hull work, dredge recovery, and so on. Other work can be "interior" like a hull patch we did on a sunken barge where one guy had to go inside to help fasten the patches. Pier inspections are "inside" as you usually are winding in and out between piles and walls, Pipe inspections are often interior, so are tank inspections. I was watching one show where the commercial diver was checking bridge cassions they had drilled for width down in Mississippi IIRC. Dangled upside down, he got lowered 300' down in the 3' drill hole that was floooded to check that the belled section at the bottom was wide enough. All done by feel, he had a folding ruller that he opened and swung around to see if it fit. Not for me and I cave dive for fun! It will all depend what the company does and specializes in that you work for.

Training varies from place to place, but in Camden I believe it's daily.

I'm not sure what you are asking in the last question on welding. I've done some welding topside for the dive operation. Since many of us weld, it didn't make sense to hire a seperate welder for just a bit of work. Mostly it was fab work for patches that were then installed with bolts underwater. In one case we welded up small patches "dry" when the water level dropped low enough in the barge we were working on as they pumped it out. We burned holes in the hull and then bolted on patches to close off the big holes first, and then started pumping. The weld areas were above water but leaking as the water level dropped, but we were still standing in water. After they floated the barge they beached it and had regular welders cut out and repair the damaged areas. Offshore or barge work, gear is often welded down so it doesn't shift. Also we would do some "confined space" welding dry, usually in enviroments that were not breathable like tank barges. The welder would hat up but only wear standard coveralls. Basically it was a continuously supplied air system with coms for the welder. The guy doing the welding that day was pressure certified IIRC. The job was less about diving and more about the fact we had a guy who could do the work, the equipment to let him work more effectively and already did regular work for the company doing other stuff. I'm sure they could have found a "normal" welder who had airpacks and such if we couldn't have done the job. All in all however we do very little welding however. 99+% of the work never involves welding of ant sort. The welding that is done is usually incedental to the overall job, and in many cases we just have the guys we are working for weld up what little we need if they have the tools and gear for topside work.

tigers27
10-05-2011, 09:49 PM
I have a cousin that does computer welding on the installalion of chip making equipment. Hes is receiving $40.00 per hour, time and a half over forty hours and double time on weekend and they are working 12 hours per day 7 days a week and received $2000.00 per month per diem. End up making little over $5000 per week and works at this rate several week at a time. Money good but he has no life while working. Usually takes off 3 to 6 months between jobs. Also they have to do 99% error free work if they want to keep his job.

Hey what company does he work for it sounds like we work for the same company I work for Intel please reply back

Bistineau
10-06-2011, 08:36 PM
What ever happened with Mil-Spec 1? He hasn't said anything on here in years, should be out of USAF by now.

Meltonb18
10-08-2011, 09:54 PM
Another big thing to consider is whether or not you want to be able to go home most every night or not. Many of those high paying jobs you'll have to plan on spending 5 night a week in a cheap motel or working 12/7 until the job is done. Then you might not work for weeks. Many people end up prefering to find a small to mid size shops and give up a few $$ per hour for a more relaxed, less back stabbing atmosphere where they go home to there families every night and have steady work.

*agrees*... the $ is there.. its up to you to go get it.... The machine shops (Local jobs) usually dont pay a whole heck of a lot,,, big $ on the road though.

kustomizingkid
10-09-2011, 12:38 AM
Talk to EXPAT... its out of country work but it pays from what he has said.

Brwesche
09-14-2013, 12:29 AM
Hey MilSpec1,
According to some manufacturing data I recently compiled, underwater welders have the highest pay rate per hour. Overall, presently, the entire manufacturing industry, structural, pipeline/rig, aerospace, and industrial are having problems getting younger people interested in a welding career. There is much blame being instituted towards our educational system because of a lack of the industrial leaders to promote the trades in general. According to their outlook, there will be a need for 250,000-300,000 welders in the next 10 years. The future can be bright for a youngster who does some serious consideration getting into the welding arena. Food for thought....Denny

I am 17 years old and I have. My own welding rig with a miller bobcat 225nt torches and every tool I would ever need. I have paid for every thing I have myself

rschreck
09-14-2013, 01:19 AM
I am 17 years old and I have. My own welding rig with a miller bobcat 225nt torches and every tool I would ever need. I have paid for every thing I have myself

Hopefully the guy who posted the response (6 YEARS ago) that you quoted is still following this thread....

Fletcher94
09-14-2013, 01:31 AM
I say do what you enjoy as long as its enough to put food on your table.

A extra couple grand is no good when your stressed and crabby all the time making your family miserable.

Biggerair
09-14-2013, 11:47 AM
The Rig rate in Alberta is about 100 to 150 an hour. It seems repairs pays a bit more than pipe but your going to work harder than pipe welding. Underwater welding is IMO the highest pay but the highest risk. That being said you can get hurt at any job. My last contract job was pretty dangerous and paid $50 an hour. All I needed was my mask and grinder so it was a good gig.

I heard a rumor from an retired welder I met the other day and he said......With the LPG plants going in in B.C. it would employ all the welders in Canada! I looked into it a bit and he might be right, Kitimat B.C. is where one is going to be built and if all the projects in Kitimat go through. They will total about a 10 Billion dollar investment. The rumor is 3 plants total.

mad welder 4
09-14-2013, 12:02 PM
I have always been told that under water welders make the most, 100 to 200 an hour, up to 300. But you usually travel a lot and you may not be employed full time year round.


Hey MilSpec1,
According to some manufacturing data I recently compiled, underwater welders have the highest pay rate per hour. Overall, presently, the entire manufacturing industry, structural, pipeline/rig, aerospace, and industrial are having problems getting younger people interested in a welding career. There is much blame being instituted towards our educational system because of a lack of the industrial leaders to promote the trades in general. According to their outlook, there will be a need for 250,000-300,000 welders in the next 10 years. The future can be bright for a youngster who does some serious consideration getting into the welding arena. Food for thought....Denny

Here we are 6 years later and I don't see huge demand for welders. I don't know if this is true every where but guys who have gotten their welding degree or cert from the local community collage have had trouble finding a job fresh out of school. They claim everyone that is hiring are looking for welders with 3 to 5 years experience.
Might just be the economy.

akabadnews
09-14-2013, 01:03 PM
The demand for experienced welders is high. Most companies I have applied to (and been turned down from) have been looking for a minimum 3 years of experience. There's a difference between being able to pass a weld test, and being able to weld in the field doing the work they need. That's usually where experience comes in.

However, there are a lot of places who will take entry level welders, but you will be paid between 10-15$ hourly. Nobody wants to take that job but they either don't or refuse to understand that everyone starts somewhere. A year or two making $14 an hour isn't that bad when you're working for that future $24-35 an hour job. And most places have no issue paying you more if you constantly do a good job.

The biggest thing new graduates need to understand is, they have to be willing to take a risk and travel to another state, almost always out of your own pocket, to test for a job. Welding is everywhere but it isn't.. if that makes sense. If that's not possible, they should have done more research on the job market before they spent all the money they did to go to a welding school.

Bostick101
09-14-2013, 02:04 PM
Well from my experience i work in building natural gas compressor stations/plants and the moneys good but not great. Ive made more than this in the uppers of 4600$ take home. But this was a lower check. Anyone who wants to make decent money i suggest looking into this field. Granted your out of town alot but you cant expect high paying jobs to be right down the street from you. I pray for a job paying this much that close to home...493901 But seeing as how its the nature of the beast. Ill have to chase the money around till i retire...

shovelon
09-14-2013, 02:28 PM
The potential for income is much higher for the business owner, but the risk is also much greater.
Volumn's could be written on the pro's and con's of owning your own business, but there is a lot of potential for income, even in the general run of the mill type work where the employees aren't making a lot of money, the owner, if successfull, is.
To make top dollar as an employee, the welder has to reach into the upper ends of the trade. But the business owner doesn't necessarily have to do that. A good example is the landscape company owner who's worth a couple of million, but his employees are lucky to be able to pay the rent. I know guys that own run of the mill welding outfits where they pay low to mid range wages to the hands, but they are making major income as the owner.
I also know small (one to two man mobile operations, no shop overhead just a truck/tools) business owners grossing well over $300,000 per year (personal net earnings well over $100,000) doing work that doesn't require a great amount of welding skill. But they are fairly solid business men, they're prompt, reliable, and their customers won't call anyone else.
The risk is great compared to guys that punch the clock tho. There are many failures for every success. But this is America, everybody gets their shot.
And I see a lot of people with very limited welding experience trying to start a welding business and they drop like flies. There are just too many things that only come with experience.

So my answer boils down to this:

1. ) Working as an employee you need some serious skills, usually in pressure piping, to draw top dollar (exceptions being in the Union building trades where a skilled, code quality plate welder can make a very good living) and a fair level of risk is involved(drive a thousand or two thousand miles to take a welding test with no guarantees, have a couple of repairs and you're gone, ect.).

2. ) As a small business owner you better have somewhat solid welding skills, some good people skills, some business savvy, some money management skills and a pretty good line of credit. Plus be able to tolerate a much larger amount of risk and inconsistent/uncertain/uneven level of income over the course of a year.

Just my take, I started my welding business in 1992 (nobody thought I'd make it either:) ) and I continue to happily feed the kids and pay the bills. I love my work and it loves me:rolleyes:


JTMcC.
www.firstratefabricators.com

Put me in catagory #2. I enjoy working with people whether it be customers or employees. I do come home every night, however it may be very late in the evening. I am blessed to have part of my family working with me. The money is not great, but the rewards are.

TimmyTIG
09-14-2013, 02:34 PM
Talk about digging up the dead! I'd like to know where that dude saw a welding job making $394 an hour.:laugh:

shovelon
09-14-2013, 02:37 PM
Talk about digging up the dead! I'd like to know where that dude saw a welding job making $394 an hour.:laugh:

Fukujima nuke plant?

Scott Moyer
04-27-2014, 09:48 PM
Here's a question; generally who are the highest paid welders in the industry? I know there are lot of ways to answer that question but just wondering if you guys who in the industry have an idea. For example; would it be small welding shop owners making the most compared to TIG, MIG or SMAW welders working in auto, oil or pipeline industry. Maybe building construction welders, etc.

Who usually pulls in the most dough for making an arc and putting stuff together?

AWS officer was talking at the last AWS meeting I went to. He was telling us about a young lady he knew that made 1000 dollars an hour welding in the nuclear field. Only limited exposure and obvious health risks. She could only weld for a limited amount of time before exposure limit was reached, and even then it's probably well known that she'll experience some health problems from exposure to radiation down the road. I'd do it. Only for a couple of hours a week though!

ttoks
04-28-2014, 01:05 AM
All of this is in Australia.

I've found the best paid here Is Gas pipeline welding, sub contracting, but all equipment, accom, food and travel paid for get's $120 an hour, best i've personaly earned is $62.19 an hour (current job) working casual (no sick pay, no holiday's) power station outage work.

I start a construction job of a natural gas refinery on the 13th of next month making $53 an hour, time and a half first two hours overtime, double after that, and double time on weekends, travel accom and food paid for (living in a camp 2500 miles from home), 4 week on 1 off roster, 4 week's annual leave a year, RDO a fortnight (banked and paid out at the end of the job), $5.30 an hour into superannuation (compulsory retirement fund's in Australia) as well as $160 a week redundancy to be paid when i finish the job, and daily living away from home pay of $80 a day and unlimited sick pay with a doctor's certificate.

HT2-4956
04-28-2014, 02:28 AM
I got 5K for 4 days work in Singapore Harbor last year. All expenses paid.

RYAN634
04-30-2014, 05:15 PM
Pipe welders generally make the most money. Guys who are capable of heliarc and smaw on any pipe they throw your way. Welders really are one of the only certified crafts now days. We get tested everyday based on our skills but here I am rambling. Money isn't everything. Just keep burning and continue to strive to be the best you can be at your skill

JoeMCConaghy00
07-17-2014, 08:17 PM
For someone just starting out like myself. I like to see everyones input on this topic, but what I really want to know is where to find these jobs, where to look.

AKmud
07-18-2014, 02:59 AM
My paid welding is side work, basic rate is $60/hr plus materials. Keep a very low overhead by working out of my personal shop. I bid jobs occasionally and have made upward of $150/hr when things go well. The welding gig is my plan for supplementing my city job retirement in 4 years. Hopefully the work will still be as steady as it has been these last few years.

TimmyTIG
07-18-2014, 03:58 PM
For someone just starting out like myself. I like to see everyones input on this topic, but what I really want to know is where to find these jobs, where to look.you can do a welders search on roadtechs.com or indeed.com and other job sites. Indeed.com lets you put in specific states and cities. Or you can just do a google search. I have also called weld test labs to ask them who is testing welders.

Dantheharleyman99
07-18-2014, 09:53 PM
I can tell you, if all you care about is the money... Definitely don't open a fab shop. When things are good they're great, but you can't depend on someone to stroke you a nice fat check every Friday, if the work isn't coming in neither is the money. You will be hard pressed to find a local 9-5 that pays awesome money. To make the big bucks no matter what type of welding you do it will almost always be somewhere other than home! Definitely something to consider if you have a family or someone waiting at home, it takes it's toll.
In my eyes .... Making a little less money is well worth sleeping in my own bed every night!

TimmyTIG
07-18-2014, 10:51 PM
Australia sounds like the place to be!

docwelder
07-19-2014, 09:45 AM
after working as a highly paid ironworker and seeing more than my share of falls,lost and crushed fingers i come to the conclusion that money is not all. now i work in a nice safe shop and i'm pretty sure i'll be going home at night in one piece. along with that big money you're looking for come's the risk of maiming yourself. that's something you may want to think about.

Gerry1964
07-19-2014, 12:36 PM
I'm working for myself in the UK and i often earn £1200 a week as a mig welder and MMA welder onsite ($2050) a week a bit less if i work in the workshop, can you guys earn that much in the US or do the Unions and other forces take their chunk out of what you earn??

NBS Welding
07-19-2014, 12:57 PM
I have been runnin my one man welding operation serving the drillin industry here in the Appalachian Basin for fourteen years now. I have been lookin at all opportunities in welding since I started weldin in 1991. So far I have not found a more profitable gig than what I am currently doing. Most of my income comes from the hourly rate I charge and some income is from the sales of steel and fittings that I buy and sell to my customers. To do what I do and stay busy at it you gotta have Master Service Agreements with several natural gas and drilling companies and those are not easy to get. The insurance required is expensive and also not easy to get. It is more than a job, it is a business. My wife does the paperwork and I could not do it without her. This is no 9 to 5. I am on 24hr call and sometimes work 20 to 30 hours without sleep. You gotta love it. Last year my gross was $272,000. My wife and I have no kids and we put most of the money into things we can write off to build the business and reduce our tax burden. I am proud of what I have done but no matter how good your doing someone is doing better. If you enjoy what you do and it means a lot to you that is all that matters.

docwelder
07-19-2014, 01:21 PM
I'm working for myself in the UK and i often earn £1200 a week as a mig welder and MMA welder onsite ($2050) a week a bit less if i work in the workshop, can you guys earn that much in the US or do the Unions and other forces take their chunk out of what you earn??
never you worry gerry, there's enough left over for beer and skittles after the union get's their whack.

gweah
07-20-2014, 04:34 PM
I've always heard underwater welders get payed the most, next pipeline welders, and in my area I hear aerospace welders are making around 65k a year. I'm 18, and making 18 an hour welding flux core on ships. Hope to get that 6g stick cert and make the big bucks.

iron mike
07-20-2014, 05:38 PM
there is very little welding in the underwater world, i know, i wrote the book on the subject,i was one of the premier salvage contractors for loyds of london in the 80's.the buzz about underwater welding came from diving schools that were owned by diving contractors luring young prospects in to the buisness with promises of big money welding underwater, in reality the schools charged huge fees for tuition,and created and endless supply of naive prospectors who'd work dirt cheap...that's the fact jack!

NBS Welding
07-20-2014, 06:56 PM
For someone just starting out like myself. I like to see everyones input on this topic, but what I really want to know is where to find these jobs, where to look.

I don't know what sort of welding you want to get into or in what area you want to do it in, but if you would like to get into oil field welding like I am doing the smart way to do it would be to get a job on a drilling rig working for a good drilling company. You will make killer money, get a chance to learn your way around a rig, get knowledge on how gas and oil wells are built, and meet tool pushers and drilling consultants who will be good job contacts if you decide to get into rig welding. This would be fairly easy to do here in the Appalachian Basin area as drilling contractors like Patterson Drilling are looking to hire hands for their rigs now. The rig hands work 12 hours a day for 14 days and then get 14 days off. It is considered by some to be "The highest paid part time job in US history". With a fat paycheck and 14 days off you would have plenty of time and money to do welding projects on the side. Since the rig hands live in man camps while they are working for their 14 day hitch it really don't matter where your home is. Some guys working on the rigs here are local guys but others are from all across the country. No matter where they are from they live in the man camp when they are working and then go home for two weeks for their days off.

JoeMCConaghy00
07-20-2014, 08:23 PM
I don't know what sort of welding you want to get into or in what area you want to do it in, but if you would like to get into oil field welding like I am doing the smart way to do it would be to get a job on a drilling rig working for a good drilling company. You will make killer money, get a chance to learn your way around a rig, get knowledge on how gas and oil wells are built, and meet tool pushers and drilling consultants who will be good job contacts if you decide to get into rig welding. This would be fairly easy to do here in the Appalachian Basin area as drilling contractors like Patterson Drilling are looking to hire hands for their rigs now. The rig hands work 12 hours a day for 14 days and then get 14 days off. It is considered by some to be "The highest paid part time job in US history". With a fat paycheck and 14 days off you would have plenty of time and money to do welding projects on the side. Since the rig hands live in man camps while they are working for their 14 day hitch it really don't matter where your home is. Some guys working on the rigs here are local guys but others are from all across the country. No matter where they are from they live in the man camp when they are working and then go home for two weeks for their days off.

This sounds really cool to me, as I am young and have no wife or kids. What kind of qualifications do they look for?

NBS Welding
07-20-2014, 08:47 PM
This sounds really cool to me, as I am young and have no wife or kids. What kind of qualifications do they look for?

Real simple, able body, drug free, willing to listen, work safe, and willing to start as a floor hand. A floor hand on a Patterson Rig can make over $60,000 in the first year. You should be able to look up Patterson Drilling online. They have had some job fairs in this area looking to hire people. There is also many other drilling companies, but if I were looking I would want to work for Patterson. They are the safest rigs with the best equipment IMO.

Pressure_Welder
07-20-2014, 10:59 PM
definatly not highest paid nor the highest skilled, but I work at a coal fired generating station also with two combustion turbines that run on natural gas " MASSIVE jet engines basically" with all sorts of awesome alloys! and of course our boiler with all its heavy wall goodness that puts a smile on my face ever day with the random major failures we see!. Work 4 days a week Monday to Thursday 48$ an hr, and 96$ an hr for any OT, carry the on call phone and get 50$ a day for carrying it, and a 3hr double time call out if it rings. 7 weeks holidays a year, 100% benefits paid for.... dental, medical, vision, massages, gym memberships, boots, coveralls, lung testing, hearing testing, all the best welding helmet/protection money can buy. Great group of guys to work with, and always an eager set of apprentices rolling through. Also get the opportunity to go back north "for the same hydro utility" to help out with caviatation outages on the turbine blades.... love my boilers but cavitation work is $$$$$$$$, took home 17g in two weeks last year, although that was 12 to 16hr days. Worked at some fly in dams for a period of time also, completely remote and disconnected from the world! work all day and then fish all night! Again not the highest paid, but I love my job, I love the people, and I get to be home with my family every night! SO I guess in a sense I consider myself the highest paid welder..... maybe not money wise but experiences/friends made

added some of my memories! over the years. Mostly dams ive worked at.

Pressure_Welder
07-20-2014, 11:03 PM
couple more

docwelder
07-21-2014, 05:09 AM
pw; looks like you got a sweet gig. throw in home every night when you're not killing the ot, what more could you ask for in a job? nice pics.

RSD
07-21-2014, 09:00 AM
A couple of years ago I did safety on a big pipeline job here in Australia. One of the welders was mouthing off to me about how much he made. Slowly the grin on my face got bigger until he said "What are you grinning about?" and I replied "Well if you think you are getting paid well, have you considered the fact that you can't start work each day until I have approved your work plan for the day?". Kind of killed the conversation right there - I think that I was earning about 40% more than he was.

HT2-4956
07-21-2014, 10:19 AM
Thirty years or so a go I was helping a rig welder who was working as a subcontractor on a job. One day on the way off site to go to lunch one of the younger hands who worked for the main contractor (and was making considerably less money) tried to have some sport with him by asking loudly "So Mr. Money Bags, where are you buying every one lunch at"? Just as slick as could be Richard puts his arm around the kid's shoulders, pulls him in close and says "I'd be happy to buy your lunch if you'll follow my personal policy on doing that for others". The kid took the bait and asked what his "policy" was. At which point Richard hugged him in a little closer, looked him right in the eye and said..... "I don't feed any thing I don't phuck".