Three photos of welders

Welding Major

Job Outlook

Significant Points

  • More than 6 out of 10 jobs are found in manufacturing industries.
  • Training ranges from a few weeks of school or on-the-job training for low-skilled positions to several years of combined school and on-the-job training for highly skilled jobs.
  • Employment is projected to grow more slowly than average.
  • Job prospects should be excellent as employers report difficulty finding enough qualified people.

Earnings

Median hourly earnings of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers were $14.72 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.90 and $18.05. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $9.79, while the top 10 percent earned over $22.20. The range of earnings of welders reflects the wide range of skill levels. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers in May 2004 were:

Motor vehicle parts manufacturing $16.47
Agriculture, construction, and mining machinery manufacturing 14.12
Architectural and structural metals manufacturing 13.98
Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment (except automotive and electronic) repair and maintenance 13.45
Motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing 13.45

Median hourly earnings of welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders were $14.32 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.73 and $17.78. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $9.63, while the top 10 percent earned over $23.54. Median hourly earnings in motor vehicle parts manufacturing, the industry employing the largest numbers of welding machine operators in May 2004, were $15.43.

Many welders belong to unions. Among these are the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers; the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing, Pipefitting, Sprinkler Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada; and the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America.

Suggested citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Workers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos226.htm.


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