Welding is a great career for both men and women. Welders make a decent salary, but how much will it cost to become one? Will there be financial aid and scholarship options to call upon if necessary? Learn more about how much it’s going to cost to become a welder.
How Much Does Welding School Cost?
There are a few different routes to becoming a welder. And, with each option, there’s a different price point. Keep in mind, the following numbers are strictly an average. You may find a program near you of greater or lesser cost. Many schools offer financial assistance and scholarships. Do your due diligence and research the schools you’re considering. Look at their online reviews, as well as their graduation rate, and gainful employment percentage. These are important factors to consider when looking at programs.
Apprenticeship: A welding apprenticeship will take 3-4 years. You’ll have a hands-on portion that will be 2,000 hours per year, plus a formal education section of 144 hours per year in the classroom. The benefit of an apprenticeship is you’ll earn money while gaining your experience.
Trade School: If you’re looking at a school like Tulsa Welding School, the cost can range between $20K-$24K, all in. Hobart will cost you between $17,000 and $33,000 depending on the program and whether you live at home. Specialized programs at universities can be more costly, hitting upwards of $40,000 or more.
Community College: Community college costs can range wildly, but you’re looking at something between $5,000-$15,000 for a welding program. The price tag goes up if you’re an out-of-district resident, and then even more if you’re from out of state. Welding programs through community colleges can take anywhere from a few months to two years if you attend full time.
These prices are not weighing in the additional costs of books, course fees, and living expenses.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Welder?
The length of time it takes to become a welder depends on which educational path you take. If you choose to go through an apprenticeship, it will take three to four years, but you’re getting paid along the way.
Completing a trade school welding program can take six months or longer, depending on which school you attend. And, community college welding programs take two years to finish, if you are attending full time.
Welding School ROI - Welder’s Salary 2019
In the United States, the average salary range for welders is between $27,000-$56,000, with the middle being $38,840 according to Glassdoor. If you consult with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary is a bit more, at $41,380, with the higher end being $63,740.
The top paying industry for welders are specialty trade contractors ($44,580), repair and maintenance ($41,260), and merchant wholesalers ($40,380).
The states that pay their welders the highest salaries are Alaska ($67,330), Wyoming ($60,960), District of Columbia ($60,780), Hawaii ($59,120), and New Mexico ($54,240).
Give your salary a boost by becoming certified in different areas of welding. Considering the salaries above, even a costly program seems to offer a good return on investment.
What Is The Highest Paid Welding Job?
There are a few welding specialties that pay extremely well. They do come with a bit of danger and training costs a little more, but having the proper training and knowing the best practices for safety could land you these jobs.
Pipe Welder: These welders start out at around $10,000 more than “standard” welders. You’ll need to add a pipe welding certification to your resume. This is the 6g certification and, for a fee, can be taken through the American Welding Society.
Underwater Welder aka Commercial Diver: Not only will you need to be a qualified welder, you’ll also have to have your commercial diving license. Jobs are more like long-term “gigs” you’ll be sent to, and your salary during that period could be up to $80,000 with that particular job lasting only a few months. Many underwater welders earn much more than $300,000 annually.
Certified Welding Inspector: Once you’ve completed your welding education, and have been consistently working as a welder for three years, you will then be eligible for the welding inspector certification. You can find this at the American Welding Society, and there are a few costs associated with this certification. As a certified welding inspector, you can earn well over the $100K mark per year.
When you’re thinking about a career, it’s always a good thing to weigh how much your schooling is with how much you’ll make once you graduate. Because there are financial options for welding programs available, that will help you when determining your out-of-pocket cost versus what you’ll earn once you’re out in the real working world of welding.
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