Shining a light
on the welding workforce.

High demand. Skills gap. Critical need. These are just a few terms that describe the outlook of the welding workforce.

While it’s true that many skilled welders are needed to meet future demand, the situation is nuanced and also speaks to the opportunities awaiting professionals entering the field or those considering a career change.

Below you’ll find the most recent welding workforce data and projections endorsed by the American Welding Society (AWS).

Demand for welding professionals
in the upcoming years.

0

New welding professionals projected to be needed by 2024.

0

Average welding jobs to be filled annually between 2021–2024.

Why the need?

CURRENT
OPENINGS

+ INDUSTRY GROWTH

Increased number of jobs

+ ANTICIPATED ATTRITION

Professionals retiring, advancing,
changing industries, etc.

= PROJECTED OPENINGS

What counts as a welding professional?

The AWS Foundation combines six occupations (defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) where welding is a primary job function:

Boilermakers

Sheet Metal Workers

Structural Iron and Steel Workers

Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters

Welders, Cutters, Solders, and Brazers

Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

Boilermakers

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

Learn more about these occupations and others at careersinwelding.com >

Snapshot of the current welding workforce.

0

Estimated U.S. welding professionals, as of 2021.

AGES OF CURRENT WELDERS

More than 0 welders

ARE APPROACHING RETIREMENT

WORKFORCE DEMOGRAPHICS

0%

Percentage of welders
who are
WOMEN

0%

Percentage of welders who are
NON-WHITE OR OF MULTIPLE RACES.

How much do welding professionals make?

Wages for welding professionals can vary by location, occupation, certifications, experience level, and other factors.

Average hourly earnings for welding jobs:

$0/hr

National median salary for welding jobs:

$0/yr

National median salary for various welding careers:

Welding Fabricator

$43,000

Welding Technician

$51,000

Ironworker

$52,000

Welding Supervisor

$62,000

Welding Inspector

$62,000

Boilermaker

$62,000

Pipeliner

$64,000

Underwater Welder

$65,000

Welding Engineer

$85,000

Welding Research Scientist

$89,000

See the complete list of salaries at careersinwelding.com

Where are the most welding jobs located?

How the current welding workforce is distributed, by region (2020):

151,000

Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin
\

135,000

Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
\

146,000

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee
\

82,000

Arizona, California, Nevada
\

48,000

Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska
\

62,000

DC, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia
\

34,000

New Jersey, New York
\

25,000

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
\

33,000

Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming
\

34,000

Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Washington
\

Education and training for welding careers.

There are multiple options to receive formal training and start a career in the welding industry.

TYPE OF TRAINING

TYPICAL LENGTH OF PROGRAM

CREDENTIAL EARNED

TECHNICAL SCHOOL

6–18 mos.

Welding Certificate

Technical School

6–18 mos.

Welding certificate

Community College

2 years

Associates degree

COMMUNITY COLLEGE

2 years

Associates Degree

Apprenticeship

3-4 years

Journeyman’s card

APPRENTICESHIP

3-4 years

Journeyman’s card

University

4 years

Bachelor’s degree

UNIVERSITY

4 years

Bachelor’s degree

Attending a technical school to become a welder is an investment that pays off quicker than pursuing a four-year degree

Cost comparison

What’s being done?

The AWS Foundation is actively working to build a larger, higher-skillled, and more diverse welding workforce by supporting various scholarships, grants, and other education initiatives.

$1.6 million+

$1.6 million+

Total scholarships awarded by the AWS Foundation in 2021.

1,000+

1,000+

The number of scholarship recipients, representing more than 400 different academic and training institutions.

23%

23%

Share of scholarships awarded to female welding students.

$120k

$120k

Total graduate research fellowships awarded to support research projects in welding, additive manufacturing, and other allied technologies.

$1M+

$1 million+

Total grants awarded to welding schools since 2017.

Media inquiries.

For more information or comment from the AWS Foundation, please contact us at foundation@aws.org.

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