5 Ways to Increase Your Wage in the Welding World

  • (319) 469 - 3961
  • Mon - Fri: 7:00 - 4:00
  • 1311 Pilot Grove Rd, Pilot Grove, IA



5 ways to increase

your wage in the welding world

  1. Experience

As with most occupations, the more experience you have, the more opportunity you have to increase your wage. A simple scroll on any hiring site can show you that more experience qualifies you for those higher paying wages. That being said, it is not a guarantee that you will have a higher wage if your skill is not up to par. Many employers looking for a welder require a welding test as part of the interview process. Your skill is really what will determine your wage over the amount of experience you have. However, the experience on your resume can help you get to that welding test to show your employer that your experiences have paid off. 


Not every position calls for +10 years of experience, but many would like to see some. Take advantage of any opportunity to gain experience in your field. Whether that be working part time while in school, mastering new types of welding or learning tips and tricks from industry experts. 

2. Education


Welding education requirements vary from employer to employer, but a career in welding does not necessarily require a college degree. Some employers may only require a high school diploma along with an employer-based welding test. Others may require a certificate, a degree from a technical school or an undergraduate degree. Below are a list of options on how to become a welder: 


  • Get a Certificate – There are a variety of programs to choose from
    • Students can get certified at a trades school
    • Students/workers can earn a welding certificate through the American Welding Society (AWS)


**Make sure to research how often your welding certificate requires a renewal. Most require them every six months to a year. 


  • Take an Apprenticeship Program
    • This is a great way to get hands-on, real-world experience in the world of welding
    • Taking an apprenticeship program can also increase your chances of getting hired on at the company you worked with 
  • Get a Degree
    • Students can earn a higher degree such as a welding technology associate’s degree
    • Students can earn a four year degree such as a Bachelor’s Degree in Welding Engineering


To put in perspective of how an education can determine a wage, please review two welding occupations in remotely the same area: 


Bridge Construction Welder: $20.27-$28.40 an hour

Requirements – Preferably at least 5 years of welding experience and possesses an AWS D1.5 from an accredited facility


Weld Process Engineer in the Aerospace Industry: $30-$40 an hour

Requirements – Bachelor’s degree and 3 years of relevant experience OR in absence of a degree, 7 years experience is required

As you can see, the job that requires more education gets paid more. That being said, even the weld process engineer doesn’t technically require education if enough experience is completed. This is only one example that doesn’t relate to every person/situation, but it is something to think about when you are looking into further your education to increase your wage. Keep in mind that education doesn’t always have to be a four year degree. It could be taking one course that enhances your tig welding or software skills. In the end, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of investing in more schooling, but it is an option if you are looking to increase your wage. 

3. Location

This career path will not limit your ability to travel. In fact, there are opportunities for welders all around the world and even out of this world! I’m talking outer space! However, if you’d like to stay on Earth, you could find welding jobs in places such as Italy, Switzerland, and China.  


There are many welders that travel for a living. They go from job to job, traveling and taking in the sites along the way. This career path may not be ideal for everyone, but for those who love new adventures (and a little extra cash), this could be your perfect fit! One example would be an independent contractor for a shipyard. A shipyard welder might work on a job for a few weeks or months in the United States and then find herself/himself in Japan for the next few years. 


The location you chose to work at will affect your wage. Salaries vary from state to state, place to place. Many welders that travel tend to have higher wages. The location of the job may also affect the safety of the welder. More often than not; the higher the risk, the higher the pay. 


If you are looking to increase your wage in the welding world, you might want to look into switching up your location. Different locations could pay you more. Some highly skilled welders who are willing to travel can earn over $100,000 a year. That being said, keep in mind that the cost of living also varies from place to place. Just because you can make $40,000 more in one place, doesn’t mean your cost of living won’t also increase. Another factor to keep in mind is the safety of the location you may be looking into. Some of the most high paying welding careers (pipeline welders, underwater welders, military welders) come with higher safety risks. 

4. Industry

One of the benefits to choosing welding as a career path is the wide range of opportunities that lie ahead. Along with the variety of locations you can work from, you also have a variety of industries to choose from. Below are a few industries that your welding career could take you: 








Project Management




Different industries can call for a higher wage. For example, the shipbuilding welder occupations tend to make more than the construction welder occupations. As discussed previously, those occupations in that industry do come with a set of risks and lifestyle adjustments. 


As a new welder, you might not be able to get into the industry you want right off the bat. However, you can build your skillset to eventually move on to another industry OR build your skillset to move up in whichever industry you are in. 

5. Skill

As mentioned throughout this article, your skill as a welder can have a heavy influence on your wage. There isn’t exactly a “fact it til’ you make it” option when it comes to welding. If your employer has you take a welding test, you can’t “pretend” to be good at welding. If you do happen to get hired somewhere where they didn’t require a welding test, your welding abilities will eventually get the spotlight as they cause safety and quality issues. 


Mastering your craft is an essential part of moving your wage up in the welding world. If you are struggling to perfect a certain aspect of your work, consider the following: 


  • Finding a Mentor
  • Watching Tutorial Videos
  • Taking Additional Classes


When it comes to increasing your wage in the welding world or in any profession, be sure to have a conversation with your employer if you are feeling undervalued. Be clear about your expectations and your goals that you have for your career. Your employer may be caught up in their own day-to-day routines/problems that they need caught up on all of the things you have been doing for their company. They may also be able to help you with an internal transfer, additional education or helping you diversify your skill set.



Having a good attitude at work will make you 

  • A better learner
  • A better teammate
  • A better employee


No matter what profession you are in, having a good attitude when you come to work can only benefit you as a worker and as an individual. When it comes time to needing a reference or asking for a raise, you’ll want to be known as the positive worker not the complainer.

Saying you have to show up to work seems like an obvious factor when it comes to your wage, but unfortunately it needs to be said. You are not going to get paid if you don’t show up for work. Also, keep in mind that it is hard to give out raises or overtime to those who don’t have a very good attendance track record. 


Simply put; show up to work and you’ll get paid!

Okay, so now that you’ve made it to work, you do have to actually work if you’d like to keep your job. Attendance is important, but most employers can’t pay you to do nothing all day every day. 


If you are hoping to see a raise in your future, make sure you are keeping up with your daily requirements and try to go the extra mile when you can.

1311 Pilot Grove Rd Pilot Grove, IA
(319) 469-3961

© 2019 Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing All rights reserved

Why Solar?

  • (319) 469 - 3961
  • Mon - Fri: 7:00 - 4:00
  • 1311 Pilot Grove Rd, Pilot Grove, IA


“What now seems like a no-brainer was not such an easy decision to make back when the initial idea was brought up.” 

why solar?

our solar story:

Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing officially started utilizing our 430.66 kW solar array back in 2016. Today, this large array saves SWM approximately $92,000/year in electrical costs and will reduce carbon emission by 8,917 metric tons over the next 25 years. 

What now seems like a no-brainer was not such an easy decision to make back when the initial idea was brought up. 

“I knew solar energy was out there. I occasionally drove by houses with solar panels on the roof or would see a few panels next to a farm. But, I think because I had seen solar on a smaller scale, I never really thought of it for Steffensmeier Welding. Not to mention, I was in a very transitional stage of my life when I took on this role here at SWM. My husband was dying, I still had obligations as a mother of five children and here was this business that I now had to take over with my prior career path being a radiology technician.” – Jenny Steffensmeier, Owner of SWM

It took an education process to understand how the solar was going to work and work for SWM. Although SWM was projected to save $2.5 million over a 25-year time period from implementing the solar array; there were significant initial costs in getting the array up and running. 

It took courage to make this decision for the future of SWM and the future of manufacturing. At the time, solar was a relatively new concept for the manufacturing industry. 

“As the new owner and decision-maker of the company, I didn’t want to make a huge decision like this for the company without thinking it through.” 

There were other manufacturing plants using solar energy, but it was not very common and it was not common for the entire plant to be run solely off of solar energy. Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing was one of the first fully solar-powered manufacturing and fabrication facilities of our size in the state of Iowa. 

“Honestly what gave me the confidence to pull the trigger was our partnership with Ideal Energy. Troy, Amy and the Ideal team provided exceptional, genuine support throughout the entire process. I felt like they didn’t want me to make any decisions without educating me first. Their level of transparency was very evident throughout the whole process, which made me feel they were the ideal partners.” 


Why Partner With a Green Company? 


If you don’t have the financial means or resources to go green yourself, we encourage you to partner with companies who are making an impact in the green community. Those partnerships show your support, along with giving you an opportunity to actively take part in preservation. Below are some of the benefits of partnering with a green company. 

Environmental Benefits

Obviously there are environmental benefits to partnering with a green company. The amount of impact varies of course from each company, but every bit counts. Imagine how much energy and resources we could save and preserve if every company made an effort to go green in some way.


Over a 25 year time period, the solar array at SWM will reduce greenhouse gas emission by 8,937 metric tons of CO2; which is the equivalent of 229,154 trees planted and grown for 19 years, or not burning 9,599,356 pounds of coal.

Economical Benefits: 

Along with partnering for pure environmental reasons, you can also gain a leg up when marketing your company’s value. If your products are made in an eco-friendly way, you now have the opportunity to market them as such. SWM does not believe that should be the sole reason you should partner with an eco-friendly company but it is a nice benefit. 


Another benefit from joining the green community is simply that; joining another community! I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “it’s not what you know but who.” 


“The decision to implement solar energy has done more for my business than just help cut down electrical costs. I have made so many new connections through this process. I’ve met people in the solar installation industry, other business owner’s and government leaders. This implementation was so much more than a one time project. It gave me lifelong connections and huge strides in my personal and professional growth.”

Influential Benefits:

By making the decision to partner with a green business or become one yourself, you are making a stand on what’s important to you. By this choice, you have automatically influenced others by (at the very least) making them think about green energy. Whether they make green efforts or not is up to them. 


Jenny’s decision to use solar gave her a voice in the political world. So much so that this past year she was awarded the Partner in Policy Award by the Iowa Environmental Council. Jenny won this award by making an effort to speak with our government leaders in regards to the net-metering policies. These policies affect business owners when it comes to their billing cycles and other financial aspects of their business.

Should You Go Solar? 

Solar could give you the opportunity to benefit your business and our planet. By saving money on your electrical bills, you could put that money towards employees wages, new equipment or anything else you’ve been saving up for. We can’t say exactly how solar would affect your business, but we would encourage you to explore the option. 


Below are a few resources that could help you learn more about solar energy and find out if it’s right for you: 







1311 Pilot Grove Rd Pilot Grove, IA
(319) 469-3961

© 2019 Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing All rights reserved

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