How Much Do MIG Welders Make? (Really?)

How Much do MIG Welders Make

A MIG welder is someone who is specialized and uses specific techniques and welding styles to join pieces of metal together. If you are thinking of becoming a MIG welder, there are a few things you should know. In each state, they make a different amount.

MIG welding, or Metal Inert Gas welding, is a popular and in-demand welding process in various industries, including manufacturing, construction, and automotive repair. As a result, MIG welders often find themselves wondering how much they can make in this profession.

How much do MIG welders make? These welders make between $13-$17 an hour depending on which state you reside in This means MIG welders can make between $27,000 a year and $36,000. This is a good starting point if you are learning the basics. Also, depending on the state you live in, you may need different licenses and schooling to be a MIG welder.

This guide will delve into the earning potential of MIG welders, discussing factors that influence their salaries, and providing a detailed breakdown of the average pay for MIG welders.

Overview of MIG Welding

Before discussing MIG welder salaries, it’s essential to understand what MIG welding entails. MIG welding is a type of gas metal arc welding (GMAW) that uses a continuous solid wire electrode, fed through a welding gun and into the weld pool.

This process relies on an inert shielding gas, such as argon or a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide, to protect the weld from contamination. MIG welding is known for its versatility, as it can be used on a variety of metals, including aluminum, stainless steel, and mild steel.

Factors Influencing MIG Welder Salaries

Several factors can influence the salary of a MIG welder, including:


As with most professions, experience plays a significant role in determining a MIG welder’s salary. Entry-level MIG welders can expect to make less than their more experienced counterparts, with salary increases commensurate with their years of experience and skill level.

Education and Certification

MIG welders with formal education and certification typically earn more than those without such qualifications. Employers often prefer hiring welders who have completed vocational training or earned an associate degree in welding technology.

Additionally, welders who hold certifications from organizations such as the American Welding Society (AWS) may command higher salaries.


Geographical location also impacts MIG welder salaries. Welders working in urban areas or regions with a high demand for their skills, such as oil-producing states, typically earn more than those in rural areas or regions with lower demand for their services.


The industry in which a MIG welder works can also influence their salary. For example, welders employed in the aerospace, nuclear power, or oil and gas industries may earn higher salaries than those working in general manufacturing or construction.

Union Membership

MIG welders who are members of a labor union often benefit from higher salaries and better working conditions compared to non-union welders. Union membership can provide welders with access to collective bargaining agreements that establish wage scales and benefits packages.

MIG Welder Salaries by Experience Level

The following sections will provide a breakdown of MIG welder salaries based on experience level.

Entry-Level MIG Welder

At the entry level, MIG welders can expect to earn an average annual salary of around $35,000. This figure can vary depending on factors such as location, industry, and education. Entry-level welders may also be eligible for additional training and certification opportunities, which can help increase their earning potential over time.

Mid-Career MIG Welder

With several years of experience under their belt, mid-career MIG welders can see their average annual salary increase to the range of 45,000. At this stage, welders may also have the opportunity to take on more complex projects or supervisory roles, leading to higher earnings.

Experienced MIG Welder

MIG welders with many years of experience in the field can expect to earn an average annual salary of $50,000 or more. At this level, welders may have the opportunity to specialize in a specific industry or welding process, leading to even higher earnings.

Comparing MIG Welder Salaries to Other Welding Professions

It’s also helpful to compare MIG welder salaries to other welding professions to gain a broader understanding of the earning potential in this field. Some examples of other welding positions and their average annual salaries include:

  • TIG Welder: $40,000 to $60,000
  • Stick Welder: $35,000 to $55,000
  • Flux-Cored Arc Welder: $35,000 to $50,000
  • Pipe Welder: $45,000 to $75,000
  • Structural Welder: $40,000 to $60,000
  • Underwater Welder: $50,000 to $100,000 (depending on depth and location)

How to Increase Your Earning Potential as a MIG Welder

MIG welders looking to boost their earning potential should consider the following steps:

  1. Obtain additional education and certification, such as an associate degree in welding technology or certification from the AWS.
  2. Develop a specialization, such as working with specific metals or industries, to increase your marketability.
  3. Seek out higher-paying industries, such as aerospace, nuclear power, or oil and gas.
  4. Pursue union membership to benefit from collective bargaining agreements and better working conditions.
  5. Continuously improve your welding skills and stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technology advancements.

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Which states pay MIG welders the most to least

Here is a list of states and the pay rates. Not all of the states are listed; this is the top eight, the first four are the highest paying while the last four are the lowest paying states for MIG welders.

StatesSalary Per Hour ($)Salary Per Year ($)
1New York17,6536,700
4New Hampshire16,8234,900
5North Carolina1327,000
MIG Welders Salary per States

1.    New York- In NY, this job makes around $36,700 a year and $17.65 an hour.

2.    Massachusetts- These welders make $17.49 an hour on average, and this is approximately $36,300 a year for the typical MIG welder.

3.    Washington- On average, these welders make around $36,100; this is about $17.36 an hour.

4.    New Hampshire- Welders in this state, on average, make $34,900 a year, which is around $16.82 an hour.

5.    North Carolina- These welders make approximately $27,000 a year; this equals to about $13 an hour.

6.    Florida- Surprisingly, one of the lowest wages given to welders. This job makes $28,000 a year; this equals around $13.50 an hour.

7.    Missouri- Every year these welders make around $28,700; this is about $13.80 an hour.

8.    Mississippi- An hour, these welders make $13.90, and a year they make $28,900.

All of these are rough estimates compiled from the average salaries of MIG welders. Keep in mind that even though some of these are lower wages, it costs less to live in individual states.

Welding can be an excellent job if you learn the industry well and make the right connections; you can move up in the industry. Specific welding jobs will also make more than others.

Before you continue reading, here is an article we wrote about the highest welding jobs. And the Advantages of being a welder.

Do you make more by going to school for welding?

If you are going into MIG welding, there is only so high up you can go in the industry. The fantastic thing about going to school is you will learn the skills to do more than MIG welding. Learning more skills may lead to more money but not always.

School is expensive, and the certificates are much cheaper. If you go into MIG welding, look at what you are looking for. Certificates will allow you to work under someone, earn money, and work your way up in certain areas. Still, you will only be able to stay in the area that you started in.

underwater welding salary

The school allows you to expand; taking actual college classes will enable you to learn more than one type of welding. In the future, this will allow you to expand and grow. You may even find a different style of welding that will bring more income.

If you are thinking of MIG welding, a technical school for a short period may also give you more options and learn more skills. It is less money than a four-year degree and will provide you with the hands-on experience you need for the job.

What are the highest paying welding jobs?

Each job pays a different amount, and school allows you to acquire the skills for the job you choose. On top of that, an actual college degree will use hands-on experience to teach you.

Highest Paying Welding JobMin. Salary (yearly)Max. Salary (yearly)
Underwater Welding$54,000$300,000
Military Support Welders$60,000$160,000
Industrial Pipeline Welders$35,000$105,000
Certified Welding Inspectors$70,000$105,000

1.    Military support welders- This job makes up to $160,000 a year but may require you to be abroad for long periods of time. This welder supports the troops by making sure all of the gadgets and military vehicles are working properly.

2.    Underwater welders- This job varies a welder who goes underwater can earn between $54,000-300,000 a year. This welding job involves diving, it may seem fun, but it can actually be dangerous because you will be welding pipelines underwater.

hyperbaric welding

3.    Certified welding inspector- These jobs vary but usually start out around $70,000 a year. This means that you go over what other welders do and make sure it works properly. It can be a tedious and demanding job.

There are many more welding jobs to choose from, all making decent money. Becoming a MIG welder while in school can be a great way to gain the experience and education you need to move up in different directions of welding.

If that isn’t your style, a certificate is also a great way to get your foot in the door. If you’re thinking of MIG welding as a career and have your heart set on only being a MIG welder, a certificate could be an excellent option for you.

Is welding being taken over by technology?

MIG welding is fascinating because as our world evolves and relies more on technology, more robots are being built to take over this job. However, there are still a lot of positions open that prefer a human touch over a robot touch.

There are also many ways you can become a MIG welder and use this technology at the same time. Also, there is a need for people to build and weld robots that can do the job. On top of that, companies need someone to go over what the robot does to make sure it is done properly. There are still many opportunities in this field, and you will want to learn about the pros and cons before going into this industry.

What does a MIG welder do?

This is also known as gas metal arc welding. This process uses tools that use gas and oxygen to put pieces of metal together. The most common places MIG welders work are in the construction industry, with cars, or in manufacturing. It is really an outstanding job that keeps our world running. It is a versatile career that can allow you to work in many different fields.

How do you become a MIG welder?

There are two ways you can become a MIG welder. The first way is to go to a vocational school and learn as much as you can about welding, or an actual college to get a degree in welding. The second way is to become an apprentice to a welder. They will be able to teach you what you need to know to get the job done well.

Here, you can find an article from our website about the topic: How Long Does It take to learn Welding?

There are pros and cons to both choices. After both options, you will need to pass a welding test and get a certificate that will allow you to weld for other companies. In the test, there will be a written half that is equally as important as the welding portion.

Final thoughts

MIG welding is a wonderful career you can learn a lot from and make a decent living in most states. Welding is a career that will always be in demand and is a massive part of keeping countries running. Welding is used to put together our planes, cars, and pipes, and it keeps us safe by being done properly. You must learn everything you can about welding when going into this field.

There are many course options to get started in this field, and any option you choose will help you start. Learning as much as you can about welding before starting is a good way to see if you will like this career path. You will be able to move in many different directions and make good money by becoming a welder.

Recommended Reading

Can MIG Welders Weld Aluminum? | How to successfully weld Aluminum?

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David Harper

David is the Co-Founder and Senior Editor at David's an experienced fitter and tuner/welder who's passionate about helping others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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