For instance, in my hometown of Eugene Oregon, an entry-level MIG welder is paid $13 an hour (plus benefits) for a full work week with possible overtime. I used a website called PayScale to look up compensation information for El Paso and the lower end was $9.35 an hour, with the median (middle) pay rate was $16 an hour.
Pay for a welder also depends on the times you are willing to work. Many welding jobs are related to manufacturing companies, which generally have a "day shift" of maybe 7am-4pm, and a "swing shift" that works the evening. Different shifts may pay differently, and one may be more convenient for you. Some positions may also require weekend or on-call work, which also may be paid differently.
As you gain more experience you can specialize into specific industries or technologies which can greatly increase the value of your work, leading to a higher pay or better benefits. Some welding jobs also require travel to other facilities, and if so would normally pay for that travel. You can find the kind of work and the locations that make you happy!
Stephen recommends the following next steps:
- ask your welding teacher about starting wages in your area
- look in your local paper or online for welding jobs to see what they are offering for what kind of jobs
- think about where you'd be willing to go for work, or what times you'd be willing to work