Best and Worst Cities for Welding Jobs in 2020
Last Updated: September 18, 2020
In the United States, nearly 400,000 welders are currently employed. That’s just about one welding job for every thousand jobs that exist across the country. On average, these welders are earning $44,360 annually. This isn’t the most impressive salary, but it’s just the national average. Welders in some cities are bringing home $20,000 more each year, while welders in other cities are earning even less than the national average. It’s a career where the opportunities vary widely by location. So, where are the best places to live as a welder? And which cities should you try to avoid altogether? Let’s take a look at five of the best and worst cities for welding jobs.
Best Cities for Welding Jobs
1. Lake Charles, Louisiana
Louisiana is a great place to be a welder for several reasons. With over 13,000 welders employed in the state, there’s no shortage of jobs to go around. But even better, they’re making a lot more than the average welder in America. The average annual wage of a welder in Louisiana is $52,810. Compared to the average for welders across the country, a welder in this state is making $8,450 more each year. That’s already pretty impressive, but the success seems to be concentrated around the city of Lake Charles specifically.
Lake Charles, Louisiana, is not a large city. In fact, with a population of just over 77,000, they’re pretty small. But there are more than ten welding jobs for every thousand jobs in the city, so nearly 1,200 welders have gainful employment here. With a mean annual wage of $65,410, they’re blowing the rest of the country away. Living in Lake Charles as a welder means that you’re earning on average $21,050 more each year than the rest of the welders in the United States. Between the high rate of employment per capita and how much more welders make in this city, Lake Charles, Louisiana is clearly a great city for a career in welding.
2. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
If Lake Charles doesn’t seem like enough of a city to fulfill your needs and interests, then Baton Rouge, just a two-hour drive away on Interstate 10, may be more to your liking. It’s still in Louisiana, a state with much higher than average pay for welders and plenty of welding jobs to go around. But Baton Rouge is a much more populated place than Lake Charles, with over 225,000 residents. Out of those people, over 3,100 are employed as welders, equating to nearly 8 welding jobs per thousand jobs in the city.
In Baton Rouge, welders are earning $30.77 per hour on average. Compared to the national hourly average of just $21.33, welders in Baton Rouge are living large. That’s $9.44 per hour more, a hefty chunk of change for 60 minutes. Extrapolated for a year, you’re earning $19,640 more annually than the average worker in the same industry. Who doesn’t want to make an extra 20 grand for the same work? With an average welder’s salary of $64,000 and over 3,100 positions to keep filled, Baton Rouge is a hotspot for welders.
3. Anchorage, Alaska
You may be surprised to find out that Anchorage, Alaska has a higher population than Baton Rouge, Louisiana. With just under 300,000 residents, Anchorage is actually a thriving metropolitan area. For part of the year, they get more than 17 hours of sunlight each day, with the sun coming up bright and early at 5:30 AM and not setting until about 10:30 PM. If the idea of long days during the summer and high temperatures in the low 60s in the middle of August sounds appealing to you, then Anchorage is one of the best places you could move as a welder.
Of course, the best reasons for a welder to move here have nothing to do with the weather. For welders, Anchorage is the highest paying city in the nation. With an annual mean wage of $71,570, you’ll be doubling what some other welders in mainland cities across the United States are making. At $27,210 above the national average, there’s nowhere to make a better living as a welder in the country. But the reason this city isn’t ranked first on this list is because there aren’t as many jobs here to go around. With just under one welding job per thousand jobs in the city, only 160 welders are employed in the area. This means stiff competition, but with such great wages, it only makes sense that workers would be competing for these positions.
4. Houston, Texas
Texas is sometimes referred to as the welding capital of the United States. It’s not because they’re paying welders so much more in Texas. But it is because of how many jobs there are to go around in this big state. Over 50,000 welders are currently employed across Texas, more than any other state in the country. With more than four welding jobs available out of every 1,000 total jobs in the state, it’s pretty easy to find gainful employment as a welder in Texas. But within Texas, Houston is a hotbed for welding careers.
Houston is a major city with over 2.3 million residents. That’s a lot of people to keep employed, and six out of every thousand jobs available in this city is for a welder to claim. That works out to more than 18,000 welding jobs within this 669-square-mile city. This means most welders should have no problem finding a job here, and with an annual salary that’s $5,740 above the national average, you’ll be well compensated for the hours you invest.
5. Beaumont, Texas
The Beaumont-Port Arthur area of Texas is much less populated than Houston, and there aren’t as many welders living here. But with a total population of just 410,000 residents with 1,900 employed welders, it’s an area with some of the highest per capita welder employment in the nation. Just about 12 jobs out of every thousand jobs to be had is a welding job. Those are some pretty impressive numbers. You can be sure that if you move to this area and you have the welding skills that employers need you should have no problem finding a career. Even better, welders in this area have a mean annual salary of $56,680, which is $12,320 more than the average for the nation. Not only will you easily find employment here as a welder, but you’ll be making more than most of your peers in the rest of the country.
Worst Cities for Welding Jobs
1. Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California, the so-called City of Angels. Well, you won’t feel like any angels are watching out for you if you try to have a career as a welder here. With an average hourly salary of just $17.31, welders aren’t doing very well in this city. This is $4.02 per hour less than what the average welder makes in the rest of the country. Compared to welders in a high paying city like Anchorage, you’ll be making $17.10 less per hour on average. This means you’ll be making about half the pay for the same work if you live in L.A. versus living in Anchorage.
2. San Francisco, California
Things look only slightly better for welders in San Francisco than they do in Los Angeles. It’s only a six-hour drive away, so it’s not very surprising. Welders are earning an average of $20.98 per hour in San Francisco. This doesn’t sound too bad since it’s just $0.35 below the national average in the occupation. But once you adjust this rate for the incredibly high cost of living in San Francisco, that salary equals out to about $12.79 anywhere else in the country. With such a high cost of living index, you’ll be struggling to get by in a career that would keep you comfortable in other cities.
3. Washington, DC
Washington DC is the capital of the nation, and it’s another very expensive place to live. With a very high cost of living index, money just doesn’t go as far here as other cities in the country. On average, welders are making $19.91 per hour, which is just $1.42 below the national average. This is still not great, but things look even worse once adjusted for the high cost of living. The adjusted wages of a welder in Washington DC are just $14.21 per hour. Considering that the work will take the same amount of time and effort, this makes DC a terrible place for a welder to find employment.
4. New York, New York
The big apple. There’s always a lot of major construction taking place in the metropolitan centers of the world, and New York, New York is as metropolitan as anywhere. But it’s another city with an exorbitant cost of living index that means your money doesn’t go as far here as it does elsewhere. Welders seem like they’re not doing too bad on the surface. With an average pay rate of $23.03 per hour, they’re doing a bit better than the average for the field. But once adjusted for the cost of living index, that pay isn’t taking you as far as at will in other cities. In fact, it works out to the equivalent of just $14.48 per hour in the rest of the country.
5. Chicago, Illinois
With a population of nearly 10 million, Chicago is a bustling metropolis, but for four years in a row, they’ve been shrinking. With thousands of people leaving the city each year, there isn’t a lot of construction happening, so there just aren’t as many jobs for welders to grab. With an average pay rate of just $17.18 per hour, there’s certainly not much enticement for skilled welders to move here. This is already $4.15 below the national average, but Chicago is another city with a high cost of living. Once adjusted for this factor, a welder’s salary in Chicago is worth about $14.70 in other cities with a more manageable cost of living.
A lot of factors can contribute to making a city better or worse for any given profession. Average salary for the occupation, how many total jobs are available, per capita employment in the field, and the average cost of living in the city all come into play. Based on all these considerations, Lake Charles and Baton Rouge, Louisiana are two of the best cities for welders to live in, followed closely by Anchorage, Alaska. Welders in these cities have higher than average wages and good numbers of jobs to be had. But if you want to earn a decent living with your skills as a welder, you should stay away from Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, as well as New York, New York. Not only will you earn less in these cities than elsewhere, but with such high costs of living, your money will even do less than it should.
Featured Image Credit By: emirkrasnic, pixabay