Welders work in a number of industries. The industries with the highest number of welding jobs include structural metals manufacturing, construction, motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing, and machinery and equipment manufacturing. Several manufacturing sub-industries have the highest concentration of welders including ship and boat building, car manufacturing, and railroad stock manufacturing.
California is second to Texas as the state with the highest employment level of welders with 25,030 people working in the field.
California Welding Job Market
The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California metro area boasts the third highest employment level for welders in the nation, employing over 6,230 welders. Due to California's size and opportunities in automobile and fabricated metals manufacturing, the job openings in this state for welders are many.
With increased use of robotics in welding, most welders are transitioning into machine operators or helpers who guide the robotic operations or are becoming more adept at sophisticated methods of welding that cannot be mechanized. Specialty welding, such as welding underwater, is a skill that's also in demand. The aging of the nation's infrastructure and the welding workforce are the drivers behind this career growing steadily over the next several years.
The welding ranks have thinned across the country since the 1980s. Employment numbers have dropped by nearly half as many young people were choosing other careers. Now welding students in community colleges in Texas and California are finding jobs before they finish their certification due to the growing need for skilled welders.
Welding Salaries in California
Salaries vary greatly. Some of the highest paying welding jobs are in electric power generation, natural gas, oil pipelines, the U.S. Postal Service, and fiber manufacturing. California has one of the highest paying metropolitan areas for welders. The Vallejo-Fairfield area is seventh in the country with the average hourly rate of $26.95 or $56,060 annually. The annual mean wage in California for a welder is $42,540 or $20.45 hourly.