Welding occupations offer a variety of work settings. Approximately two-thirds of welders are employed in manufacturing plants that produce motor vehicles, ships, boilers, machinery, appliances and other metal products. Repair shops or construction companies that build bridges, large buildings, pipelines and similar metal structures employ most of the remaining welders. Welding machine operators work in manufacturing industries. Welders may spend their workday inside well-ventilated and well-lit shops and/or factories, outside at a construction site or in confined spaces, such as in an underground tunnel or a large storage tank that is being built.
The earnings of welding trade professionals vary widely depending on the skills required for the job, industry, location and other factors. On the average, welding and welding machine operators can expect to earn in the range of $29,000 to $60,000 or above yearly. Highly skilled welders may have earnings ranging from $60,000 to $100,000 or more. In addition to wages, employers often provide fringe benefits such as health insurance and pension plans and paid vacation.