Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding is a highly specialized and precise welding technique that requires extensive training and skill. TIG welders use a non-consumable tungsten electrode to create a clean, strong, and visually appealing weld on a range of metals.
However, the precision and expertise required for TIG welding can come with a significant financial reward.
Often well-compensated for their skills, with hourly wages and annual salaries that can exceed $100k annually. In this article, we explore the current state of TIG welder salaries and examine how much do TIG welders make.
TIG Welding Career Overview
TIG welding is a specialized welding technique that requires extensive training and expertise. TIG welders use a non-consumable tungsten electrode to create precise, high-quality welds on a variety of metals.
As such, TIG welding is a popular career path for individuals with interest in metalworking and a desire to develop advanced welding skills.
To become a TIG welder, individuals typically need to complete a vocational training program provided by welding schools or an apprenticeship that teaches the necessary welding techniques and safety practices. TIG welding requires strong attention to detail, excellent hand-eye coordination, and a keen sense of precision. TIG welders must also be familiar with a range of welding equipment and tools, including welding machines, tungsten electrodes, filler rods, and gas regulators.
TIG welder jobs are a lucrative field for skilled welders. TIG welders are in high demand across a range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, construction, and manufacturing. With experience and advanced certifications, TIG welders may be able to advance into supervisory or management roles within their organizations.
How Much Do TIG Welders Make In The US?
The hourly and annual wages for a TIG welder can vary depending on several factors, such as their level of experience, the industry they work in, and the location of welding jobs.
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for welders was $22.60 per hour or $47,010 per year.
However, things are a bit different when it comes to TIG welding. According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual pay for a TIG Welder in the United States for 2023 was approximately $19.97 an hour, or $41,539 a year. This is the equivalent of $798/week or $3,461/month.
Glassdoor estimates a total pay for a TIG Welder of $42,932 per year in the United States area, with an average salary of $40,468 per year. The differences between average and estimated salary is represented by estimated additional pay, which includes cash bonus, commission, tips, and profit sharing of $2,465 per year.
TIG Welder Salary Based On Experience
TIG Welders’ salaries are highly dependent on the experience of the welder, but it could vary on the industry or location. That’s why we see annual salaries as high as $58,500 and as low as $25,500. The majority of TIG Welder salaries currently range between $35,500 (25th percentile) to $46,000 (75th percentile), with top earners (90th percentile) making $54,000 annually across the United States. According to Zippia, here are the differences in salary based on the experience level of TIG welders for beginners (0-2 years), mid-career professionals (3-6 years), and seniors (7+ years).
|Experience||Annual Wage||Hourly Rate|
|Entry Level (0-2)||$26,100||$12.54|
|Mid Level (3-6)||$36,500||$17.54|
|Senior Level (7+)||$55,800||$26.81|
Data on how experience level affects total compensation is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as part of their National Compensation Survey. However, based on personal experiences, seasoned welders (7+ years) can earn up to $150,000 a year if possessing the right skills required for the job. 
Top Paying Industries For TIG Welders
TIG welders are in demand in a variety of industries that require their specialized welding skills. Here are some of the top-paying industries for TIG welders, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing: TIG welders who work in aerospace manufacturing can earn an average annual salary of $63,270. Aerospace welding requires a high degree of precision and skill to ensure the safety and quality of aircraft components.
- Scientific Research and Development Services: TIG welders who work in scientific research and development services can earn an average annual salary of $62,460. These welders may be involved in the development of new products, materials, or processes that require high-quality welds.
- Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing: TIG welders who work in this industry can earn an average annual salary of $58,780. These welders may be involved in the production of complex electronic equipment, such as medical devices or control instruments.
- Oil and Gas Extraction: TIG welders who work in the oil and gas extraction industry can earn an average annual salary of $56,570. Welders in this industry may be involved in the construction, maintenance, or repair of pipelines, rigs, or other equipment. According to BLS, the highest paying jobs are included in Natural Gas Distribution with $88,940.
- Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing: TIG welders who work in the production of motor vehicle parts can earn an average annual salary of $42,220. These welders may be involved in the production of components such as exhaust systems, frames, or suspension parts.
- Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution can earn you an annual mean wage of up to $92,130. This is the highest-paying industry for welders, but the job requirements will require more than 5 years of experience and certification in handling and performing all welding processes, equipment, and inspection.
Keep in mind that these are mostly average salaries provided by statics, while things in practice can differ. You can find advertisements for jobs in industries such as Pipefitting or Nuclear welding that will pay more than $100.000 a year. With added bonuses and overtime work (more than 40 hrs a week), you can even reach $150.000. Boiler welders with 5-7 years of experience can make average of $62,000 and $82,600.
Top Paying Companies For TIG Welders
It is difficult to identify the top-paying companies for TIG welders as salaries can vary significantly based on factors such as location, industry, and experience. However, some companies that are known to hire TIG welders and offer competitive salaries include:
- Boeing: As one of the largest aerospace companies in the world, Boeing employs TIG welders to work on aircraft components and structures. Salaries for TIG welders at Boeing can range from around $21 to $40 per hour, depending on experience and location.
- SpaceX: As a leading space exploration company, SpaceX employs TIG welders to work on rocket engines and other components. Salaries for TIG welders at SpaceX can range from around $23 to $43 per hour, depending on experience and location.
- General Electric: As a multinational conglomerate with interests in aerospace, energy, and healthcare, General Electric employs TIG welders in a variety of industries. Salaries for TIG welders at General Electric can range from around $19 to $36 per hour, depending on experience and location.
- BAE Systems: As a defense and aerospace company, BAE Systems employs TIG welders to work on military aircraft components and structures. Salaries for TIG welders at BAE Systems can range from around $22 to $35 per hour, depending on experience and location.
- Caterpillar: As a leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, Caterpillar employs TIG welders to work on components such as frames, buckets, and booms. Salaries for TIG welders at Caterpillar can range from around $18 to $28 per hour, depending on experience and location.
Keep in mind that other industries and different companies can earn even more.
Top Paying States For TIG Welders
The average salary for TIG welders can vary significantly from state to state.
Most figures we find are based on average salaries and do not take into account factors such as experience, education, or welding job responsibilities, which can all affect a TIG welder’s salary.
If you are willing to move and pursue a high salary in TIG welding, ZipRecruiter recommends Tennessee, Hawaii, Nevada, Massachusetts, North Dakota, or Minnesota. 
These countries beat 4,7-8,4% of the national average salary of TIG welders. Countries like Alaska can pay up to $69,110 a year to their welders, but there is a catch. Harsh conditions do not work well with TIG welding, so it is not the highest-in-demand job there. It is the same for an underwater welder that makes higher salaries.
The lowest-paying countries for TIG welders are Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and North Carolina. These countries, on average, pay well under the national median salary, and close to lower border for TIG welders of approximately $29,300-$31,848 a year. The highest paying cities for TIG welders are Sunnyvale, CA, with Manhattan, NY, and Livermore. These offer the highest salaries among different regions in the US.
Related Salaries For TIG Welders
Comparison-wise, there are several careers that, according to BLS, earn an annual pay close to TIG welders. On the lower to mid-end of approximately $30,000 are assembler, laborer, and machine operator. Similarly, there are professions such as electrician, mechanic, or repairer, that are closer to the upper-end of TIG welder salary, with annual wages of over $50,000.
Like with welding, the salary can vary on many factors, such as state, experience or benefits. But if you are considering an alternative to TIG Welding, these are your similar-wage choices.
If you are looking for a job in the TIG welder category, you should consider a couple of roles such as RIG Welder, Per Diem RIG Welder, and Per Diem Welder. RIG welder can earn an annual salary of close to $83,360. Similarly, Per Diem RIG welders can earn close to $76,624 a year. That’s represented by an hourly wage of $36.84, or $1,473 weekly and $6,385 monthly. You can see it is pretty much well over the average, so you should consider it as a higher-salary alternative.
How Much Do You Earn As A TIG Welder After Paying Taxes
A TIG welder’s take-home pay after taxes will be less than their gross salary due to federal, state, and local income taxes, as well as other deductions such as Social Security and Medicare taxes. The specific amount will depend on the individual’s tax bracket, which is determined by their income level.
For example, an average TIG welder in New York can earn $46,860, so we can simply calculate the net income. If you make $46,860 a year as a TIG welder in New York, you will be taxed $9,814. That means that your net pay will be $37,046 per year or $3,087 per month. Your average tax rate is 20.9%, and your marginal tax rate is 26.0%. This marginal tax rate means that your immediate additional income will be taxed at this rate.
TIG Contracting Work
If you feel like company rules are too strict, or you don’t feel like working for someone, you can always start the TIG contracting work. The downside is that you will have to buy your own TIG welder and fabricating equipment. So if in need, you can always check our list of best TIG welders. However, today’s market is not so strict, so you don’t need to spend a fortune to get started.
But, like with any business, you’ll have to be ready to invest before you start. Soon enough, you can open your small fabrication shop or business, and start paying off the investment. According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly pay for an Independent Contractor Welder in the United States is $30.59 an hour. The majority of Independent Contractor Welder wages currently range between $16.59 (25th percentile) to $35.10 (75th percentile) across the United States. 
TIG welding is a highly skilled and rewarding career that offers competitive salaries across a variety of industries. The median annual salary for TIG welders is above the national average, and there are opportunities for advancement and specialization within the field.
While the job may require working in challenging environments and situations, those with a passion for welding and a dedication to safety and quality workmanship can find great success in this career. Additionally, there are several other skilled trades that offer similar salaries and career paths for those interested in pursuing a career in the trades.