Welders permanently join metals by fusing or melting the metal together. Pipeline welders install, connect and repair pipes. A pipeline welder may work on gas mains, water mains and sewer mains, according to the City of Duluth, Minn. Her work must be planned and accurate. A pipeline welder's salary depends on factors such as her location and the industry where she works.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics places pipeline welders under the category of "welders, cutters solderers and brazers." As of 2009, welders' average hourly pay was $17.61 and their average annual salary was $36,630, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pipeline welders in the 10th percentile earned $23,420 each year; those in the 25th percentile earned $28,300 each year; those in the 50th percentile earned $34,750 each year; those in the 75th percentile earned $42,420 each year; and those in the 90th percentile earned $52,420 each year, according to the BLS.
Salary by Location
In 2009, welder salaries in Alaska averaged higher than in any other state, at $61,550 per year. In Hawaii, the second-highest-paying state for welding jobs, average salaries were $52,210 in 2009. Average salaries were slightly lower in the District of Columbia, at $51,900 per year; in Wyoming, salaries averaged $46,690 per year. Washington rounded out the list, where pipeline welder salaries averaged $43,150 each year. The highest-paying metropolitan area for the welding occupation was Anchorage, Alaska, where welders earned $60,180 per year on average, the BLS reports.
Salary by Industry
In 2009, pipeline welders in the spectator sports industry sector earned the highest average salaries. Salaries in this sector averaged $61,830 per year. Salaries averaged $55,770 in the natural gas distribution industry. In the pulp, paper and paperboard mills industry sector, welders earned $54,640 per year on average. In electric power generation, transmission and distribution, salaries averaged $54,510 and in pipeline transportation of natural gas, average salaries fell to $54,150 each year. The industry sector with the highest level of employment was architectural and structural metals manufacturing, where 46,350 welders averaged $33,330 per year, the BLS reports.
Other factors that may impact a pipeline welder's earnings are her level of experience and her skill level. Experienced welders are likely to earn more than inexperienced welders. Also, if a welder's work is consistently done properly and people are consistently satisfied with her work, she is likely to earn a higher salary.