Salary & Job Role of a Rig Welder

If you stop and think about it, our co-existing with a PLETHORA of resources is so normal in our day-to-day because they’re just right there: beneath our feet.


And these resources are gathered through many, many methods, but, one, in particular, is much more common.


Huge equipment does the work of drilling into huge chunks of minerals while miners look over the entire thing mining process.

As those guys run the “important stuff” in these operations, you’ll need one more person in the crew to keep everything from blowing up to hell and back!

And that’s what rig welders are for!

Job Description of Rig Welders?

These guys are what you’d call “undercover”. Not as a secret spy, no.

As in, they work from the sidelines, yet at the same time, they have the ENTIRE place resting on their capable hands!

Welders, in general, are already important in any industrial or construction setting.

And in the hazard personified that is your location, rig welders will play a significant role in keeping things in tip-top shape!

They check on the miners’ equipment for any leaks, and go ahead and repair any damage themselves—you know it!

Using some of the basic welding techniques, they can weld corrosion-resistant alloys on metal effectively (through gas tungsten arc welding), and fill out any holes or growing defects along the pipeline (through shielded metal arc welding)!

But although they get overshadowed more by the abundance of resources around them, rig welders will still be prone to all kinds of injuries, like the rest of the crew.

So you have to wonder: how much money are they making to keep working at a place like that?

How Much Do Rig Welders Make?

So, we have the average wage for welders in a year, which is around $50,000.

That’s pretty hefty already, right?

Well, for rig welders, you’ll be looking at somewhere between $40,000 (maybe $50,000 if your employer’s generous) to $70,000.

And what’s so wild about that is that’s what you get when you’re still a BEGINNER!

Just imagine: if you stay working there for long enough, improve your skills even further, and learn new techniques to make you much more efficient, that amount of money will surely hike up!

And that 70 grand will look like a speck compared to the $100,000 up to $200,000 you’ll get for being a veteran rig welder!

But before you can get to those six digits, you’ll need to be trained on the ropes of the operation because even though you’ve graduated from an excellent welding school and got yourself a certificate to prove it, learning under the expert is on a whole other level.

So respect those who know better than you, and consider yourself lucky to have them hand over the mantle to you.

Why the High Price?

Good money’s hard to come by these days. Great money, even more.

So why the heck are you going to be paid a hefty sum for a trip down the mines? What’s the catch?

Well, first off, being in the mines isn’t as simple as what cartoons make it out to be where you hit your pickaxe on something then, bam! A diamond breaks off!

Mining in real life is far more complicated than that.  And not to mention: extremely dangerous!

Down there with rocks, and rocks, and more rocks all around you, just standing there is enough reason to be wary because, well, no one can predict when one of those things is going to come off the ceiling or cause a rock to slide.

Of course, you’ll be wearing your complete PPE to fit the environment, but still!  Having all that huge equipment in place might get damaged if something goes wrong. 

That’s why you have to be on your toes the entire time because keeping everything ship-shaped is in your hands!

And that kind of responsibility can be extremely taxing on anyone.

But rig welding isn’t complete without any amount of stress, so you’ll have to learn how to work together with your fellow rig welders for the support you need.

So not only will it be physically exhausting, that kind of exhaustion can worm its way inside your head and affect your welding performance if remained unchecked.

That’s not even counting the oil rig welding yet!

How Much Do Rig Welders earn

This is why employers (or the government, for oil rig welders) compensate rig welders heavily because not everyone’s down to get their hands dirty like that.

Final Words

Rig welding is a tough practice that no one would ever see themselves doing it.

Hopefully, now that you’ve seen a glimpse of the life of rig welders, your career paths should be much more filtered down by either adding this to the list or by crossing it out, which is understandable. 

But if the pay is great (and you’re supported by a butt-load of insurance), then why not, right?

Want to pursue a degree in welding? Check out the article to find the best schools of welding in Georgia, New Arizona, New Jersey, and San Antonio.

Leave a Comment