RIG Welder Salary & How to Become RIG Welder: Definitive Guide

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RIG welders are highly skilled professionals who play a critical role in constructing, repairing, and maintaining oil rigs and other offshore structures. These workers are responsible for welding together metal components with precision and accuracy, often in challenging and hazardous conditions. As such, RIG welders are well compensated for their expertise and dedication, with salaries varying significantly depending on various factors. Let’s find out more about RIG welder salary.

This guide will delve into the ins and outs of RIG welder salary, including what you can expect to earn as a RIG welder, how your salary compares to others in the industry, and how you can maximize your earning potential.

What is the Average RIG Welder Salary?

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers was $44,420 as of May 2022. Due to their work’s demanding and specialized nature, RIG welders tend to earn higher salaries.

As of January 2023, ZipRecruiter reports an average RIG welder salary of $71,500. Salary data for RIG welders nationwide was compiled from thousands of job postings.

RIG Welder Salary Comparison

As you can see from the chart above, RIG welder salary can vary significantly depending on the location. RIG welders in Texas and Louisiana tend to earn the highest salaries, while those in other parts of the country may earn less.

It’s also worth noting that RIG welder salary can fluctuate based on the type of rig and the specific project. The salaries of welders who work on offshore oil rigs may be higher than those who work on land-based rigs, for instance. Similarly, welders working on larger, more complex projects may earn more than those working on smaller jobs.

Also Read: How to Convert 3 Phase to Single Phase 220v

Factors That Affect RIG Welder Salary

Several factors can impact the salary of a RIG welder. Some of the most significant include:


As with most occupations, RIG welders with more experience earn higher salaries. This is because they have likely honed their skills and can tackle more complex projects, leading to increased demand and higher pay.

Education and Training

While it’s not always necessary to have a formal education to become a RIG welder, many employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed a welding program at a vocational school or community college. These programs can provide valuable training and help welders develop the skills needed to succeed in the field.


Many RIG welders choose to earn certifications to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise. The American Welding Society (AWS) offers a variety of certifications for welders, including the Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) and the Certified Welding Educator (CWE). These certifications can lead to higher salaries and more job opportunities.


As we saw earlier, a RIG welder’s location can significantly impact their salary. Welders working in areas with high service demand, such as Texas and Louisiana, may earn higher salaries than those working in other parts of the country. The cost of living in a particular area can also affect RIG welders’ salaries. For example, welders working in cities with high living costs, such as San Francisco or New York, may need to earn higher salaries to maintain a similar standard of living as those working in more affordable areas.

Ways to Increase Your RIG Welder Salary

If you’re a RIG welder looking to increase your salary, there are several steps you can take:

Gain more experience

Experience is a key factor in determining RIG welder salary. To increase your experience, you can seek out more challenging projects and take on additional responsibilities. You can also consider becoming a supervisor or manager, which can lead to higher salaries.

Earn certifications

As mentioned earlier, certifications can be a valuable way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise as a RIG welder. Consider earning certifications such as the CWI or CWE, which can lead to higher salaries and more job opportunities.

Consider working in higher-paying locations.

If you’re willing to relocate, you may be able to increase your salary by moving to an area with a high demand for RIG welders. Keep in mind, however, that the cost of living in these areas may also be higher.

Keep learning and improving: The welding industry is constantly evolving and staying up-to-date on new technologies and techniques can help you stay competitive and increase your earning potential. Consider taking additional training courses or earning advanced degrees to stay ahead of the curve.

RIG Welder Salary comparison in different locations

Depending on the location, rig welder salaries can vary greatly. Here is a comparison of the average annual salary for rig welders in some different locations in the US:

  • Houston, Texas: $62,000 – $95,000
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: $58,000 – $82,000
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: $58,000 – $82,000
  • Denver, Colorado: $62,000 – $95,000
  • Williston, North Dakota: $75,000 – $110,000
  • Anchorage, Alaska: $80,000 – $120,000

It’s worth noting that these are just averages. The salary for rig welders can also be influenced by factors such as experience, level of education, certifications, and the specific employer.

It is also important to consider the cost of living in the area when comparing the salary. For example, a salary of $75,000 in Williston, North Dakota, may not go as far as a salary of $62,000 in Houston, Texas, due to the higher cost of living in the former.

It is also important to note that these numbers are not very recent, and the current salary for rig welders might have changed. It is always a good idea to check the current job market and consult with professional recruiters to get a more accurate idea of the current salary.

What are the Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for RIG Welder Jobs

Here is a table that lists the top 10 highest-paying cities for RIG welder jobs, along with the corresponding monthly and annual salaries:

City Monthly Salary Annual Salary

  • Houston $6,041 $72,492
  • New Orleans $5,917 $71,004
  • Baton Rouge $5,702 $68,424
  • Corpus Christi $5,594 $67,128
  • Galveston $5,488 $65,856
  • Tulsa $5,417 $65,004
  • Lake Charles $5,375 $64,500
  • Beaumont $5,292 $63,504
  • Port Arthur $5,250 $63,000
  • Lafayette $5,208 $62,496

Please note that these salary estimates are based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and may vary depending on various factors, such as the specific employer, the individual’s experience and education, and the demand for RIG welders in a particular area. These estimates should be a rough guide rather than a definitive source of salary information.

How to become a RIG Welder

RIG Welder Salary
RIG Welder Salary

Becoming a rig welder typically involves a combination of education, training, and on-the-job experience. Here are the general steps to becoming a rig welder:

  1. Complete a High School education or equivalent.
  2. Getting a welding certification is not mandatory but will increase your chances of getting hired.
  3. Enroll in a welding program at a vocational school or community college. Rig welders typically learn the skills they need through welding programs that last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.
  4. Gain experience through on-the-job training. Many employers will hire entry-level rig welders and provide on-the-job training.
  5. Obtain certification from the American Welding Society (AWS) or another welding certification organization. While not always required, improving job prospects and increasing earning potential are recommended.
  6. Continuously update and upgrade your skills. Rig welding is a field that requires continuous learning and upgrading of skills.
  7. Look for job opportunities in the oil, gas, and mining industries, as well as in construction, shipbuilding, and repair.

It is also important to note that rig welding can be physically demanding, and it’s a field that requires good hand-eye coordination, physical stamina, and the ability to work at heights.

Final Thoughts

RIG welders are highly skilled professionals essential to the oil and gas industry. These workers are well compensated for their expertise, with salaries varying significantly depending on various factors. By gaining experience, earning certifications, and staying up-to-date on industry trends, RIG welders can increase their earning potential and secure a rewarding career in this exciting field.

I hope this article provides a comprehensive and detailed look at RIG welder salary and helps you understand how you can increase your earning potential in this field. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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About the author

Rashal A.

I'm Rashal, a professional welder, who works in this industry since 2012. I'm here to share my experience with you. Hope you like my effort.

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