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This is a very old debate. Unfortunately, there is no straight answer to this. Since working as an electrician or welder comes with its own perks as well as disadvantages.
You have to consider your own preferences in order to choose between these two careers. This article will give you an in-depth informative comparison between the work life of an electrician and welder.
Hopefully, it will help you choose which career path suits you. Let’s get started
Welding Vs Electrician: An In-depth Comparison
There are a few aspects of working as a welder and an electrician. These are discussed below:
Welding training does not usually take more than seven months. You have to go to classes once a week. But you will have to use the remaining class hour’s hands-on using equipment.
Electrical training also offers extensive practical training hours. But the later training includes more lecture hours.
2. Certification & Licensing Requirements
Welding is undoubtedly a promising career. Welding training that comes with certification shows that the welder’s skills are approved by a professional organization. It also states that the welder’s skill set meets the industry standard. This surely increases your chances of bagging a welding job and even a better pay.
For getting a job as an electrician, maximum states will require you to be licensed. You will also need to take a test and pass it for that license. Another thing to take note of is test types and rules are different in different states. So you have to know the regulations in your state to get a license.
You can contact the state electrical licensing board for that matter. You will have to pass the test in three steps- Local Electrical Code, State Electrical Code and then National Electrical Code.
Both welders and electricians may get trained and certified from vocational-technical schools or even community college. But maximum states require electricians to have a license. But there are no such requirements for welders.
3. Pay Scales & Industry Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) gives detailed information about both the jobs. The annual median pay for welders in 2012 was $36,300. Anticipated growth in this field through 2022 is nearly 6 percent.
On the other hand, the anticipated growth in the electrician job field by the year 2022 is almost 20 percent. For electricians, annual median pay was $49,840 in 2012.
The BLS stated that pay for electricians will increase by $114,700 and for welders, the amount is $20,800. The top 10% of electricians earned a whopping amount of $82,830 a year. On the other hand, welders managed to earn $56,130 a year.
4. Work Environments and Tools
There are similarities in both the welder’s and electrician’s work environment. Both of them have to work outdoors and indoors. They have to work in cramped environments. Also working overtime is pretty usual in both cases.
Around 61% welders got employed in manufacturing industries in 2012. And around 11% welders got into construction. 5% of them also managed to get into non-public administration service sectors.
Electricians usually find their jobs in electrical contractor or wiring installation contractor industries. 61% of electricians joined these two fields in 2012. And 9% of them were self-employed.
Welders are to work with equipment. They are to use certain tools for the actual welding work and some additional tools for safety. Apart from welding instruments, safety shoes, protective lenses, goggles, heat-resistant gloves etc are needed.
Electricians are to work with various tools as well. They have to have sound knowledge about the blueprint of the wiring they’re working on. Ammeters, voltmeters, harmonics testers, etc are common equipment that electricians are to use. Toolboxes with conduit benders, knives, pliers, wire strippers, saws, drills, screwdrivers in it a constant companion of electricians.
5. Average Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2010, the average salary for welders was $37,370 in the United States. 10% of them earn less than $23,940 and 90% of them earn more than $53,690 per year.
Electricians, on an average, earned more. Their wages range from $29,400 to $80,890.
As of 2010, architectural and structural manufacturing fields are great for welders. The average salary in this field is $34,000 a year. And the ones in agricultural, mining machinery or construction had earned around $36,220 per year. The workers in commercial and industrial machinery maintenance had earned around $36,480.
On the other hand, the electricians that the local government employed had earned around $55,480 per year. Workers in the building equipment field had earned almost $51,550 per year.
The workers in the employment services industry earned around $44,270. Spectators’ sports were the top-paying field for welders offering salary up to $64,690 per year on an average. On the other hand, tax preparation, accounting, payroll and bookkeeping were the fields that offered electricians the highest pay of $76,780 per year.
Alaska was ranked as the highest paying state for welders in 2010 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The estimated annual salary in this state was around $66,260.
Hawaii was ranked second-paying state by the bureau. Salary in this state was $53,910. Wyoming followed ranking third with an annual amount of $49,490
Alaska also ranked as the highest paying state offering a salary of $69,010 per year. Illinois came second in this rank with an average annual salary of $68,430.
Hawaii is third on this list. This state offered $67,990 annually for electricians.
Electricians not only have higher pay but they also enjoy a more comfortable working environment. According to the BLS, there was a 12% increase in opportunities in this field from 2008-2018. This happened because of population growth which eventually called for more buildings that needed electrical wiring. On the other hand, in welding, there was only a 2% increase in job opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is it better to be an electrician or a welder?
Answer: Electricians have a more comfortable working environment. Pay is also mostly better. In fact, becoming a welder is easier.
Q. Is certification necessary for electricians or welders to have a job?
Answer: Certificates are crucial particularly for electricians in most states. But in most cases, it is not a requirement for welders.
So we can all come to a conclusion that these two careers are quite similar with a few differences. The question which one to choose between Welding vs Electrician?
It’s more about what suits you better. Being an electrician, you will be paid you more but it comes with a tad bit harder training and the requirement of certification.
Also depending on your location, your decision can change. We hope this article was able to help you regarding this topic.