Rich in cultural history, delicious food and a heaping helping of Southern charm, Mississippi is characterized by small-town living on the low-lying plains and bayous that make up most of the state.
Here you’ll find a wealth of outdoor activities to keep you busy and a hard-working, patriotic spirit that residents are proud of.
Historically built on agriculture, the state is known for major exports like cotton and soybeans. In more recent years, a growing manufacturing sector that produces everything from automobiles to machinery has attracted big-name employers like Nissan, Toyota and General Electric.
With a low cost of living and a high prevalence of jobs in the skilled trades, Mississippi could be the perfect spot to launch your welding career. Here, learn more about how much welders make in Mississippi and the best industries to pursue if you’re looking for a welding job here.
In general, salaries are lower than average in Mississippi for most jobs (the average welding salary is 12% below the national average welding salary for all states, which is around $42,400 a year), but the cost of living is also comparatively much lower. Multiple sources rank Mississippi as the number one most affordable state in the nation.
The cost of housing, for example, is about half the national average, with an average home price of $128,600. Transportation and other household expenses are also significantly cheaper here.
In addition to being able to stretch your paycheck farther, another upside to pursuing welding jobs in Mississippi is that they’re more readily available than in other places.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics gives Mississippi a location quotient of 1.88 for welding jobs. This means it has close to double the concentration of welding jobs per welder than the country as a whole.
If you’re looking to get a welding job in Mississippi, you’ll have the most luck in one of these thriving industries.
A strong, skilled labor market, ample workforce training opportunities and favorable business incentives have enticed a number of major employers to establish manufacturing hubs in Mississippi. The industry accounts for 16% of the state’s gross domestic product, producing an output of more than $18 billion a year.
The automotive industry is a particularly big player, with factories like the Toyota plant in Blue Springs and the Nissan plant in Canton employing several thousand workers each.
Hybrid Plastics in Hattiesburg is one of the top ten nanotechnology companies in the United States, while Laurel-based Howard Industries is the largest transformer manufacturer in the country.
Welders play a key role in manufacturing operations. In fact, 60% of all welding jobs are based in the manufacturing sector. Welders not only produce many of the components of the products being made, but build and maintain the machinery and tools used on the production line as well.
Welding’s speed, cost-effectiveness and wide range of applications make it the ideal joining method of choice for assembling products, and as a result, certified welders in Mississippi will have their pick of manufacturing jobs.
Missippi’s location on the Gulf Coast and along the river that bears its name make it a prime location for some of the country’s premiere shipbuilding operations. The state’s history in the industry dates back to the 1700’s, buoyed by its deepwater ports, numerous inland waterways and position as a hub of commerce and trade for the French, British and more.
Pascagoula-based Huntington Ingalls, which is the state’s largest private employer, is a titan in the field, responsible for fabricating 70% of the U.S. Navy’s fleet of warships. Nearby VT Halter Marine is the largest builder of medium-sized vessels in the world. The state is also home to more than 30 other shipbuilding related firms that collectively employ more than 23,000 people.
Welders in the shipbuilding industry have the high-stakes job of helping make sure seafaring vessels are built to withstand the pressures of ocean navigation. They work on boats of all sizes, from small personal watercraft to megayachts and aircraft carriers.
Their work often takes place in nontraditional environments, like cramped in the tight hull of a ship or even underwater. Much of the welding work in the shipbuilding field is done while submerged to save on the expenses associated with taking the craft out of the water.
Mississippi is a booming spot for power production and distribution, with a range of energy resources including coal, oil, natural gas, and biomass. The state is home to the largest single-unit nuclear reactor in the country and boasts more than 13,000 miles of interstate pipeline that carries crude oil, natural gas and refined petroleum to destinations around the U.S.
Together with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Mississippi Development Authority offers more than $500,000 in annual commercial grant funding to help businesses complete energy retrofits like lighting, heating and energy systems control, which drives smaller projects in the sector.
From the offshore oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico to Chevron’s Pascagoula refinery and beyond, the state’s energy sector calls for talented welders who can keep the state’s network of pipelines up and running to deliver energy resources to hundreds of thousands of customers.
In addition to working on pipelines and rigs, welders play an essential role in the maintenance of power plants and the construction of green energy devices like wind turbines.
Take a step up from the average welding base pay with these high-paying Mississippi welding jobs.
As we touched on a moment ago, pipe welders are a constant fixture in the energy industry, responsible for building and repairing the complex networks of pipelines that fuel our communities.
But pipe welders don’t just work in the energy sector; they’re also employed by other utilities like water companies, in the construction field laying the plumbing for buildings and other structures, and by state and local governments.
The average pipe welding salary in Mississippi is $60,500 a year, with the highest earners commanding incomes of $100,000 or more. The challenging nature of pipeline work and the inclement conditions in which welders must sometimes perform make it one of the most lucrative jobs in the welding field.
If you’re looking for a career that’s a bit farther off the beaten path, a job as an underwater welder might be right up your alley. This role combines welding with SCUBA diving to join metal components while submerged in water.
With so many bodies of water in Mississippi–lakes, rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico, to name a few–and such a prominent maritime industry, underwater welding skills are in high demand. Shipbuilding, salvage, decking, engineering and repair companies are among the top types of employers with a need to hire commercial divers.
The average salary for underwater welders in Mississippi is $73,500. Real go-getters in the field can bring home $90,000 a year or more.
One welding career path we haven’t yet touched on is the field of nondestructive testing (NDT). NDT technicians inspect welds and other components of structures that can’t easily be examined by taking them apart. A knowledge of welding will give you a solid foundation upon which to build a career in the NDT field.
NDT technicians use various non-invasive testing methods like visual inspection, electromagnetic, liquid penetrant, ultrasonic and radiographic testing to identify discontinuities in materials before they cause a problem.
Nondestructive testing is vital in industries where public safety is a primary concern, like energy, infrastructure, aviation and transportation.
Nondestructive testing personnel are classified within one of three levels based on their level of education and experience. The average salary for a Level II NDT technician–the middle level–in Mississippi is $69,000 a year.
The top 10% of professionals in the field earn $80,000 or more annually, and level III technicians can make even more.
Welding inspectors often start as CWIs, then move onto other NDT methods in their career. The American Welding Society and American Society for Nondestructive Testers both have a reciprocal agreement with the ASNT Central Certification Program (ACCP) for their CWI certification program.
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