Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Do Welders Really Make More Than Philosophers?

Marco Rubio probably should have picked on someone other than philosophers. At the fourth GOP debate on Tuesday night, the Florida senator argued in favor of vocational education by underscoring its paycheck perks. "For the life of me I don't know why we stigmatize vocational education," Rubio said. "Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders than philosophers."
Nothing against welders — or vocational education — but that isn't true at all. Matt Yglesias, a Vox writer and former philosophy major, did the research and it turns out Rubio was about $30,000 off. The average annual wage for philosophy majors is $71,350. Welders, on the other hand, only make an average annual wage of $40,040.
Sorry, Marco.    Becca Stanek


  1. Oh...When I first read the title I thought it said... "Do welders really make more sense than philosophers?"

    To that I was going to answer... meh... probably.

    1. In one of his speeches he said "We need more welders and less philosophers." Proving that we really need more English teachers.

  2. Starting just out of high school with only basic welding skills, you are looking at $10, $12 or $14 an hour. Underwater welding also pays well, but it depends on where you’re working. Garber, from the Commercial Diving Academy, says commercial divers doing “inland” work on bridges and powerplants mostly make $40,000 to $50,000 a year, but some make $60,000 or even $70,000 if they get a lot of overtime.

    Work “offshore” on an oil rig, though, and you probably will start out at $60,000, Garber says. After a few years, you could make $100,000 or more. “But that’s a different type of career,” he says. On an oil rig, you usually work 12 hours on, 12 hours off, every day for six weeks, then you come back to dry land for a week. It’s not for everyone.

    Generally, “the more types of welding you master the more you can earn,” says Richard Seif. He’s the senior vice president of global marketing at Lincoln Electric, Cleveland, which makes all kinds of welding equipment and offers welding training.

    If you have math and science skills, going to college to become a welding engineer just about guarantees good pay—more than $50,000 a year to start and thousands more a year after that, Seif says.

    1. I can see numerous places for a welder to get a job. Numerous types of welding to upgrade skills and make more money.

      Just curious how many opportunities there are for philosophers.

      One thing that is far more important, not everyone is suited to college to obtain the required degree.

      As a side note is this a dis against Rubio who was trying to make a point which isn't necessarily about money but more about the ability of those that may not be suited to college to actually have a decent career.

      What would a person with a philosophy degree actually do outside of teaching?

    2. I think Rubio is building on an idea that I believe Santorum concretized not long ago. There is something logical in the point he is making, welding is a concrete skill that people understand. Philosophy, on the other hand, is some ivory tower bullshit where the "liberal elites" reside. I readily admit, college is not for everyone and if I had only one shot to go to college at age 18, I would have failed miserably and would have been looking for a trade job of some kind. In the 80's, trade jobs paid well. Today, not so much.

      While I agree Rubio is making a somewhat valid point, I am a little concerned about what I feel is a subtle push to devalue the perception that higher education is important. The left, to me, oversells all education as being equal, and I don't believe that. Technology, Science and Medical avenues do lead to good paying jobs. The basic liberal arts or psychology degree? maybe not so much. As I've gone through my bachelor and masters level nursing education, I've seen a host of statistics regarding the kind of life that is typical for those who have only a high school level of education, they will make considerably less money than those with a college education, and they will statistically have much poorer health. They will likely smoke and engage in a host of unhealthy behaviors. That's not speculation. Additionally, many of them will also have poor health literacy and have a difficult time understanding instructions that are provided to them by health care providers.

      At a time when we are not building very much, and when we are not very willing to commit much money to infrastructure projects, I'm wary of encouraging people to seek those jobs. Of course, this can be misconstrued as an elitist view that I somehow don't think those honest jobs are good jobs. I don't believe that at all. If we are going to start to pay a wage for those jobs that allows for the ability to achieve a stable and secure life, I'm all for it. However, I feel a cynical and borderline sinister push to get more and more people to accept that our massive wage inequality is acceptable.

  3. I had a friend whose son joined the Navy and learned to do underwater welding. After being discharged, he had a very successful career as a welder.

  4. Maybe he meant that the salaries made by all welders combined is greater than that of all philosophers combined, which is certainly true.