Underwater Welding – Guide To Schools and Jobs
Underwater welding is currently considered to be a lucrative, in-demand, high-paying and rewarding career. Those considering embarking upon this profession should understand that welding underwater requires an intensive combination of skills and training.
In order to be hired as an underwater welder, you must not only be a certified welder, but you must also be a commercial diver. Superior diving skills are essential to a career in underwater welding due to safety concerns. This is the first step to embarking upon an exciting career as an underwater welder.
Underwater Welding Training
Persons interested in a career in underwater welding can obtain necessary training by attending one of many excellent commercial diving schools. Many such schools provide a certificate of completion. Candidates will be required to pass a physical exam, and may also be required to pass a written examination as well. Due to the physical demands required by underwater welding, it is imperative that candidates be in peak physical condition. There are no age restrictions for underwater welders; however, you must be able to pass a dive physical on an annual basis.
Commercial Diving Schools
It is essential to note that the first requirement of getting started in this career field is to become certified as a commercial diver. Many prospective candidates often have questions regarding whether they can begin training as an underwater welder if they are certified as a scuba diver.
Sport drive training does not in any way include the safe and proper use of commercial diving equipment and also does not provide the necessary training for offshore commercial work safety and environment. Sport dive training or scuba training also does not provide the education recommended by the Association of Diving Contractors Consensus Standards for Commercial Diving Operations and thus would not be an acceptable substitute. If you are interested in pursuing a career in underwater welding, you must first become certified as a commercial diver.
Once a student has pass a commercial diving course, they should have a good idea regarding how comfortable they feel working underwater and whether they desire to proceed in the field of underwater welding. For those who do wish to continue along this career path, there are also many professional diving schools and companies which offer underwater welding training.
Underwater Welding Jobs
The chances of locating employment in the field of underwater welding are quite good. This is because the demand for workers skilled in this field is strong, although the need for underwater welders is subject to some fluctuations regarding supply and demand. Generally, the more experience you have, the more job opportunities will be available in the field of underwater welding.
Most new underwater welders should anticipate beginning their careers as an apprentice diver or a diver tender. The average amount of time required for this phase is two years for most candidates. Furthermore, most contractors or employers will require candidates to achieve a sufficient skill set in both dry and wet welding to remain certified.
It should be understood that even after being hired, most underwater welders will be required by their employer to continue enhancing their skills. This is done by passing specific qualification tests. For the most part, the better dry and wet welding kills an employee has, the more valuable they will be to their employer. Consequently, the higher rating and salary they will have as well.
An underwater welding salary of $100,000 per year are even more is not uncommon, especially for welders who are experienced and skilled. Most underwater welders are paid on a project basis. As such, a number of variables can impact one’s underwater welding salary, including diving environment, dive method, depth, etc.
The qualifications for underwater welding jobs and projects can vary from one job to another. Along with the need to possess common underwater welding skills, other required skills may include the following:
• Underwater cutting
• Underwater rigging and fitting
• Underwater welding inspection
• Nondestructive testing for underwater welds
• Underwater photography
The most in-demand underwater welders are those who are able to assist the contractor or employer in pre-project planning. This means they will be able to cut as well as clean and rig; install and fit-up the necessary sections that will be welded. Valuable underwater welders will also be able to work well with other personnel who are responsible for inspecting the welds that have been completed.
Skilled and experienced underwater welders will also find there are a number of advanced career opportunities available. The underwater welding industry, as a whole, has continued to expand and now required higher quality skills and standards for welds completed underwater. As a result, there are now more and more certification opportunities for underwater welding personnel. It is anticipated that such demands will continue to offer challenges for the underwater welding industry and community on order to meet a growing complexity of technical specifications, inspection methods, welding criteria, safety standards and environmental factors.
Many underwater welders will go on to become instructors, engineers, superintendents, diving operation supervisors and AWS Certified Welding Inspectors. Others choose to work as consultants within underwater welding projects and operations.
Underwater Welding Schools In Your State
Summary of Underwater Welding
Underwater welding can be a highly rewarding and lucrative career opportunity for individuals who are willing to obtain the necessary skills and training. Underwater welding salaries of at least $100,000 are not uncommon within this career field, especially for underwater welders who are willing to continue advancing their skills, training and qualifications. Advanced career opportunities are also available within this field, including employment opportunities within the supervising, inspecting and management fields.