People looking for an exciting career opportunity that offers challenges and the opportunity to see the world should consider becoming an underwater welder. Underwater welding requires the individual to acquire a unique skill set that involves becoming a commercial diver and learning to weld on land before combining these two highly advanced disciplines. Work for an underwater welder can be had nearly anywhere around the world, making the question of how to become an underwater welder one that many people are eager to answer.
The First Steps To A Career In Underwater Welding
Often the first step that individuals take toward becoming an underwater welder is to achieve a certification as a commercial diver. Being an experienced SCUBA diver is not sufficient training to meet the demands of commercial diving. A commercial diving program teaches students how to use commercial diving equipment and how to function skillfully in an underwater work environment. Comprehensive safety techniques are covered as well. At the end of the course the student receives a certification that allows them to meet half of the prerequisites to enter an underwater welding education program.
The other half of the prerequisites to becoming an underwater welder occurs when the individual becomes a certified welder on land. The American Welding Society offers a highly reputable program, but there are other welding schools that have received accreditation that can also provide a quality education. At the completion of the program the student will receive their certification as a welder and will be qualified to attend an underwater welding program.
The student may spend anywhere from 6 months to 2 years in the underwater welding school. Each program varies slightly, but most students can expect to become familiar with subjects like techniques for safe underwater welding, nondestructive testing, rigging and cutting, inspection, underwater rigging, common weld defects and underwater photography. These programs offer intensive training that provides a majority of the basic skills and knowledge required to gain entry level employment. However, the skills and experience required will vary from one employer to the next and even from one work site to the next. Consequently, the underwater welder can expect to be required to maintain and renew their skills throughout their career.
Upon Completion Of Underwater Welding Training
Upon completion of the underwater welder program the student typically enters an apprenticeship period where they are most often given the title of a diver tender. This on the job training provides valuable real world experience that will prove indispensable as the underwater welder advances in their career. Eventually the apprenticeship period comes to an end and the diver welder becomes an expert in their field. It is now that salaries and job opportunities tend to proliferate.
On average a welder diver can expect to earn an attractive salary. These typically range from $100,000 to $200,000 per year. That amount can fluctuate depending upon the projects to which the welder diver is attached, the location of the project and the type of diving required for the project. Many welder divers continue with their profession for many years. Others seek advancement as project supervisors, quality control specialists and trainers. Regardless, demand for professionals with such skills is expected to remain high for many years.
Learning how to become an underwater welder is just the first step toward entering an exciting and diverse career field. The welder diver may travel to exotic locations to perform their work and they may become involved in groundbreaking engineering projects with historical significance. Though a great deal of training is required to become an underwater welder most of these professionals feel that the attractive salaries and interesting work make the educational period worthwhile.