Career Outlook And Jobs In Underwater Welding

Underwater welding  jobs are perfect for anyone interested in the challenge of working underwater. To begin your new career, you will need to have both a certification in welding and diving. Your training will teach you the skills you need to enter this field successfully by providing you with practical methods of using welding equipment and how to maintain safety in an underwater environment.

Your Training

Training for underwater welding begins with earning your certifications. This process is typically begun by enrolling in a course designed specifically for commercial welding, but you will also need to attend a certified diving course before you can begin your new job. If you have experience as a welder, you will still need to obtain your diving certificate before entering the field. The training to become a professional commercial diver is about two years long, while the training for welding usually includes vocational training through a certified, recognized welding school.

diving and weldingCommercial diving is different than scuba diving, and most people with sports based certifications will need to obtain more advanced certifications before entering underwater diving jobs professionally. Commercial divers have specific training that ensures safety when working with underwater equipment that isn’t taught to those taking traditional scuba diving classes. To short cut your training, you may want to opt for a specialized course in underwater welding. With this type of training, you can earn your certification in just four to five months.

Career Outlook

The career outlook for underwater welding jobs is growing as more countries and companies look for natural resources, such as natural gas and oil, in the world’s oceans. Most jobs are located in the Gulf of Mexico for those living in the United States, but the career can take you anywhere that underwater welding is happening in the world. The pay rate varies depending on the type of job you are working on, with more complex jobs paying higher rates. The average starting salary for someone with a certification in commercial diving and welding is about $80,000 annually.

Deep water welding careers can pay up to $200,000 annually, depending on your experience and the job. Your previous experience with underwater welding can also impact your pay rate. Experienced divers often experience higher pay rates simply because they are more familiar with setting up and using deep water welding equipment. If you have opting for training through a commercial underwater welding school, you have the advantage of being familiar with most of the equipment and techniques used in the field.

Types of Underwater Welding Jobs Available

Underwater welding jobs take place both inland and in the ocean. Inland welders may work on commercial barges on rivers, or on bridges or dams that need repairs. You may travel extensively for your career to make inspections or repairs as needed. Some states require an annual testing of their infrastructure, ensuring there are many jobs available throughout the year for those certified to work in underwater welding. Jobs can vary substantially depending on your willingness to travel and work in oceans, rivers, and on federal dams and bridges.

Getting Started

If you are interested in underwater welding, you will want to begin by starting your training. There are opportunities for training in nearly all states in the United States, and some schools also offer financial aid to students who qualify, in addition to providing meals and dorms for students to use during training. You will want to make sure that you choose a school that is recognized by the American Welding Society to ensure your training is valid and recognized. Within a short time, you can begin your new underwater welding jobs with the right school.

Underwater Welding Salary, How Much Do Welders Make?

Underwater welding involves highly sophisticated technologies and procedures, and underwater welder-divers face certain risks. Because of these factors the salary is generally very good. The underwater welding salary will vary if the welding is in a lake, river or the sea, but the basic range can be anywhere from $15,000 to $200,000 per year, and in some high risk cases, more.

Most welder-divers are paid according to the project, and the salary will change according to the work availability. Other factors that determine the salary are the diving method, the depth at which the diver needs to work and the diving environment.

iStock_000002114440XSmall-400x282There are two types of underwater welding including wet welding and dry welding. Wet welding takes place in the water itself. Dry welding or hyperbaric welding takes place in a pressurized, enclosed container which is a dry environment that is submerged underwater. The term underwater welding usually refers to wet welding.

Welder-divers are certified welders as well as certified commercial divers. They can perform tasks under the sea according to the Underwater Welding Code. They can perform both wet and dry welding as well as other kinds of surface welding.

A certified welder who has no commercial diving experience will be required to be trained in a recognized commercial diving school. This program usually takes two years and participants begin as apprentices or helpers for other divers. During this time, the welder must gain enough experience in both wet and dry welding to pass the qualification test for certification to be in compliance with the Underwater Welding Code.

Certified SCUBA divers need special certification to become commercial divers. The safe use of commercial diving equipment and offshore commercial environmental safety is not included in sport diving training. Sports divers need to train for commercial diving and commercial divers need to train for underwater welding. There are many schools that train sports divers and other students for underwater diving to the Association of Diving Contractors standards. There is no age limitation for underwater welder-divers, but there is an annual dive physical that should be passed. There are rarely welder-divers over 50.

The various types of underwater industrial requirements use different diving procedures. Jobs will be available according to the training and certification of a particular diver. Some conditions for the availability of work are supply and demand, the economics of a particular industry, and the flexibility of the welder-diver to relocate residence, sometimes overseas.

Some of the skills required for most underwater welding projects are:

• Underwater cutting
• Inspection and nondestructive testing underwater
• Rigging and fitting
• Drafting
• Underwater photography
• Pre-job planning
• Work with the inspectors of the completed job

Welder-divers will have the future opportunity to become Certified Welding Inspectors, underwater welding and commercial diving instructors, superintendents and supervisors for company or project management positions and become consultants for underwater welding companies around the world. Two of the main companies that use underwater welders are oil companies for the offshore drilling platforms and ship building companies.

Welder-divers are also expected to continue training to know and be able to meet the standards for underwater welds as they change with new technology, safety standards, inspection methods, welding criteria and environmental factors.

Underwater welding has become a very popular career opportunity that offers an excellent salary. Welder-divers who have a lot of experience and do dangerous work will receive the highest salary. Another factor that affects the salary is the remoteness of the location of the work and the long working hours. This may mean the divers are away from their families for several months at a time. Welder-divers can make from $450 to $1000 per day.

Underwater Welding is a Challenging Occupation Filled with Opportunity

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.