Underwater Welding Jobs

Underwater welding requires that the welder combine welding skills with commercial diving and some other qualifications in order to fully perform his/her job which can sometimes be very interesting. This job which involves the handling of heavy equipment designed especially for the setting of the job (underwater), requires professionals who know both welding and are good at deep-sea diving.

It is no surprise therefore that the main qualification every underwater welder must possess is the Underwater Specialist Training Program, offered exclusively through the Commercial Diving Academy. Also, with the nature of the job, certifications in this job must be currently updated by passing periodic examinations which seek to refresh the skills of the underground welder.

Underwater welding salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics as of May, 2016, underwater welders generally have an average (mean) hourly wage of $25.96 with average salary of approximately $53,990. In addition to that, welders in the top percentile (90%) can be expected to make at least $83,730 annually

An underwater welder salary is often a combination of four distinct factors:

  • Experience of the underwater welder
  • The company or employer under which he/she works
  • Location of work
  • Depth of the dive
underwater welding jobs
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Other factors that can affect the salary of the underwater welder are the length of the project (since work is typically on a project basis) and types of dive methods employed and the hazard levels.

But whether a company decides to use the wet or dry underwater welding techniques, it is important to note the relationship between underwater welding and the oil and gas industry.

Underwater welding requirements

Underwater welding as has been discussed above combines welding skills which are normally done on land with commercial diving. And because of the nature of the job, you can become an undergraduate welder by either completing the Commercial Diving Academy’s highly specialized program or getting both your skilled welding and your commercial diving certificates independently.

Many schools offer the Commercial dive certification program. This program, however, has special requirements which must be undertaken and cannot be overlooked regardless of the number of years of experience the applicant has.

This is because qualification for this certification entails that the diver demonstrates a complete mastery and understanding of different skills including the ability to properly use a wide variety of commercial grade equipment, understanding of hyperbaric chamber operations, emergency procedures, underwater inspections, diving physiology, and communication.

underwater welding salary
Jayme Pastoric [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Generally, underwater welders work with different equipment and are expected to perform the following duties:

  • Underwater cutting
  • Inspection and non-destructive testing
  • Underwater photography
  • Drafting
  • Fitting and rigging

Other underwater welders play the role of assistant to the project manager whose major duty is to plan and execute projects. Undergraduate welders are also expected to have good interpersonal and communication skills so as to be able to work well with the rest of the team.

The standard welding skills required by an underwater welder is rated at AWS D3.6 and this encompasses the knowledge and abilities relating to weld set up skills and preparation. Training in this field which is recognized worldwide is exclusively given by the U.S. Commercial Diving Academy.

And despite the fact that the occupation has no age limits, underwater welders must be physically fit and in good health condition. As such, most companies require that prospective candidates pass a series of physical examinations.

Generally, becoming an underwater welder requires that you possess the following:

  • High school Diploma or GED
  • Commercial Diving Certification
  • AWS Certified Welding Training

Where are underwater welders/divers employed?

Employment by State: Bureau of Labor Statistics
underwater welding jobs
Employment by Metropolitan Area: Bureau of Labor Statistics

If underwater welding and commercial diving sound like careers you’d be interested in make sure to check out our list of the best schools for training and certification!

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