|Underwater Welders: A Quick Look|
|Median Salary||$54,880 per annum|
|Primary employers||Construction Firms|
|Number of positions (U.S.)||3,480|
|Job Growth (2012-2022)||6%|
|New positions (2012-2022)||209|
Becoming An Underwater WelderThe job outlook for underwater welders is competitive: Underwater welding can be an extremely lucrative career, but jobs in the United States are limited. As more jobs open up, especially in underwater oil drilling, more jobs will become available. You can find out more about How to Begin a Professional Career as an Underwater Welder here. Read more.
Underwater Welder Salary
The underwater welder salary varies greatly depending upon whether the welder works on inland projects or offshore rigs. It is also dependent upon the experience level of the underwater welder and the extra certifications he has earned. Underwater welders who work inland normally earn an income between $40,000 and $50,000 per year. Divers who work in the oil rig business (offshore oil rigs) may earn a starting salary of $100,000. The typical average for all underwater welders sits around $54,880 according to a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2012.
How To Become An Underwater Welder
How To Become An Underwater WelderSince an underwater welder will be working under the surface of the water, commercial diving certification is required. Since an underwater welder must know how to weld, completing a certified welder program and then obtaining certification through the American Welding Society is required. After these prerequisites are met, the candidate must then attend underwater welding school, which may take six months up to two years to complete. After this is completed, the individual must become an apprentice, also called a diver tender, in order to obtain experience in the field. The American Welding Society recommends that anyone interested in becoming an underwater welder consult with the prospective employer to determine what additional requirements may exist in order to work with that particular employer.
How long does it take to become an underwater welder? The time to become trained and certified to be an underwater welder varies greatly from person to person based upon the training program they choose. Obtaining the needed trainings, passing certification testing successfully, and completing the diver tender apprenticeship can take several years from start to finish.
Underwater welders do not need to attend an undergraduate school or obtain a degree in order to become certified. The beginning requirement for underwater welders is a high school diploma. The training required for an underwater welder is demanding, as the field of underwater welding is a dangerous occupation requiring numerous certifications and specialized skills.
The typical underwater welder must obtain their training and certification as a basic welder. They also must obtain their commercial diving certification. From there, the student must attend underwater welding classes and then undergo a two year apprenticeship program where they are considered a diver tender. After this step, the individual may pursue employment as a regular underwater welder dependent upon any additional certifications or trainings that employer may require.
An underwater welder is certified as a welder as well as a commercial diver. They may then pursue certification as an underwater welder. Typically a student who has completed their training and obtained their certification then undergoes a two year apprenticeship program.
There is no requirement for licensing to be an underwater welder at this time. Underwater welders require numerous certifications in order to become employed as an underwater welder and to maintain their credentials.
Underwater Welder Job Description
What is an underwater welder? Underwater welders take the welding occupation to a whole new depth: Working underneath the surface of the water. Underwater welders perform the routine tasks of welders in an entirely new environment, making the task much more difficult. Although underwater welding does not require earning a college degree, the journey to certification as an underwater welder requires several major steps: Underwater welders must be certified in the field of welding, commercial diving and underwater welding.
Underwater welders may work in an inland environment (welding in an underwater location such as an inland lake) or in an offshore setting, typically deep-sea locations such as oil drilling rigs. There are several major locations where employment for underwater welders in the United States is concentrated, among them Louisiana, Texas, California and South Carolina. International job sites exist, so an underwater welder may consider traveling to job sites as a way to market himself for more job opportunities.
Although full time employment is available from certain employers, underwater welders also find employment working on individual projects. It is not uncommon for an underwater welder to find a lucrative job opportunity working on a project in international waters, and then, upon completion, traveling to another location to work on another project. This type of employment is a good fit for individuals who are interested in seeing different parts of the world while working in challenging situations.
- Welding in underwater environment
- Deep-sea diving
- Underwater cutting, rigging, fitting and installation
- Inspection and testing
- Underwater photography
- Assisting contractor in planning repairs and construction projects
Alternative Job Titles
Another name for an underwater welder is a hyperbaric welder, referring to someone qualified to weld at elevated pressures, which normally means in an underwater environment. They also can be referred to as wet welders or offshore welders.
The job outlook for underwater welders is good, with more jobs becoming available as oil drilling is allowed off the coast of the United States. Underwater welders desiring lucrative oil drilling jobs must be open to the possibility of working in international waters in order to increase their employment opportunities. Prospective underwater welders should also consider additional training such as underwater photography and other specialty training to increase their desirability as candidates for employment. The Bureau officially reports a growth of only 6% among all welders between the years 2012 through 2022. This should result in roughly 209 new positions within the field of Underwater Welding.