Welding is a very diverse career choice with countless industries requiring the services of professional and highly trained welders. One of the most specialized career paths is that of a diver-welder and on this page you will find out exactly what it takes to become one and where to go for courses.
Many welders look at this very unique path for numerous reasons:
- Significantly higher pay
- More welding project opportunities
- Highly specialized training
- Extended job prospects outside of welding
- And maybe even a little adventure
No matter what your personal reason is for coming to this page you need to know a few things before you get started:
Yes, training is highly specialized and exciting, but it is also very expensive.
Yes, your pay will be much higher with more projects available, but this does come at the cost of being exposed to a higher degree of risk.
This is not meant to scare you off, but we believe that it is important to highlight all the aspects of what is involved in becoming a diver-welder. So, let’s get started.
Underwater Welding Education Requirements
In order to become an underwater welder you will require two things:
- Commercial Diving Certification
- Wet Welding Certification (AWS D3.6M)
Many people go down the career path of welder-diver starting out with one of the above two certifications. The most expensive part of the certifications is the commercial diving part, which will open a lot more doors than just underwater welding.
There are underwater welding schools that combine both the diving and welding aspects into one course, so if you are just starting to plan your career and have no official certification, then choosing one of those schools would probably be your best option. This will bring you to a one-stop shop meaning you do not have to go to different schools to get full certification.
How Much Will This Cost?
As mentioned above, commercial diving certification is not cheap. You will need to be prepared to pay at least $14,000 to complete training to a certifiable standard. Unless you happen to live near a commercial diving school you will also have to factor in room and board for the duration of the course. However, the return on this investment is quite substantial.
Some schools and states will have financial assistance programs available should you require it. Alternatively you could pursue such training through the US Navy where you could receive all the training and certification possible in return for a commitment to a certain amount of service years.
How Much Does A Welder-Diver Earn?
As with all welding projects there are significant differences in income based on the nature of the project. Projects at sea and in significant depth, e.g. offshore oil platforms, will come with much higher wages than shallow water on-shore jobs. The main factors that determine pay ultimately sum up the risk by taking into account the depth, type of weld, dive method and diving environment. That being said, annual wages of between $100,000 and $200,000would be expected and normal in this profession.
What Are The Physical Requirements?
While there are no specified age limits for commercial divers you will be required to undergo an annual diver’s physical to ensure that your body can still withstand the added stresses. Welding in general is a very physical job, but adding the diving aspect increases the levels of strain and stress on both the body and mind.
Annual physical tests are designed to protect you from possible dangers and reduce the risk of accidents happing. It is vitally important that you attend these tests and employers will demand proof of recent test results.
Recommended Underwater Welding Schools
If at this stage you are ready to take the plunge and want to get into this very highly trained and paid profession then you should consider one of the following schools that provide nationally accepted certificates.
CDA TECHNICAL INSTITUTE
Jacksonville, FL 32208
DIVERS ACADEMY INTERNATIONAL
Erial, NJ 08081-1139
DIVERS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Seattle, WA 98107-0667
HOLLAND COLLEGE, GEORGETOWN CENTRE
Prince Edward Island
Weston, Florida 33327
INTERNATIONAL DIVING INSTITUTE
N. Charleston, SC 29405
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE
San Diego, CA. 92123
Toll Free: 800-432-DIVE (3483)
Underwater Skills Department
King City, Ontario, Canada
SANTA BARBARA CITY COLLEGE
Marine Technological Program
Santa Barbara, California 93109