A career in underwater welding is not for the faint of heart! To become a professional underwater welder involves undergoing rigorous training at an underwater welding school. Plenty of these courses involves intensive training in advanced diving, communication and welding.
Why settle for minimum wage? A skilled underwater welder’s salaries range between $100,000 to $200,000 per year with multiple opportunities for advancement and specialization.
Underwater welding is a fabrication method that is used to join metals in an aquatic setting. Some examples of underwater welding can be seen in ships, reservoirs and oil pipelines.
Underwater Welder Jobs And Expectations
Currently, there are no age restrictions to become a commercial diver with an underwater welding specialization; however, the industry looks for young men and women for employment. The preferred ages for offshore divers are between 18-38 while inland divers in excellent physical health may be able to work well in to their 40s. Underwater welders older than 40 with on-site experience are in high demand for supervisory positions, or they can retire and work on dry land as commercial welders.
Successful underwater welders must possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills. These skills are very important for the diver and their dive team to function effectively as a unit. On average, underwater welders work 40 hours a week, with a large potential for overtime hours. Workers are often housed in accommodations near the project site, and they will only return home on a biweekly or monthly basis.
Benefits of Attending an Underwater Welding School
Specialized professions, such as underwater welding, are in constant demand regardless of the state of the economy. Entry-level underwater welders employed in North Carolina are expected to earn $45,830 yearly. Salaries often vary, depending on the nature of the project, and the work history of the welder. For example, divers with two years of experience can earn between $70,000 to $80,000.
A job in underwater welding is a very rewarding experience that offers both excellent pay, and the chance to travel. Recent graduates from an accredited underwater welding school are often recruited to high-paying positions in a number of the most stunning places in the world, such as Saudi Arabia and Australia. For those seeking employment outside of the U.S., an international certification is necessary to work in these exotic locations. Other factors including depth, diving conditions and diving method will also affect the rate of pay.
Requirements for Becoming an Underwater Welder
Presently, there are no vocational colleges that offer programs in underwater welding in North Carolina. Based on admissions requirements of other colleges around the U.S., underwater welding schools are in need of young men and women who are in good physical condition. It’s not uncommon for companies to include a physical fitness assessment as a mandatory component of their hiring practices.
In addition to a welding certificate, all underwater welders are required to be commercially certified to dive. While there are numerous forms of diver certification available, only commercially certified divers are permitted to work as underwater welders. For a candidate to qualify as a commercial diver, they must be able to demonstrate their knowledge of various skills. This includes diver communication, underwater inspection and emergency procedures. Divers must also demonstrate their skills in advanced diving under difficult conditions.
Lastly, underwater welders must have welding skills ranked at AWS D3.6 standard. Employers will seek out welders with this qualification because it demonstrates the candidate’s level of qualification encompasses a variety of abilities, including welding setup and preparation.
How to Find an Underwater Welding School in North Carolina
Candidates interested in becoming underwater welders should have a high school diploma or GED, strong communication skills and a strong mechanical aptitude. Other assets, such as the ability to swim and physical condition, are also factors that taken into consideration when the candidate applies to an underwater welding school.
Finally, when deciding to attend an underwater welding school, be sure to find a vocational college that is federally accredited. Employers prefer to hire welders that possess an international certification, and who have specialized in certain fields.
When selecting an underwater welding school, ensure that the school is federally accredited and provides the opportunity to obtain an international certification.
To find the nearest accredited underwater welding school in North Carolina, contact the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET) .