How to Become an Underwater Welder?

If you’ve ever considered pursuing a career as an underwater welder, you might be wondering where to start. Fortunately, with the right training and certification, you can become a professional in this exciting field. In this section, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to become an underwater welder. We’ll cover everything from the necessary training and certification to the requirements you need to meet to pursue a career in underwater welding.

How to Become an Underwater Welder

Firstly, it’s essential to undergo proper underwater welding training to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge required for this profession. You can enroll in specialized underwater welding schools or get training from experienced professionals in the field. Regardless of your preferred option, ensure that you get comprehensive training in underwater welding techniques and safety measures.

After completing your training, the next step is to obtain underwater welding certification. Certification is critical in this field as it demonstrates your competence and skill level as a professional welder. Some of the certification bodies include the American Welding Society (AWS), Association of Diving Contractors (ADC), and Lloyd’s Register.

Meeting specific physical and mental requirements is also critical when pursuing a career in underwater welding. You need to be in good physical condition, have excellent eyesight, and be comfortable working in confined spaces and underwater environments. Additionally, you must be comfortable with using different welding techniques and equipment.

Overall, becoming an underwater welder requires dedication, training, and certification. But with the right approach and mindset, you can pursue a successful career in this exciting field.

The Role of an Underwater Welder

Before embarking on a career as an underwater welder, it’s important to understand the role and what it entails. Underwater welding is a highly specialized field that requires a unique set of skills and knowledge.

The primary responsibility of an underwater welder is to repair and maintain structures in underwater environments, such as oil rigs, pipelines, bridges, and ships. They use a variety of welding techniques and equipment to join, cut, and repair metal components and structures. This work requires physical dexterity, attention to detail, and the ability to work in challenging and potentially hazardous conditions.

As an underwater welder, you can expect to work in a variety of environments, including offshore oil rigs, shipyards, and underwater construction sites. The work may be physically demanding and require you to work long hours, sometimes in difficult weather conditions.

Underwater Welding Salary

The salary for underwater welders varies depending on the level of experience and the location of the job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for welders, cutters, soldiers, and brazers was $50,000. However, those working in the top 10% of the field can earn more than $80,000 per year.

Underwater welders typically earn higher salaries than their above-ground counterparts due to the specialized nature of their work and the additional training and certifications required. However, it’s important to note that the job may involve a higher level of risk and require more physical and mental demands than other welding positions.

Obtaining the Necessary Education and Training

To become an underwater welder, you need the right education and training. Fortunately, there are several underwater welding schools that you can attend to learn the skills you need to succeed in this field. Here are some of the top schools:

SchoolLocationPrograms offered
The Ocean CorporationHouston, TexasUnderwater Welding and Commercial Diving program
Divers Institute of TechnologySeattle, WashingtonCommercial Diving with Underwater Welding program
International Diving InstituteCharleston, South CarolinaCommercial Diving with Underwater Welding program

These schools offer rigorous underwater welding training that will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to become a successful underwater welder. In addition to underwater welding, you’ll also learn about commercial diving, which is an essential skill in this field.

Most underwater welding training programs last between six months and two years, depending on the school and the program. During your training, you’ll learn about welding techniques, welding safety, equipment maintenance, and underwater welding hazards to look out for.

Some schools also offer certification through organizations like the American Welding Society (AWS) and the Association of Commercial Diving Educators (ACDE). These certifications can give you an edge over other job candidates and demonstrate your expertise in the field.

Acquiring Underwater Welding Certification

Acquiring underwater welding certification is an essential step towards pursuing a career in the field of underwater welding. Certification programs are designed to provide welders with the necessary skills and knowledge to safely perform welding tasks in underwater environments.

To become a certified underwater welder, you must complete a training program that meets the standards and requirements of the American Welding Society (AWS). The AWS offers a range of certification programs that cater to different levels of expertise and experience.

The most widely recognized underwater welding certification is the AWS D3.6M:2017 Specification for Underwater Welding. The certification process involves practical examinations as well as written tests to assess the candidate’s knowledge and skills.

It’s important to note that certification is not a one-time process. Underwater welders must regularly renew their certification to remain compliant and up-to-date with industry standards. Renewal typically involves completing continuing education courses and passing additional assessments.

Benefits of Underwater Welding Certification

  1. Increased employability: Certification demonstrates your commitment to the profession and can boost your chances of securing employment.
  2. Higher pay: Certified underwater welders typically earn higher salaries than non-certified welders.
  3. Better safety: Certification programs are designed to ensure that welders are trained to perform their job in a safe and effective manner.

Becoming a certified underwater welder requires dedication and commitment, but the benefits of certification are well worth the effort. By meeting the standards and requirements set by the AWS, you can establish yourself as a qualified professional and enjoy a successful career in this exciting field.

Gaining Practical Experience

Practical experience is crucial for anyone seeking a career in underwater welding. In order to qualify for many underwater welding jobs, candidates are expected to have at least a few years of on-the-job experience.

There are several avenues one can take to gain practical experience in this field. One way is through internships offered by welding and diving companies. These internships usually provide hands-on training and experience in various aspects of underwater welding.

Another way to gain practical experience is through apprenticeships. These programs are typically offered through trade organizations or unions and can last from two to four years. Apprenticeships generally provide a combination of classroom training and on-the-job experience under the supervision of a certified underwater welder.

Finally, entry-level underwater welding jobs are another way to gain practical experience. These jobs may not pay as well as more experienced positions, but they provide valuable insight and skills for individuals looking to build their career in this field.

Pros of Gaining Practical ExperienceCons of Gaining Practical Experience
Can lead to higher-paying underwater welding jobsCan take several years to gain enough experience for higher-paying jobs
Provides hands-on training and experienceMay require travel to remote locations for job opportunities
Helps individuals develop specialized skillsEntry-level positions may have lower pay and fewer benefits
  • Underwater welding jobs provide valuable experience for individuals looking to build their career in this field.
  • Internships and apprenticeships offer hands-on training and are a great way to gain practical experience.
  • Entry-level positions may not pay as well as more experienced positions but are a valuable way to gain experience and develop specialized skills.

Regardless of the path you choose, gaining practical experience is an essential step towards advancing your underwater welding career.

Meeting the Requirements for Underwater Welding

Underwater welding requires specific physical, mental, and technical requirements. The following are the essential prerequisites you need to fulfill to pursue a career as an underwater welder:

Physical Requirements

  • Good physical health and fitness
  • Absence of medical conditions, such as epilepsy, asthma, and diabetes
  • Excellent eyesight and hearing
  • Ability to work in confined spaces and in water for extended periods of time

Mental Requirements

  • Good communication skills and ability to work well in a team
  • Ability to stay calm and focused in challenging or emergency situations
  • Capacity to follow safety procedures strictly

Technical Requirements

Underwater welding involves working with specialized equipment in a harsh and demanding environment. To become an underwater welder, you need to:

  • Have advanced welding skills and experience in various welding techniques
  • Be knowledgeable in underwater cutting and welding equipment
  • Understand the principles of underwater physics and diving
  • Hold a valid commercial diving certification
Physical RequirementsGood physical health and fitness, absence of medical conditions, excellent eyesight and hearing, ability to work in confined spaces and in water for extended periods of time
Mental RequirementsGood communication skills and ability to work well in a team, ability to stay calm and focused in challenging or emergency situations, capacity to follow safety procedures strictly
Technical RequirementsAdvanced welding skills and experience in various welding techniques, knowledge in underwater cutting and welding equipment, understanding of the principles of underwater physics and diving, possession of a valid commercial diving certification

Meeting these requirements is essential for being a successful underwater welder.

Advancing Your Underwater Welding Career

Once you have established yourself as an underwater welder by gaining relevant education, training, and certification, there are ample opportunities for career advancement.

Pathways for Growth

One of the most promising ways to advance your underwater welding career is to seek out opportunities for specialization. By honing your skills in a specific area, you can become an expert in that field and command higher pay. Some areas of specialization include pipeline welding, ship repair, and infrastructure construction.

Another option for career advancement is to move up the ranks to a supervisory or managerial position. With experience and strong leadership skills, you can oversee operations and manage a team of underwater welders. This position comes with greater responsibility and a higher salary.

Exploring Underwater Welding Jobs

There are various types of underwater welding jobs available, from entry-level positions to highly specialized roles. Entry-level positions typically involve working as an assistant to a senior underwater welder and require less experience and training. As you gain experience and expertise, you can move on to more complex work.

Some of the most popular underwater welding jobs include offshore oil rig maintenance, pipeline construction and repair, and shipbuilding and repair. Wages for underwater welding jobs can vary depending on the employer, experience, and location. However, on average, underwater welders earn a starting salary of $60,000 to $120,000 per year, with the potential to earn much more in supervisory roles or with specialized skills.

Final Thoughts

Pursuing a career as an underwater welder requires hard work, dedication, and proper training. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can start your journey towards becoming a certified underwater welder and enjoy the unique opportunities that this exciting field offers.

Always Keep Learning

It’s important to remember that education is an ongoing process, especially in a field as dynamic as underwater welding. As you progress in your career, make sure to continue learning and expanding your skills, whether through new certifications, workshops, or other forms of training. This will help you stay competitive in the job market and take advantage of new career opportunities as they arise.

Networking is Key

In addition to education and training, networking is essential for building a successful career as an underwater welder. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and connect with other professionals in the field. By building a strong network, you can learn about new job opportunities, gain valuable insights into the industry, and build relationships that can help you advance your career.

The Future is Bright

Finally, with growing demand for underwater welding in industries such as oil and gas, renewable energy, and shipbuilding, the future looks bright for those pursuing a career in this field. By staying informed, remaining dedicated, and always seeking new opportunities for growth and development, you can build a rewarding and fulfilling career as an underwater welder.


How long does it take to become an underwater welder?

The duration of becoming an underwater welder can vary depending on your educational path and level of dedication. On average, it can take anywhere from 9 months to 2 years to complete the necessary training and gain the required experience.

What are the physical requirements for underwater welding?

Underwater welding requires individuals to have good physical fitness and health. You should have excellent swimming skills, be comfortable working in confined spaces, and be able to handle the physical demands of underwater work, including heavy equipment.

Can I become an underwater welder if I don’t know how to weld?

Yes, it is possible to become an underwater welder without prior welding experience. Many underwater welding training programs offer comprehensive courses that teach both underwater welding techniques and basic welding skills.

What certifications do I need to become an underwater welder?

To work as a professional underwater welder, you will need to obtain certifications such as the Commercial Diving Certification, the Underwater Welding Certification, and the Welding Certification. These certifications demonstrate your competence and ensure safety in your work.

How much can I earn as an underwater welder?

The salary of an underwater welder can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and industry. On average, underwater welders can earn between $50,000 and $120,000 per year.

Are there opportunities for career advancement in underwater welding?

Yes, there are opportunities for career advancement in underwater welding. With experience and additional certifications, you can progress to supervisory roles, become a diving instructor, or specialize in specific underwater welding techniques.

How can I gain practical experience as an underwater welder?

Gaining practical experience is crucial in the underwater welding industry. You can seek internships, apprenticeships, or entry-level positions with diving and welding companies to gain hands-on experience and build your skills.

What are the main risks involved in underwater welding?

Underwater welding carries certain risks, including exposure to high pressures, electrical hazards, and the potential for decompression sickness. It is important to receive proper training, follow safety protocols, and work with experienced professionals to minimize these risks.