How to Become an Underwater Welder?

How to Become an Underwater Welder
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Underwater welding is a lucrative job but it is many ways tougher-than-traditional ones. Before your dream of “how to become an underwater welder” gets mature enough, you should ask yourself a crucial question, “Are you stronger than average both mentally and physically?”

If the answer is a big YES, it’s your time to embark on a long journey to get you educated as an ultimate wet-welder. Besides challenging in every step, this career will demand total devotion, longer duration of training, wide-spread travel, grand attitude, and elevated work ethic.

This article will teach you everything on underwater welding from scratch to the ways to bag a highest-paying position.

Underwater welding requirements

If your determination is strong enough and you are totally convinced to push your career in that direction, the requirements are many. They include:

  • High School graduation or GED
  • Command in swimming
  • Mechanical Aptitude
  • AWS Certification on Welding Training
  • Certification on Commercial Diving
  • Underwater Welding School Certification

Basic Education

The employer would certainly want to select someone at least with the High School Graduation certificate. If you had a gap and break of study, you can do away with GED instead.

Though a college degree is not a pre-condition to end up being selected as a wet-welder, individual with a superior degree would surely be given preference to your contenders having a lesser degree.

Superior Swimming Ability

Given the underwater work surrounding, it is common sense that you have stronger than average swimming capability. Basic swimming is for survival in water but when it comes to accomplishing a heavy-weight task like welding in deep water, you must be gifted with superior swimming aptitude. Whether you have it or not will be clear in the mandatory dive physical test.

Mechanical Aptitude

You need to have an inborn or labored zest for mechanical tools, accessories and works to be an underwater welder. Welding as a job involves dealing with different tools, devices, and electrocuted surroundings. The thrill and chill of risking welding dangers must excite or fascinate you.

AWS Certification on Welding Training

To be an underwater welder, you have to be a surface welder first. The only way to learn it successfully is to complete any welding program offered by certified bodies in the land you want to get employed.

In the US, you can opt for the Certified Welding course conducted by the AWS – American Welding Society. An accredited and trusted body like the said one can ensure you of earning the skill level matching a wet-welder.

 They will take you through theoretical classes followed by hands-on practical lessons. And before awarding the due certificate, you have to pass both the written and practical examinations separately.

Commercial Diving Certificate

To become a certified commercial diver, you need to enroll in an accredited commercial diving school or academy in your area. They will walk you through their training course along the program tenure to earn you a marketable and acknowledged certification on diving.

To make your job easier, I can name several notable diving academies in the US that include:

  • ANSI –American National Standard Institute
  • ACDE-Association of Commercial Diving educators
  • ADCI –Association of Diving Contractors International
  • DAI- Divers Academy International

Unavoidable Dive Physical

Most of the academies take an entrance exam to qualify for their individualized diving course to enroll in. On top of that, a dive physical certificate or SCUBA training certificate is mandatory to get accepted in any program. Whereas the written exam is not a big deal to attend in and pass on, the dive physical is unavoidable even if not sought by the academy.

This is the test to find any limitation in your system that can hinder you half-way in your career. You can go for it in the institution you are trying to get admitted or elsewhere. In-depth knowledge on this particular topic will surely benefit you later while on the real job.

The Ultimate Certification/Final Course

Naturally, you should qualify for a wet-welding job after successful completion of both commercial diving and surface welding certifications. But given the hazard involved in this job and the unnatural work atmosphere, it deems wise to go through an assimilated course where you will get your newly-learned skills honed altogether.

Now, you will practice underwater welding. Course content and conducting vary from school to school but basic theory and practical hands-on training in underwater welding are common to any and all schools.

This program will require you to go through a certain length of daily diving hours leading to the full adaption to the aquatic surroundings.

Preparations for Financial Backup

You are reading this part of the article means that you are already aware of the several certifications required to be a worthy underwater welder. Therefore, it is pretty clear that underwater welding training cost or tuition fees will be a handsome amount of money.

Underwater welder pay is pretty handsome and so you can get prepared ahead provided you are not financially well off at present.

Searching for the best welding Institution

Institutions named above for individualized certifications are best in their respective fields – commercial diving and welding in this regard – in the US. 

If you live in elsewhere, browse online to find the best underwater welding schools offering welding training programs in the area you live in.

Most of the schools offering you the final certification for underwater welding tend to lie in the coastal cities or cities standing on the large water bodies. Given wet-welding mostly required in the fishing vehicles, water transportations, and drilling industry, underwater welding schools find the said locations suitable.

After Completing the Underwater Welding Course

You can bag jobs paying considerably high underwater welding salary right from the gate of the school you have completed your underwater welding training. But the underwater welding dangers involving the job and the underwater welding death rate till date tell you to wait a bit longer.

This short caveat between the final certification training and joining a high-profile job is the wisest investment. Unlike earlier, you are now investing learned time and attention as you are well aware of everything entailing this job.

What will you do in this juncture?

Earn internship as assistant to the Expert Professionals. Work as a drive tender or a beginner before applying for the dream position you have been cherishing long. This is the time to have exposure to the policies and regulations crucial to underwater welding agencies or firms that mostly work for marine construction companies, shipbuilders, engineering firms, and underwater rescue teams.

Besides, school courses will give you exposure to common tasks like cutting, metal fitting, and rigging. But real job apprenticeship will equip you with the knowledge on documenting design plans, testing or inspecting projects done already.

Some underwater welding jobs will require you knowing underwater videography and photography that you can hone on while working on a dive tender level.  

Safety Ensured

After all the certification steps and the apprenticeship caveat, you are not only ready to bag the target job but you can go on with your underwater welding with supreme safety as well. Given each and every step faced and overcome in due process and devotion, you are now conscious of the common dangers involving wet-welding that include:

  • Decompression ailment
  • Drowning
  • Electrocution

Safety concerns will get well-answered in your commercial diver certification training for all offshore works.

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How much does an underwater welder make a year?

Ans: It varies from company to company and project to project but the standard underwater welder pay ranges from $100,000 to $200,000. 

Why do underwater welders die?

Ans: Underwater welders die for reasons as varied as acute motion sickness, electrocution, and drowning. The individuals need to dive into dangerous and deep places to stay underwater for insanely long hours.

Are underwater welders in high demand?

Ans: YES, underwater welders are in pretty high demand as it is not that easy to become a wet-welder along with the hazards involved in the job. On its top, they keep the economy of the land afloat.

How many underwater welders die every year?

Ans: Underwater welding death rate varies by different sources that show the annual death rate ranges 5 to around 14.

How much is the school for underwater welding?

Ans: Expense and duration of vary from school to school. Survey on top 9 US schools says that most expensive underwater welding school fees range from $21,800 to $23,400 while the least expensive offers from $2,800-$4,755.

Underwater Welding: Mechanism, Training Requirements, Getting the Job, Dangers, and Salary”


Nothing much is left for the conclusion to cover. If you really want to become an underwater welder, you have to go through all the stages mentioned. There is no short cut to this. On top of that, you must learn to adjust your expectations in the beginning as the worst labor will yield a medium return at this stage. But with time, job strain will ease and salary will be on steep the rise.

On the shiny side, there are much more than money to keep you motivated – rarity and challenge in the job, the scope of exploration, and pride to contribute to the economy.

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