An underwater welder is required to demonstrate a combination of welding skills on dry land and commercial diving qualifications is clearly an elite career choice. Underwater welders, also known as offshore welders, are expected to have the ability to manage heavy equipment while performing work in a hazardous work environment. In this article, we will look at the career path of an underwater welder and discuss what an aspiring underwater welder must do in order to pursue their career path.
Underwater welders are required to work with different procedures and types of equipment. Welder-divers are required to perform various duties that include fitting and rigging, inspection and non-destructive testing, drafting, underwater photography and underwater cutting. Some underwater divers are expected to render assistance to project managers in the field of project planning. Welders are expected to have exceptional communication skills apart from interpersonal skills that will help them work well with the remainder of the team.
Education & Other Requirements
Commercial dive certification is a mandatory requirement of an underwater welder. Dive certification programs are offered by many schools. However, commercial dive certification has some additional requirements to those of common certification that cannot be overlooked regardless of how much prior experience the applicant has. Qualification for certification requires the demonstration of various skills by a diver including the ability to use a variety of commercial grade equipment, hyperbaric chamber operations, underwater inspections, emergency procedures and diving physiology, and diver communication.
Welding skills rated at AWS D3.6 standard are required of welder-divers; encompassing such knowledge and abilities as preparation and weld set-up skills. Many welding courses approved by the American Welding Society are offered at educational facilities across the country. An underwater welder can also benefit from experience as an underwater welding specialist. Internationally recognized training in the field is exclusively given in the United States by the Commercial Diving Academy.
The occupation has no age limits; however, underwater welders are expected to be in good physical condition. Many employers including companies require prospective candidates to pass physical examinations. All underwater welders are required to maintain certification by taking periodic examinations.
Since there are a large number of factors associated with the occupation, it is not easy to generalize about earnings potential as relating to every welder situation. Underwater welders are typically paid for individual projects and the various factors that influence their earnings potential including dive methods employed by them, project duration and hazard levels, apart from other key factors such as employers and dive grade. Welding has been included as an occupation for commercial divers by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports the average annual salary earned by commercial divers in 2009 as being $52,540 (source: www.bls.gov).
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