What Is the Average Pay-Rate for Underwater Welders?
To find the average pay rate for an underwater welder, you'd have to find an average underwater welder. These commercial divers' work situations and hours are as diverse as the fish that swim around their job sites. Keep reading to find out more. Schools offering Mechatronics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Overview of Underwater Welders
Underwater welders are commercial divers who help construct underwater infrastructures or repair ships, all while wearing a pressurized dive suit. If you take a job in this field, you may not only weld, but also cut, fit and rig materials before they're lowered to a job site.
This career can take you all over the world. You may find yourself working in a shipyard or on an offshore drilling platform. You might even find a job closer to home working on a bridge or dam foundation.
While wage specifics for underwater welders were unavailable, commercial divers overall earned median annual salaries of $51,360 as of May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). A 2011 article published by the American Welding Society (AWS) states that welder-divers who work inland earn an annual wage between $40,000 and $50,000 (www.aws.org). If you work on an oil rig or drilling platform, you could make over $100,000 a year with experience.
Underwater welding can be a dangerous occupation; you'll need to learn a few things before you begin. Most companies won't hire you if you're only a certified SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) diver. You'll need to complete commercial diving certification.
Some schools offer marine technology training programs that prepare graduates for certification from professional associations, such as the Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI). The AWS maintains a list of schools that offer this specialized training. In addition to instruction in working with underwater equipment, these training programs also teach you how to weld. Once you master the basic skills, you can become certified by the AWS, which is also required for employment.
After obtaining the necessary certifications, underwater divers may enter the field through a 2-year apprenticeship program. You may also want to cultivate complimentary skills. Some underwater welders need photography skills to give their non-diving counterparts visuals of the work. Drafting and rigging skills are also desirable.
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