How Long Does It Take to Become an Underwater Welder?

How Long Does It Take to Become an Underwater Welder? Underwater welding workers work in a unique environment that’s as foreign to us as an alien planet.

It’s not without its many challenges and difficult moments; however, the benefits like travel and adventure are more than enough to make up for the difference.

The top underwater welding professionals can get lucrative pay, but be aware that only a few get to the top because it is a demanding profession.

Let’s examine the requirements to get into this field, how you can advance once you’re there in the field, and what steps you should take in order to make sure that you are successful in the end.

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How to Become an Underwater Welder:

Although it is a lucrative field, it is also extremely risky. About 11 people die per year.

With only 6,500 people working in the field, it’s around .17 percent or approximately 1.7 deaths for every 1,000 underwater welding workers.

Here are the steps you need to follow to become an underwater welding specialist. We’ll teach you the basics regarding the necessary skills and the steps we recommend you follow.


To be able to secure employment as an underwater welder, you’ll need previous experience, training, and evidence of your skills by way of certificates.

Most of the time, welder-divers must have an approved surface welder’s skill set as well as underwater welding and commercial diving abilities.

Before you can begin instruction in welding or commercial diving, you’ll require a minimum of education equivalent to a High School diploma, or GED.

After you’ve completed your education it is recommended that you get experience as professional welders for several years.

The more experience you gain as a welder, the better equipped you’ll be to pass certification exams in the future. To improve your knowledge of welding and the best techniques, you should seek out assistance from a certified welding inspector.

You can become an apprentice to learn the techniques and safety procedures required to perform well in any surface welding conditions.

In the US, most of the standards for welding certification are developed by three organizations:

  • American Welding Society
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • American Petroleum Institute

After you have acquired the necessary welding skills, the next step is to obtain an endorsement for commercial diving.

The first task is to choose the right school with good reviews, knowledgeable instructors and provides quality instruction, as well as real-world experiences in commercial diving and hyperbaric welding.

If you’ve been accepted into an accredited commercial diving school, you will need an average of 2 months to complete your diving certification.

Certification is typically granted through the organization you work for.

There is no state board in all cases.

The details can vary widely; however, to protect everyone, they’ll ensure you’re adhering to the proper guidelines.


If you’re trying to get Commercial Diver certification with no prior experience in scuba diving, it is required to go to a recognized commercial dive school.

Additionally, you’ll need to be able to swim to successfully pass a diving test, which is required to join an organization that offers commercial diving schools.

Preparing for the diving physical test by getting an appointment with a doctor and practicing to increase your endurance and dexterity underwater.

The doctor will conduct thorough examinations of your lungs, your heart, and your joints, muscles, and joints.

Apart from swimming and diving, you’ll need to be familiar with divers’ equipment for commercial use, the kinds of risks you might encounter while diving, and the best way to deal with them, along with an understanding of the physiological aspects of diving.

Once you’ve completed the diving certificate, you’ll begin working as a dive assistant and work as a dive tender for around two years.

When you’ve demonstrated enough mastery in how to do underwater welding you’ll be able successfully to be able to pass the certification test.


Underwater welding can be classified into two kinds dry and wet.

Wet welding will need you to perform welding directly in water, whereas dry welding involves working in a dry enclosure inside an air-filled chamber.

It is important to know how to perform the following kinds of welding techniques:

  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
  • Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW)
  • Gas metal arc welding (GMAW)
  • Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)
  • Flux-cored Arc welding (FCAW)

The majority of employers will require you to be certified in accordance with the specifications from AWS D3.6M, Underwater Welding Code.

This proves your proficiency in both dry and wet welding.

If you want to get a job once you have been certified other qualifications, such as mechanical skills or AWS as well as BS welding expertise could be useful.

Alongside the abilities listed above, you must be looking to develop useful knowledge that can aid you in your career and stand apart from the crowd.

Skills like underwater cutting fitting rigging inspection nondestructive testing sketching underwater photography, and fitting are all connected to underwater welding and prove useful.

Diving contractors would prefer hiring you if you’re able to assist them in the pre-planning phase of their job.

If you’re able to cut clean, install, set up, and rig the sections that will be weldable, you’ll be a valuable source of help for any company.

It is worth getting certifications for construction equipment for underwater and surface use like remote-operated vehicles or non-destructive tests to improve your skills.

How Long Does The Whole Process Take?

You won’t be a top-quality underwater welding expert overnight as you wouldn’t be a pilot in a combat aircraft in a day.

To achieve this, you need to train as well as practice.

Let’s say you’re at the high school level, with perhaps a few welding classes in your repertoire.

In the beginning, as a first step, you’ll be spending about two years after graduating as a surface welder, and getting valuable experience in the field.

Achieving some welding certifications after this training should not be a problem.

Two years of experience are not required, but it’s an excellent suggestion to allow you the time to improve your skills.

Following the welding experience, it’s time to begin swimming and scuba instruction.

This must be completed well before you actually enter Diving School since you’ll be expected to pass physical exams.

The distance you travel will vary based on the intensity you practice, but you should aim for 1 year to complete this stage of your training. You may achieve your Open Water certification at this moment.

The next step is to join a commercial diving school and get your certification to dive.

This can take about two months, on average.

After graduation, you’ll be tender for approximately two years.

It can be beneficial to do some surface welding in a temporary capacity at this stage.

After a few months of dedication and practice and dedication, you’ll be able to obtain the certification for underwater welding.

Based on the institution you go to and the duration of your underwater welding instruction can be up to 6 months or two years.

After you’ve earned the certification in underwater welding as well as any other specializations, you’re now ready to start your career.

These are our suggestions.

It is possible to do everything quicker but the guidelines provided here will enable you to grow and become more proficient in your field.

How Often Do I Need To Renew A Certification?

Earning your certifications and getting the opportunity to work in a high-quality job is not an end to the road.

Even after completing the required requirements and becoming certified, you’ll need to keep your certificates up to date. A lot of welding certifications must be renewed every six months.

If you’ve not been able to maintain a steady job for 6 months preceding your renewal, you may be required to take the certification test. You could also be required to pass regular dive physicals every year in order to keep working as a diver welder.

Numerous opportunities for underwater welders are on offer at oil and gas rigs located at sea. If you are employed by one of these rigs you can work from anywhere and fly to the site on transportation offered through the firm.

You could be required to be on the job for a full month on your rig after that you’ll be given the following month free. Because of the hard and often dangerous work that underwater welding workers perform, compensation can be very high.

Dangers Of Underwater Welding:

The risks associated with underwater welding are:

  • Burning
  • Electrocution
  • Health problems related to stress
  • Unstable environments


It’s not an easy task to become an underwater welding professional, however, it is as satisfying as it is fascinating. If you’ve ever wanted to take on this challenge and are now aware of the steps you need to do to get to your goals.

In summary, once you have the high school certificate you’ll need experience in welding and certifications, as well as diving experience and certificates, and then you’ll be able to combine both of them when you complete the underwater welding course and certificates.

No matter if you’re a skilled welding professional, or are beginning your journey we wish you the best in this exciting journey.

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