Underwater Welding Salary in USA 【Updated 2021】 | CareerExplorer

The Average Underwater Welder Salary in U.S In 2021 is $61,486 a year

Underwater Welding Salary

In the U.S 2021, the average underwater welder salary is $61,486 per year. This salary can drop as low as $21,000 a year and go as high as $127,500. 

Underwater Welder Salary 2021:

EXPERIENCEANNUAL SALARY
Less than 2 years$21,000
More than 2 years$74,000
More than 5 years$127,000

Underwater welding is a technical field. Since underwater welders usually have limited education, their huge salary is attributed to a couple of factors: it’s hazardous, perhaps even lethal, and it’s hard tedious work. Underwater welders receive income by the hour or project. Most make up to $80,000 per year, but there are a select few that can make $300,000 or more. Underwater welding is split into 2 major categories.

As the name says, the job of underwater welders is to perform welding operations underwater. However, there is a lot more to do in this job. These welders are a type of commercial divers and are certified beyond the SCUBA divers. Their job is technical and tricky, thus an underwater welding salary is quite decent. Such welders can expect to have a pay scale according to their experience and educational background.

How Much Does an Underwater Welder Make in a Year?


According to commercial divers and global statistics, the average underwater welding salary is $61,486 per year. On an hourly basis, the underwater welding salary is $25.96. The salary of the welders ranges between $21,000 – $127,500 a year. Underwater welders in the 90th percentile i.e top 10% make $83,730 a year while the bottom 10% are able to make $30,700 a year. 

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Underwater Welder Salary According To Job Titles:

Job Title Annual Salary
Senior Welding Engineer $135,043
Underwater Acoustic Engineer $96,070
Welding Engineer $83,116
Welding Process Engineer $80,263
Welding Manager $79,866

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Job Description of Underwater Welders

The underwater welders are slightly different from commercial divers. The tasks which are to be performed beneath the water using either surface-supplied air or SCUBA equipment, it is done by commercial divers, whereas underwater welders are responsible for maintenance and repair. They install, inspect, remove and repair damaged structures. Additionally, they perform tests, experiments and take photographs of the required subject and even the marine life. 

Being an underwater welder is not easy, it is a physically and mentally tough job that requires a lot of strength. These welders may have to face new challenges every day deep into the sea. In this profession, most experienced welders are allowed to perform saturation diving. Such individuals have to face extreme temperature and environmental conditions, similar to an astronaut’s. 

Marine life has ever-changing conditions, due to the weather and nature of the environment. The life of an underwater welder in the depth of the sea is never the same. But along with these tough duties what is underwater welding salary?

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Educational Requirements to Become an Underwater Welder

Typically, an underwater welder doesn’t require a professional college degree. However, certifications from a technical college or a vocational school are necessary. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), such colleges require a high school diploma or equivalent to attend. It is common sense that a person who is a topside welder can easily learn swimming instead of a diver to learn to weld. Hence, most companies prefer the former individuals. The American welding society is a renowned professional body that provides welding certifications to individuals who are willing to excel in this field and become better underwater welders. 

Not only that, but a commercial diving certificate is also necessary. SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) is another certification that is also necessary. Altogether, these certifications help an underwater welder to get a better salary. 

Types of Underwater Welders and Their Salaries

An underwater welder is a generalized term. There are more specialized types than commercial divers. Once they have experienced more than 3 years there is a noticeable change in their job title and salary. Typically, an underwater welding salary is $53,990 but it may vary when broken into a few categories like onshore, offshore, and saturation diving.

1. Offshore Welders

Diving that occurs in oceans, gulfs, and seas is called offshore diving, and welders who work in such areas are offshore welders. For their assistance, the support is given from a stationary platform like a boat which is on the surface of the water. This type of diving is considered entry-level for commercial diving and those who are newly certified divers. Gas and oil industries usually hire offshore welders as they require regular maintenance of their marine structures. The offshore welders are a great help in removing oil from beneath the sea bed.

Removing the oil and the maintenance of underwater structures is a risky and painstaking job. Sometimes, the offshore welders need to spend days and sometimes weeks under the water. They have to adapt to the changing marine life and weather that affects the visibility and increases the pressure from the water. The offshore underwater divers have to spend 4-6 weeks in the sea and depending on the project they might have to overtime for over 10 hours. Offshore divers do their job between the months of April to November but, the working hours are reduced in the winter months because of the unpredictable weather patterns.

This job is not for the faint-hearted, but for those who love challenges. It involves danger as well as experience. But the question remains how much do offshore underwater welders make?

These divers are further divided into two i.e rookie divers and experienced divers. The former welders earn entry-level pay ranging between $40,000-$60,000 a year. Underwater divers with three to five years of experience earn around $50,000-$80,000 on a yearly basis. 

2. Onshore Welders

Onshore welders are also known as inland divers as they do not do maintenance on oil and gas structures. Such welders usually work in civil engineering projects. Offshore welders are responsible for checking bridge structures for coherence. But, their working conditions are also tough as they work in challenging environments. The onshore divers can expect projects like inspecting and repairing dam walls, elimination of underwater debris, assessing the condition of sewer pipes, etc. 

Like the offshore divers, these are also divided into two categories along with the underwater welding salary for onshore divers. Rookie divers have a starting salary of about $25,000-$40,000 a year. While veteran divers have experience of 5 or more years can earn a yearly salary between $50,000- $80,000. In a year, the onshore divers work around 40-45 hours. Unlike the offshore divers, they have a hectic routine during the winter and spring seasons due to the damages to the water vessels because of storm damages 

3. Saturation Divers

This is a specialized category of underwater divers. The saturation divers go deep under the sea for an elongated period of time as there is a risk of depressurizing. Such divers jump from 91 m height, resulting in the pressure of the water around them as the water has ten times more than the pressure of the water at sea level. This situation is risky because at this depth and pressure the gases in the lungs dissolve in the diver’s tissues which creates chances of decompression sickness. The technique called saturation diving saves them from decompression

The saturation divers have to face some gruesome conditions, which lets the saturation divers earn a specific pay by the name of “depth pay,” which is ​$1​ to ​$4​ per foot of immersion. Apart from that, saturation underwater welders have an average monthly salary of $45,000 to $90,000, amounting to $500,000 a year. 

Conclusion

The underwater construction industry is slowly growing and it generously rewards underwater divers who have knowledge in different fields. A good experience in this career can guarantee you a decent underwater welding salary package. However, it is not a scheme to get rich quickly. It requires vigorous training and multiple certifications to become an underwater welder. Either offshore, onshore, or saturation divers, all of the jobs require dedicated individuals who are headstrong too.

Written by Sansa Jacob

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