In contemporary times, skilled jobs such as welding are being neglected in most parts of the world. General office jobs have been the craving of the present times because of the enticing work environment. What is less obvious is that welders especially underwater welders are among the highest-paid professionals.
Welding is diversified, of the varieties underwater welders are the highest-paid prior to the tedious nature. Underwater welders from certain countries are classified to be the highest-paid welders.
Underwater welding is the process of welding on elevated pressures. This can be done in the water or inside a dry pressure enclosure in a dry surrounding.
It is referred to as “hyperbaric welding” when done in a dry surrounding, and “underwater welding” when done in water.
WHAT IS UNDERWATER WELDING?
Underwater welding has been in existence since early 1930, yet carried out in many parts of the world today for the sustaining of marine facilities that are in water.
Inland welders work on bridges, dams, and small water vessels while offshore welders handle pipelines, oil rigs, large ships, underwater habitats, and even nuclear power facilities.
Welding underwater uses the same basic technique and processes on dry land, which is why to become an underwater welder you must first become a certified welder on land.
Though having the same technique, underwater welding is dangerous and requires years of training to gain the necessary skillset and certification.
IS UNDERWATER WELDING WORTH IT?
Underwater welding though not the best job due to the risks and hazards surrounding the job such as drowning, explosion, and electric shock is a great job for those who are willing to take the risk and earn fat within a short period of time. Because of this risk, there is a huge salary attached to it.
It also gives room for travel and tours as most jobs are done in water which spans across the globe and is not limited to a location of work. Every profession has its pros and con, there is no perfect system in the world we exist in.
Weighing the balance between its advantages and disadvantages, it is worth taking the risk because life itself is a risk.
WHAT DO UNDERWATER WELDERS DO?
Welding in general a skill highly sought after in the engineering and manufacturing industry for structural application.
Varieties of techniques are being carried out during welding in general but more advanced techniques and processes while working underwater.
The best forms of welding in relation to water are buttressed below.
1. Dry welding:
Dry hyperbaric welding is performed with a mixture of gases sealed around the structure being welded in a chamber.
A variety of techniques are employed during dry hyperbaric welding such as flux-cored arc welding (FCAW), gas metal arc welding (GMAW), plasma arc welding (PAW), shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) which could be operated at hyperbaric pressure but tends to suffer as the pressure increases.
The most common and widely used process method is gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW).
Dry hyperbaric welding is limited because it cannot be operated at a great depth but special control techniques have been introduced to achieve that.
2. Wet welding:
Wet underwater welding exposes the underwater welder and equipment directly to water.
Various arc welding techniques are employed to achieve great welding results but the shielded metal arc welding is widely used during wet welding because of the waterproof shielding of the electrode due to the direct current used to power the electrode which is around 300 to 400 amps.
Wet welding uses the same equipment as the dry welding process but electric holders are heavily insulated and designed for water cooling if used outside water would be overheated.
The challenge surrounding the wet welding process is the fast cooling which could result in welding of less quality some of the time.
HOW MUCH DO UNDERWATER WELDERS MAKE?
It is difficult to come across highest-paid and high-paying underwater welders.
An underwater welder lives a comfortable life with the pay that is attributed to the job. Underwater welders can earn hourly, weekly, monthly or annually as agreed with the agent of contract but sometimes get paid per job done.
The average hourly rate of an underwater welder is about $30, considering the normal hours of work to be 8 hours in a day they earn about $250 daily.
The estimated weekly pay of an underwater welder ranges from $1,200 to $1,600.
Again, the monthly estimated pay of an underwater welder ranges from $6,000 to $10,000.
Lastly, the estimated annual pay of an underwater welder ranges from $50,000 to $300,000. The high rate depends on the skills and experience. It also depends on the type of underwater welding project.
Experience on the job for a long period of time as an underwater welder can lead to jobs such as consultants and management positions in big oil and gas companies, which in return gives improved rewards.
Below, we will list the highest paid underwater welders.
WHAT ARE THE BEST J0BS FOR UNDERWATER WELDERS?
The oil and gas industries are the major benefactors of the work being done by underwater engineers. Buttressed below are a few of the highest-paying jobs associated with underwater welding/welders.
1. Rig Welder:
Rig welders are about the highest-paid underwater welders due to the difficult and long hours of work they undergo. Their job is highly risky and done with maximum carefulness.
They undergo the most advanced form of welding education and qualifications before being employed so as to avoid catastrophic happenings that would be a major natural disaster.
Therefore, companies call on the best in the field to carry out operations.
Rig welders earn as much as $52,000 to $207,000 annually.
2. Quality Assurance Inspector:
Quality Assurance Inspector most times carry out managerial or administrative duties. They also inspect rudders and test valves to confirm the quality, reliability, and safety of all underwater repairs. This ensures the smooth running of all operations.
To become a quality assurance inspector you must have undergone necessary training and certifications as a welding quality assurance inspector, also must be highly experienced before being considered for employment.
The mean earnings of a quality assurance inspector are about $70,000.
3. Certified Welding Inspector:
This is another underwater job for highest paid welders. It is not a major duty to perform welding operations as a certified welding inspector but will be responsible for making sure all welding operations are up to the required standard and quality is in line with safety and compliance protocols.
To be a certified welding inspector one needs to undergo training and get certified as a welding inspector after years of experience.
The pay of a certified welding inspector ranges $42,000 to $104,000.
4. Nuclear Plant Maintenance Specialist:
Nuclear plant maintenance specialists are typically ex-military or experienced divers with a good knowledge of welding underwater.
Their job because of the nature of the job dealing with major components of the nuclear plant. This is one of the highest paid underwater welders
They earn about $60,000 or more annually.
5. Marine Pipefitter:
To earn as huge as $60,000 as a marine pipefitter you must be a qualified diver and have a good knowledge of the underwater welding and ship piping system including the installations and repairs.
It is one of the highest-paying entry jobs for underwater welders.
WHAT ARE THE HIGHEST PAYING COUNTRIES FOR UNDERWATER WELDERS?
The profession is being practiced in few countries because of its uncommon nature. Each country shares difference in the amount being paid to the professionals.
The highest paid countries for underwater welders are;
1. United States:
The United States possesses the largest number of professionals and the best training centers to be an underwater expert.
It is also ranked the country with the highest paid amount being offered to the professionals to perform the delegated tasks of underwaterwelders. It ranges from $50,000 to $300,000 annually.
2. United Kingdom:
The inland salary is 50,000 GBP, and the offshore salary is 67,000 GBP yearly on average.
In Australia, the inland salary is 65,000 AUD, and the offshore salary is 180,000 AUD.
It is one of the highest paid underwater welders countries.
4. New Zealand:
Whereas, in New Zealand, the inland salary is 65,000 NZD and the offshore salary is 135,000 NZD.
In 1932 Russian metallurgist, Konstantin Khrenov invented underwater welding. It is referred to as the origin of underwater welding. The annual pay is 3,600,500 RUB and above depending on the level of experience.
Having a large experience in underwater technical work of any complexity. They include inspection, cleaning, and repair of ships underwater, inspection, and repair of hydraulic structures, provision of ships, etc.
The annual pay ranges from 1,400,000 UAH and above depending on expertise and experience.
HOW TO BECOME AN UNDERWATER WELDER
The journey through becoming a certified underwater welder is interesting and packed with loads of adventures. An opportunity to acquire the most needed job skill in an environment, and facilities unique and well equipped.
Foremost in stepping through the path of becoming an underwater welder, completion of base-level education is essential.
Many companies would like to see at least a higher school diploma, having a college degree is not necessary but stands you out from other underwater welders.
Having the basic educational requirement, the next step is getting certified as a topside welder.
Learn skills in a formal and recognized training welding school, it may take as long as 7 months to 2 years to complete the welding training and get certified factoring on the choice of school or chosen program.
You’ll pass necessary written and practical exams to be awarded the certificate of completion as a certified welder.
Afterward, gain a few years of experience under a welding company that would offer the privilege to practice what was learned and become proficient to prove to future employers how grounded you are as a welder.
Run preliminary dive physicals to test your fitness and wellness, most times it is done with the institution you intend to bag a certification in commercial diving.
Included in the examination is the test for drugs, alcohol, or infectious illness in your system, cardiovascular condition, if you show signs of asthma, collapsed lungs, congestive heart failure, claustrophobia, and also your swimming skills and abilities.
On passing the examination, you may proceed to become a certified commercial diver by enrolling in a commercial diving academy. The duration of the programs varies but most times potential commercial divers qualify in 5 to 6 months.
on completion of the program, you are awarded a certificate in commercial diving that is recognized by the industry.
Being certified as a welder and a commercial diver, the two skills would be required to attend an underwater welding school.
The program would comprise theoretical study and practice which include diving sessions of about 20 to 50 hours in total to receive a certification in underwater welding.
On becoming certified as an underwater welder, it is of wise thought to apply for internship positions to companies that require your service as an underwater welder beginning from the tender dive aspect of the job.
Working with prominent companies with big projects would sharpen you to becoming an expert in the field, uplifting you to the peak of your chosen career as a certified underwater welder.
This is how to become an underwater welder and this makes you eligible to be among the highest paid underwater welders.
Underwater welding of a surety is a dangerous choice of job especially in the past when technology is not advanced but has been easier and safer with the advanced technological processes and techniques in recent times.
The nature of work of underwater welders is so tedious and consuming both physically and mentally, that is why the pay is unarguably one of the highest-paid/paying jobs considering the attached difficulty and risk.
In future times, we hope for robots and machines to perform the task of an underwater welder. As the quest for more advanced technology uncovers, underwater welders will always be needed.
Having buttressed so much on underwater welding, the benefits and risks, career path, salary structures, and technique processes, it is worth trying out being an adventurous job.
There is no short path to becoming an underwater welder. And they make up for the highest-paid underwater welders.