Underwater welders are a meld of two professions: certified welders and commercial divers. Welder-divers usually do not do underwater welding; instead they prepare and execute the tasks that occur before and after the actual welding. To become a welder-diver there are several steps and certifications that must be achieved and approved by both the American Welding Society (AWS) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), but once the education and experience is attained, the profession can be a rewarding career choice.
Commercial diving skills
Commercial welder-divers must possess a commercial diving certificate from an accredited commercial diving school. A diving physical and written exam may be required for admission to the diving school. To locate an accredited commercial diving school, contact:
Association of Diving Contractors International (ADC) 1960 FM 1960 W.Suite 202 Houston, TX 77069 281-893-8388
Certified welder skills
Commercial welder-divers must possess certification in surface welding, then once a commercial diving certification is achieved, commercial welder-divers begin an apprenticeship as a diver tender. After the apprenticeship period (which will vary by company), a welder-diver must pass qualification tests and achieve certification in accordance with ANSI/AWS standards. It is advised that welder-diver candidates communicate with the commercial dive company of his choice to inquire about its requirements for welder-divers and to train to its requirements.
All commercial divers must pass a yearly dive physical. The ADC has a dive physical format that is industry-accepted and used by most of its members in the United States. Other companies have different requirements that adhere to the regulations of the country in which the business is located. Although there is no age restriction on commercial welder-divers, due to the physically demanding nature of the profession, active commercial welder-divers over the age of 50 are a rarity.