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Income under Pressure: Underwater Welding Salary

Updated on September 9, 2014
http://"Working Diver 01" by Mass Communication Specialist Senior Chief Andrew McKaskle.
http://"Working Diver 01" by Mass Communication Specialist Senior Chief Andrew McKaskle. | Source

Many individuals are attracted to underwater welding because of the income you can make on a yearly basis. Though there's not enough data to narrow our view to only look at underwater welders, we can combine what we know from the commercial diving profession and related fields.

Starting off, most diver welders will make around $30,000 - $50,000. Eventually, they can reach upwards of $200,000, though this is only for the most experienced. Before an underwater welder gets their first paycheck, they need the correct certification and training for their assigned welding projects.

Pay for underwater welding projects is based primarily off of your location, as it dictates the type of maritime work you'll engage in. Typically, offshore underwater welding pays more - sometimes 10 - 20% increase from inland.

Offshore Underwater Welding

Offshore diver welders may have better pay annually, but their work isn't always consistent. Unless you work for a large company, you may only work during specific seasons and then be unemployed the rest of the year. Most inland divers enjoy work all year 'round.

As an offshore diver welder, you'll work extremely long hours with overtime and constant maintenance. Many work on oil rigs, though you can also find work on ships or other vessels that make their way out to sea.

Wet Welding

Statistics for Pay

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top-paying US state for underwater welding is New York, coming in at $104,280. Other coastal states like Louisiana and Virginia provide a great income as well. Because of the tremendous offshore maritime labor market in the Gulf of Mexico, many underwater welders live (and attribute their income) to Louisiana.

Across the rest of the world, underwater welding income isn't tracked as well.

There are many variables of underwater welding, including how deep you dive, the complexity (and hazards) of your welds, and employers. Many other underwater welding salary factors exist that can provide both income and risk that you're willing (or not) to take on.

Career Potential

The career potential for a diver welder is tremendous. Though it's made out to be one of the most dangerous professions in the world, these divers operate at a professional level and few receive life-threatening injuries. After several years in the field, many move on to other related fields:

  • Upper level maritime management
  • Riggers
  • welding inspectors
  • Welding school instructors

Though underwater welders receive great pay, no one should enter in the field only because of the money. Without the proper attitude, training and experience, you'll find yourself swimming at the deep end of the pool.


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