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Underwater Welder Careers: How to make a $100,000 a year in Florida

There is a career for you right now that pays well, doesn’t require a college education, and takes less than six months of training before you’re hired.

Don’t believe us?

According to the Department of Labor, commercial divers and underwater welders earn an average annual salary of $54,630. That’s the average.

Phil Newsum, President of the Association of Diving Contractors, says salaries for welder-divers cover a wide range and that top earners can make between $100,000 to $200,000 per year.

So, what’s the difference between the lowest and highest salaries?

Experience & Training
Environment & Depth Of Dive


Florida employs the second-most commercial divers in the United States, behind only Louisiana. But whereas Louisiana divers make an average of just over $49,000 a year, Florida divers make an average of nearly $55,000 per year.

Experience & Training

Experienced divers know how to earn the most when it comes to underwater welding. The way it works is that divers are paid by the project. While you could potentially make half your annual salary in just a couple of months, you’ll likely be spending a month or two securing your next project. But the more varied your experience, the more likely you are to get a gig right away, helping you earn projects (and income) faster.

There are two main categories of underwater welding and the potential earnings are very different: offshore and inland.

Offshore welding is the most lucrative and will have you doing jobs like underwater cutting, underwater photography, drafting, non-destructive testing, fitting and rigging, and more. You’re out at sea for 1-2 months, there’s plenty of opportunity for overtime, you go home for a week, and then you do it all over again. Also, most shifts offshore involve overtime so the workweek can get up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week -- allowing you to earn more than $50,000 in your first year.

Onshore work includes welding freshwater pipes, inspecting concrete pillars, and cleaning bridgework. It’s more safe and the work is more regular and confined to 40-hour workweeks, but that means the pay is a little less -- around $35,000 per year for beginners and $60,000 per year for those who have been doing it for years.

Environment & Depth Of Dive

The deeper the dive, the greater the risk. That’s good news if you want to make more money in the same amount of time.

At the beginning of a job, you and your employer will agree to a certain depth. If you have to descend past that for whatever reason, you earn more -- about $1 per extra foot you dive. So, if you go 100 feet past the agreed upon dive depth, you can earn up to a $100 bonus for that day's work.

Commercial diving and underwater welding can be a life-changing decision for you and your family. The earning potential is uncapped and is enhanced greatly by your ability to learn, your willingness to travel, your life experiences, and most importantly your commitment, drive, and dedication to be a successful diver. For veterans and prior military, it’s often a seamless transition with better pay and more time at home throughout the year.

posted 03/30/2017 in Careers, Commercial Diving, Helpful Tips, Underwater Welding

Tags: Underwater Welding, Commercial Diving, Careers, Salary. Association of Diving Contractors, Phil Newsum, Offshore Welding, Onshore Welding, Florida, Louisiana


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