Underwater Welder Salary California: What You Need to Know

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Underwater welder salary in California varies with the level of experience, skills, and certifications held by the individual. As an underwater welder, your salary is highly dependent on your level of experience and the different certifications you hold.

California, being a hub for new underwater welding projects, offers many job opportunities for underwater welders. According to ZipRecruiter, an average underwater welder in California earns around $67 thousand per year, with the top 10% earning over $98 thousand annually.

However, with additional certifications in hyperbaric welding and commercial diving, you can expect to earn more. The complexity of the work, including diving to great depths to repair a damaged structure, can often drive up pay for underwater welders. In this article, we will discuss factors that affect underwater welding salaries in California and what you can do to maximize your earnings in this highly specialized field.

Understanding The Profession Of Underwater Welding

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Underwater welding is a specialized profession that requires a unique set of skills and certifications. It involves welding in water, usually at great depths and can be highly dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken. Underwater welders are in high demand in California due to the abundance of underwater construction projects.

Overview Of Underwater Welding As A Profession

  • Underwater welding is the process of welding in water, which can be done in either wet or dry conditions.
  • This profession requires both welding and diving skills, as well as knowledge of the underwater environment.
  • Underwater welding is used in a variety of industries, such as oil and gas, marine construction, and offshore wind farms.
  • The demand for underwater welders is high due to the limited number of professionals in this field.

Qualifications And Certification Required To Become An Underwater Welder

  • In order to become an underwater welder, you must complete both diving and welding training.
  • The diving training includes certification as a commercial diver with a minimum of 200 hours of logged diving time.
  • The welding training requires certification in several types of welding, such as dry welding, wet welding, and hyperbaric welding.
  • Additionally, underwater welders must complete courses in basic rigging, underwater cutting, and inspection techniques.

Importance Of Safety Precautions And Equipment When Underwater Welding

  • Safety is a top priority when underwater welding due to the potential dangers of the work.
  • Underwater welders must wear protective gear, such as diving suits, helmets, and gloves.
  • They must also use specialized equipment, such as underwater welding machines and cutting tools, that are designed to function in a water environment.
  • Underwater welders must be trained in safety procedures and must be aware of potential hazards, such as underwater currents and marine life.

In-Demand Skills For Underwater Welders In California

  • Underwater welders in California are required to have strong technical skills in both welding and diving.
  • They must have an understanding of the underwater environment, including tides, currents, and marine life.
  • Communication skills are also important for working on a team, as well as problem-solving skills when unexpected issues arise.
  • In addition, familiarity with diving equipment and specialized welding tools is essential for success as an underwater welder in California.

Underwater welding is a unique and specialized profession that requires a combination of diving and welding skills. Safety precautions and qualifications are essential to ensure successful work in this field. Underwater welders in California require technical and problem-solving skills, as well as strong communication skills and familiarity with specialized welding equipment.

Average Salary Of Underwater Welders In California

Underwater welding is a highly specialized skill that requires extensive training and experience. If you’re considering a career as an underwater welder in California, one of the key factors you’ll likely be interested in is the average salary you can expect to earn.

The average salary of an underwater welder in California ranges from $50,000 to $90,000 per year. However, several factors can affect the salary that an underwater welder can earn.

Factors That Affect Underwater Welder Salaries In California

Several factors can affect the salary of an underwater welder in California.

Level of experience

The amount of experience an underwater welder has can significantly impact their salary. Typically, the more experience an underwater welder has, the higher their salary will be.

Type of employer

The type of employer an underwater welder works for can also impact their salary. Positions with government agencies, for example, may offer higher salaries compared to jobs with private companies.

Technical certifications

Technical certifications can also play a significant role in underwater welder salaries. Certifications in welding techniques and protective welding gear can boost salaries and demonstrate expertise in the field.


Finally, location is another significant factor that can affect underwater welder’s salaries. Salaries in urban areas tend to be higher than those in rural locations due to the cost of living.

Comparison Of Average Salaries For Underwater Welders In California Vs. Other States

The average salary for underwater welders in California is higher than the national average. According to the Bureau of labor statistics (bls), the average salary for welders and cutters nationwide is around $44,190, while in California, it ranges from $50,000 to $90,000.

Salary Range For Entry-Level Underwater Welders In California

If you’re just starting your underwater welding career in California, you can expect to earn an entry-level salary. Typically, entry-level underwater welders in California earn between $30,000 and $55,000 per year. However, as you gain more experience and certifications, your salary can increase.

Potential For Salary Growth And Advancement In The Field Of Underwater Welding

Underwater welding is a field with significant potential for salary growth and advancement. As you become more experienced, you’ll be able to take on more complex projects and earn higher salaries. Additionally, obtaining technical certifications can help you specialize in different areas of underwater welding, which can also increase your earning potential.

California Underwater Welding Job Market

California has long been a hub for diverse industries, and underwater welding is no exception. Those seeking jobs in the field will find ample opportunities in the golden state. Here’s what job seekers need to know about the current state of the underwater welding job market in California.

Overview Of The Current State Of The Underwater Welding Job Market In California

  • California is home to a thriving underwater welding market, where divers can find plenty of full-time and contract positions.
  • Despite the covid-19 pandemic and the economic downturn that followed, the market has remained largely stable.
  • Underwater welding salaries in California are typically higher than the national average, making the state an attractive option for welders nationwide.
  • However, with high pay comes stiff competition, so job seekers should be prepared to showcase their skills and experience.

Key Industries And Employers In California That Hire Underwater Welders

  • The oil and gas industry is one of California’s biggest employers of underwater welders. Major companies in the sector include Chevron, Shell, and ConocoPhillips.
  • Shipping and port industries also offer significant opportunities for underwater welding jobs. The Port of los angeles and the Port of long beach are two of the largest ports in the country, and both employ numerous diving contractors.
  • Defense and military contractors are another source of employment for underwater welders. Companies such as general dynamics electric boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries have facilities in California.

Availability Of Both Full-Time And Contract Jobs For Underwater Welders In California

  • Both full-time and contract jobs are plentiful in California’s underwater welding market.
  • Some diving contractors hire workers on a project-by-project basis, while others offer longer-term employment with benefits.
  • Contract workers have the advantage of flexibility, but full-time positions may offer more stability and room for career advancement.

Competition For Underwater Welding Jobs In California

Competition for underwater welding jobs in California is fierce due to the high pay and desirable working conditions. Job seekers with extensive experience and a strong skillset will have an advantage over less experienced candidates.

Continued education and additional certifications can also improve a job seeker’s chances of landing a position in California’s underwater welding job market.

Overall, California’s underwater welding job market offers exciting opportunities for divers looking for a challenging and rewarding career. With a little perseverance and a strong work ethic, job seekers can find a wealth of opportunities in the golden state’s bustling industries.

Benefits And Challenges Of Being An Underwater Welder In California

California is not only known for its sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. But it also offers unique jobs such as underwater welding. The job can be rewarding and challenging, with its benefits and drawbacks. Listed below are the benefits and challenges of being an underwater welder in California, including work schedules and job outlook.


Working as an underwater welder in California has its own set of unique perks, such as:

  • Working in the ocean near beautiful coastlines and having access to marine life.
  • Experiencing the thrill of deep-sea diving while on the job
  • High demand for underwater welders due to the limited number of people who possess the skills.


Despite its benefits, being an underwater welder in California poses some challenges such as:

  • Dealing with unpredictable weather and rough ocean conditions that can impact work schedules and safety.
  • Facing higher levels of physical and psychological stress than regular welders as the job involves diving deep into the sea and working in confined spaces.
  • Time spent underwater, which can lead to a higher risk of developing medical conditions like decompression sickness and hypothermia.

Work-Life Balance And Typical Work Schedule Of Underwater Welders In California

Work schedules for underwater welders in California vary by location and employer. Some might work on a project basis while others work on a contract and travel from one location to another.

The work-life balance of an underwater welder in California can be particularly demanding due to the nature of the job. It may involve longer work hours, irregular shift timings such as nighttime or weekend work, and the requirement to be available for immediate deployment in emergency situations.

Expected Job Outlook For Underwater Welders In California In The Next Decade

The expected job outlook for underwater welders in California is encouraging over the next decade. With a growing demand for underwater welding services in industries such as oil and gas, renewable energy, and bridge construction, there will be more job openings for skilled underwater welders.

Moreover, those who can combine welding with other skills such as underwater inspection and industrial mechanics are likely to have more opportunities available.

The benefits and challenges of being an underwater welder in California are unique and varied. Along with suitable education and training, dedication, and passion, you may find a successful career as an underwater welder in California.

Education And Training For Underwater Welding In California

California offers a variety of education and training options for aspiring underwater welders. Let’s get into the education and training options, and compare underwater welding programs and schools in California. And discuss the typical costs and duration of underwater welding education and training programs in California.

Also, discuss the availability of financial aid and scholarships for underwater welding students in California.

The first step in becoming an underwater welder in California is to obtain a high school diploma or GED equivalent. After that, you can enroll in a welding program that specializes in underwater welding.

  • Los Angeles trade-technical College
  • College of Marin
  • Chabot college
  • San Diego city college
  • Diablo valley college

Comparison Of Underwater Welding Programs And Schools In California

When choosing an underwater welding program in California, it’s essential to consider the program’s quality, accreditation, and curriculum. Ensure that the program offers hands-on training and prepares you for certification as an underwater welder.

School NameProgram OfferedLength of ProgramCost of Program
Los Angeles trade-technical CollegeUnderwater welding technology1 year$5,650 (in-state tuition)
College of MarinMarine Technology: welding2 years$11,538 (in-state tuition)
Chabot collegeWelding technology: marine and commercial diving2 years$6,370 (in-state tuition)
San Diego city collegeWelding technology: commercial diving1 year$1,406 (in-state tuition)
Diablo valley collegeWelding technology: underwater welding2 years$7,890 (in-state tuition)
Underwater Welding Programs And Schools In California

Typical Costs And Duration Of Underwater Welding Education And Training Programs In California

The cost of underwater welding programs in California varies depending on the school and the program’s length. On average, the cost of an underwater welding program in California ranges from $1,406 to $11,538 for in-state tuition. Out-of-state tuition costs are generally higher.

The duration of the program also varies; some programs take less than a year to complete, while others may take up to two years.

Availability Of Financial Aid And Scholarships For Underwater Welding Students In California

Underwater welding programs in California can be expensive. But many financial aid and scholarship options are available to help students pay for their education. The free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) is the first step in determining your eligibility for financial aid.

Additionally, many vocational schools and community colleges offer scholarships and grants specifically for vocational or technical programs like underwater welding. Other options include private scholarships, grants, and loans.

Frequently Asked Questions On Underwater Welder Salary California

What Is The Average Salary For An Underwater Welder In California?

The average salary for an underwater welder in California ranges from $47,000 to $129,000 per year.

What Qualifications Are Required To Become An Underwater Welder In California?

To become an underwater welder in California, you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete a certified underwater welding training program, and obtain relevant certifications.

What Are The Job Prospects For Underwater Welders In California?

The job prospects for underwater welders in California are good, mainly due to the state’s large coastal area and booming offshore industries, such as oil and gas, shipbuilding, and marine construction.

What Are The Risks Associated With Underwater Welding?

The risks associated with underwater welding include electric shock, drowning, decompression sickness, explosion, and fire. Hence, proper safety measures and equipment are crucial to prevent accidents.

Final Thoughts

The underwater welding profession is challenging yet fulfilling. And the pay scale in California is lucrative, attracting many individuals to pursue this career. It’s a physically demanding job with substantial risks and requires extensive training and experience. The earnings in California are commendable, and with experience, the salary only goes higher.

Salary packages vary from $56,000 to $140,000 annually, depending on the experience level, qualification, and location. However, to earn better pay, divers need to enhance their experience levels by upgrading their skills and qualification continually. It’s a profession that requires passion, dedication, and hard work, and the rewards, including personal satisfaction and financial stability, are unlimited.

So, if you have a passion for engineering, welding, and the underwater world, California is a place with plenty of opportunities for rewarding careers in the underwater welding sector.

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About the author

Rashal A.

I'm Rashal, a professional welder, who works in this industry since 2012. I'm here to share my experience with you. Hope you like my effort.

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