According to recent statistics, the commercial diving industry is the sixth fastest-growing career in the US.
In addition, underwater welding is one of the best-paid jobs in this expanding industry.
As rewarding as it can be, it is a dangerous profession.
Therefore, besides the required skills, you need to ensure your and the safety co-workers by getting a professional qualification.
There are various underwater welding schools in the US, and when choosing the best one, you need to consider the location, tuition, financial aid, and proper underwater welding certification. To help you make the right choice, we made this list of the best underwater welding schools to help you start your career as an underwater welder and make sure you don’t waste your hard-earned money.
Best Underwater Welding Schools Comparison Table
|School||National University Polytechnic Institute||Diver’s Institute Of Technology||The Ocean Corporation||Commercial Diving Tech Institute||Divers Academy International|
|Location||San Diego, California||Seattle, Washington||Houston, Texas||Hudson, Florida||Erial, New Jersey|
|Diving programs offered||Commercial Diving, Underwater Welding Course||Commercial Diving, Specialized Training||Ultimate Diver Training, Nondestructive Testing, Hybrid Training||Unrestricted Surface Supplied Diver, National Surface Supplied Diver, Diver Medic Technician, Underwater Burning Specialist||Professional Commercial Diving Tech, Specialized Courses|
|School accreditations||Accredited by the American Welding Society, Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI)||Accredited by Diver Certification Board of Canada (DCBC), Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI)||Accredited by American Welding Society, International Diving Schools Association (IDSC), International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), ACCSC||Accredited by DCBC and IMCA||Accredited by AWS, ACDE, ADCI|
|Certifications||Certification of Completion in Underwater Welding, ADCI Certificate||Unrestricted Surface Supplied Air Diver Certification with Occupational SCUBA Diver Endorsement, ADCI Entry Level Tender/Diver–International Endorsement Certification and more||MT and UT Level I & II, Rigging Certification, NDT, Offshore survival and safety, Mixed-gas diving and more||Qualified Rigging for Commercial Diving, HAZMAT/HAZWOPPER, JSA, Underwater Welding for Commercial Diving, NDT and more||Certificate of Completion, ACDE Commercial Diver Certificate, ADCI Entry Level/Tender Diver and many more|
|Tuition and Fees||$17,928 (includes a $2000 core fee)||$25,900 + $4550 Equipment, ADCI Hyperbaric (Dive) Physical + Application Fees||Estimated at $30,000||Depends on Program $2400-$22,000||Estimated at $32,925|
|Program/Course Length||Last 4 weeks of Commercial Diving Program||4 Weeks, Starting Month 4 from the start of the program||Contact school for exact information||24/14/2/1 Weeks||Full program 25 Weeks|
|Contact||Phone: 800-432-3483 https://nupolytech.org/underwater-welding-schools||Phone: 206-783-5542, 800-964-4234 https://www.diversinstitute.edu||Phone: 800-321-0298 https://www.oceancorp.com||Phone: (352) 209-1234 https://www.cdtdiving.com||Phone: 1-800-238-DIVE (3483) https://www.diversacademy.edu|
1. National University Polytechnic Institute
The National University Polytechnic Institute is located in San Diego, California, and it offers affordable and comprehensive diving courses. You have a chance to get a proper education provided by an industry expert. The underwater welding program is part of the commercial diving program.
Students attend classes in some excellent facilities, and there is a 44,000-gallon diving tank to help you practice. In addition, the school offers four different training locations, harbors, and industrial pier, and an offshore diving vessel.
Graduates receive Certification of Completion in Underwater Welding, accredited by the American Welding Society (AWS). In addition, once you complete the course at National University Polytechnic Institute, you will also get an Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI) certificate, which is crucial for finding your job as a commercial diver.
In the end, all that matters is the extensive, well-rounded education which this school provides.
- Website: https://nupolytech.org/underwater-welding-schools/
- Phone Number: 800-432-3483
- Address: 3570 Aero Court, San Diego, California 92123
- Tuition: Commercial diving program $17,928 (includes a $2000 core fee)
- Underwater Welding Course Length: Last 4 weeks of Commercial diving program
2. Diver’s Institute of Technology
DIT – Divers Institute of Technology is a veteran-owned and operated school located in Seattle. Most of the specialized training takes place around Lake Union. Institute offers a core underwater welding program that includes 12 separate certifications.
Unrestricted Surface Supplied Air Diver certification that Divers Institute of Technology offers can get you a job across the globe.
During the training, underwater welders dive in the 165 feet deep open water, which provides experience working in real-world environments. In addition, there is a practice pool and 11,000-gallon tank, where you can learn the latest commercial diving techniques. The crucial part of the Divers Institute of Technology program is training in leadership and performance management.
Divers Institute of Technology collaborates with different world-known companies, such as Atlantic Diving and Welding, Global Diving and Salvage, Alaska Mobile Welding Diving, and Salvage. In most cases, companies hire the best graduates, which is one of the essential things when choosing a school.
- Website: https://www.diversinstitute.edu/
- Address: 4315 11th Avenue , Seattle, WA 98107-0667
- Phone Number: 206-783-5542, 800-964-4234
- Tuition: $25,900 + $4550 Equipment, ADCI Hyperbaric (Dive) Physical + Application Fees
- Grants: Pell Grant Federal Supplemental Educational and Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Opportunity Grant (Washington Residents), WA College Grant (Washington Residents), Worker Retraining Grant (Washington Residents)
- Scholarship: College Bound Scholarship WA Residents, Careers That Work! Scholarship for graduating HS students (WA, OR and ID high school seniors), Passport To Careers Scholarship (WA Residents)
- Underwater Welding Course Length: 4 Weeks, Starting Month 4
3. The Ocean Corporation
The Ocean Corporation is the first commercial diving school that offered an underwater welding program. Academy was established in 1969. and it has been training divers since then.
School offers Ultimate Diver Training, commercial diving, and underwater welding courses with recompression chamber operations. In addition, the Ocean Corporation Underwater welding training prepares you for the various situations acing everyday commercial divers are and offshore oilfield diving operations.
One of the advantages is the campus location. In Houston, Texas, the Ocean Corporation campus is located near the Gulf of Mexico, where most commercial diving occurs. As a result, students learn how to act in different situations, advanced techniques, and use their underwater welding equipment.
Besides that, students learn about offshore survival and safety, non-destructive testing, and rigging certification. Students can practice in two hyperbaric chambers, a dive tank, and a diving bell.
- Websites: https://www.oceancorp.com/
- Address: 10840 Rockley Road, Houston, Texas 77099
- Phone: 800-321-0298
- Estimated Cost of Attendance: $30,000
- Estimated Out-of-Pocket cost: $13,410
- School facilities: Diving complex, complete with six tanks, ranging from 8’ to 24’; two hyperbaric decompression chamber installations as well as a 400’ rated wet lock-out bell diving system, and a 1,000 square ft. surface welding yard
4. Commercial Diving Tech Institute
The Commercial Diving Tech Institute is one of the most affordable commercial diving schools in the US. The campus is located in Hudson, Florida.
Institute offers several internationally recognized certifications. Graduates learn everything they need to start working straight out of school.
Schools offer DCBC international certification, which is recognized by the IMCA (International Marine Contractors Association). The certificate includes 900 hours, a five-month course, that increases your chances of getting a job, and it will qualify you to work at the maximum recommended depths.
Besides DCBC, training consists of OSHA HAZMAT, Oxy-Arc Underwater Cutting, Non-destructive testing, Ultrasonic inspection, and several other underwater welding certifications.
There is also a shorter, 625-hours National Surface Supplied Diver comprehensive training. Graduates earn ADCI certification over three months, which proves they are capable of working in the US.
- Website: https://www.cdtdiving.com/
- Address: 17212 US-19, Hudson, Florida 34667
- Phone: (352) 209-1234
- Program Cost: Unrestricted Surface Supplied Diver $22,000.00, National Surface Supplied Diver $17,000.00, Diver Medic Technician $2400, Underwater Burning Specialist $2400
- Training facilities: Unique training facility features a water depth of 250′ with underground geological features, Front and center is a real offshore platform
5. Hydroweld USA
Hydroweld USA offers specialized dry and wet welding courses. The campus is located in Miami, Florida, and students can choose from various programs.
Students can practice in a 45,000-gallon training and research tank. Programs include different qualifications, welding, cutting, hydroarc-gouging, and more.
The commercial diving course is affordable, and the school helps students with job assistance across the globe. In addition, tuition fees cover food and drinks.
To start the underwater welding course, you must first have a commercial diving certificate. You can take a Welder Performance Qualification test to D3.6 AWS class B weld standards by completing the ten-day course.
Hydroweld USA is more than just a school. The Welding Institute has a research and development department that works with various welding organizations and improves commercial diving technologies.
- Website: http://www.hydroweld.com/
- Address: 114 Dockside Circle, Weston, Florida 33327
- Phone: 954-385-5678
- Email: email@example.com
- Wet Welder Training Cost: $5500.00 includes materials, consumables, testing and Lloyds witnessing.
- Training Facilities: Indoor, 20’diameter x 20′ deep, 45,000 gallon, filtered and treated training and research tank.
6. Divers Academy International
DAI – Divers Academy International offers students with intensive six-months training. The campus is located in Erial, New Jersey.
Academy is one of the oldest dive schools in the US, training commercial divers for four decades. Divers Academy International is an accredited and widely respected institution across the US and the world.
This underwater welding school offers different certifications, including ACDE, ADCI, ANSI. In addition, the AWS SENSE program approves the Certificate of Completion. Every lesson starts with a safety briefing, and housing help students stay close to the training grounds.
School is sponsored by Lincoln Electric which equip students with the latest and high-quality technology provided by experienced instructors. To specialize in underwater welding, you will need to complete an advanced D3.6 AWS qualification field test.
- Website: https://www.diversacademy.edu
- Phone: 1-800-238-DIVE (3483)
- Address: 1500 Liberty Place, Erial, NJ 08081
- Estimated Tuition and Fees: $32,925
- Training Facility: Custom-designed facility includes onsite open dive quarry, decompression chambers, diving helmets, classrooms, and fully-equipped technical labs
7. International Diving Institute
IDI – International Diving Institute training is located at South Carolina’s Old Charleston Navy Base. Underwater welding programs are accredited by the Association of Diving Contractors and Lloyd’s Register.
This accredited commercial diving school offers a 16-week comprehensive program. The program includes 640 hours of training, which includes underwater welding. Besides technical skills, students learn about underwater and topside welding. In addition, there is an optional ROV pilot technician course.
To earn an AWS underwater welder certification, you must first be a licensed commercial diver. Students at International Diving Institute start a two-week, 80 hour-long course. In the end, you take the practical test with a Lloyd’s Register Surveyor.
The important thing is the various financial assistance, veteran aid, and scholarship options every year.
- Website: https://www.idicharleston.edu/
- Phone: (843) 740-1124
- Address: 2340 Avenue F, North Charleston, SC 29405
- Program length: Air/Mixed Gas Surface Supplied Diving 16 week, 640 hour; Underwater welding 2 weeks
- Requirements: 18 years, GED or a high school diploma, dive physical exam
- Housing: Campus is capable of housing approximately 148 students
8. CDA Technical Institute
The Commercial Diving Academy Technical Institute is located in Jacksonville, Florida, and the owner is Captain Rey Black, a commercial diver, and underwater welder. Institute also provides students with on-campus housing.
CDA Technical Institute hires a team of experienced instructors which prepares students for various situations. Certification is fully accredited and internationally recognized.
Students at CDA Technical Institute offer dry welding, wet and hyperbaric welding, and all the essentials that you need to become a certified commercial diver. Still, commercial diving programs are not enough to become an underwater welding specialist.
However, graduates get a Topside Welding for Commercial Divers, ADC Entry Level Tender/Diver, and Unrestricted Surface Supplied Diving certification from the DCBC. CDA Technical Institute certification is recognized by the IMCA, which allows you to work as a commercial diver worldwide.
- Website: https://www.commercialdivingacademy.com/
- Address: 91 Trout River Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32208
- Phone: 888-974-2232
- Cost of Attendance: On Campus $34,578.75 plus applicable sales tax; Off Campus $28,774.00 plus applicable sales tax
- 20-30 weeks Program: Practical Experience Hours 527, Classroom Hours:344
- Training Facilities: 20′ orientation tank and clearwater pool; open water training on the Trout River, a low-visibility, swift-moving tidal waterway
9. Santa Barbara City College
SBCC: Santa Barbara City College offers Marine Diving Technology and Associate in Science certification. The marine technology program requires 16 credits. Students learn the principles and advanced parts of underwater diving, cutting, and welding. In addition, you get all the skills necessary to start welding independently.
However, Santa Barbara City College Skill Competency Award is not enough to get a job in the commercial diving industry. Graduates still get ANSI certification in the commercial diver program. In addition, this is the only community college accredited by IDSA and the Diver Certification Board of Canada.
To become a certified underwater welder, you will need to complete a specialization course to earn an American Welding Society certification. In addition, it is still enough to start your underwater welding career.
- Website: https://www.sbcc.edu/
- Address: 721 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93109
- Phone: (805) 965-0581
- One semester fees: Resident $616.00, Non-resident $ 2,145.00
- Financial Assistance: Free Application for Federal Student Aid, California Dream Act, California College Promise Grant
- Marine Diving Technician Program: 25.44 units
10. South Louisiana Community College
South Louisiana Community College offers students 750 hours of practical experience in entry-level diving. In addition, students develop their skills as hyperbaric welders in a young memorial campus.
College Commercial Diving Program grants graduates several certifications. First, there is Entry-Level Tender/Diver Certification, which ADCI fully accredits. In addition, you can get ACDE Commercial Diver Certification, Water Survival/HUET, Safe Gulf, API Approved Rigging and DAN Diving First aid for Professional Divers.
Students learn about safety protocols, the good and bad sides of hyperbaric environment, and maintaining and using their underwater tools properly. In addition, you earn enough knowledge to demonstrate once you start your employment and show your underwater welds.
- Website: https://www.solacc.edu/
- Phone: (337) 521-9000
- Address: 1101 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette, LA 70506
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Total Degree Hours: 751
- Total Degree Credits: 20
- Program requirements: 18 years, GED or high-school diploma, nationally recognized Open Water SCUBA Certification, ADCI Commercial Diver physical
Things to Consider When Choosing an Underwater Welding School
There are various underwater welding schools to choose from. They offer different training certifications and facilities.
Your choice depends on your underwater welding career plans. You should also consider tuition costs, program lengths, financial aid, location, and job placement assistance.
Cost of Attendance
Underwater welding training courses are expensive. Average tuition worldwide is about $15,000, while approximate education in the US costs around $17,500.
Several factors affect the cost of the training. They vary from the school and include a degree of specialization, certification, and career opportunities.
In most cases, besides tuition, you will have to pay for the equipment, books, housing, and other living expenses.
Tuition Assistance and Financial Aid
Since programs can be pretty expensive, most of the interested students cant afford underwater welding schools. That’s why it is essential to choose a training school that offers Federal Assistance Programs and other financial assistance to their students.
Before you make your choice, you should contact the finance office and find out if they can make it easier for you. Luckily we included the helpful information in the article to help you make the right choice.
School location is one of the essential things you need to consider when making a choice. If you live far from the institute, you’ll need to arrange housing or pay extra funds for living on campus.
Diving training can be exhausting, so traveling to your school every day can be challenging. In addition, some of the schools are located near the parts where actual underwater welding jobs are being done. That way, you have a real-world experience while studying.
Keep in mind that underwater welding programs are much shorter than other occupations. For example, most commercial diving courses in the US are 25.5 weeks long, while some can be as long as 35 weeks. However, extensive training can even last 88 weeks.
You should fit the program length to your need. Keep in mind that course length determines how in-depth your training as an underwater welder can be.
Job Placement Assistance
Commercial diver salary is one of the essential things people consider before choosing the best underwater welding schools. To get there, you want to select a school that will help you find employment and prove your skills.
Some of the listed best underwater welding schools will help you start as soon as you complete your training. Starting employment right after graduating from an underwater welding school will help you practice and learn new hands-on training and skills every day. In addition, you will earn an excellent underwater welding salary.
Careers in Underwater Welding
When people talk about diving, the first thing they assume is deep ocean water. However, commercial diving is being done in various locations around the world, either inland or offshore.
Keep in mind there are plenty of jobs, onshore and offshore, and prepare students for different risks such as electric shock, differential pressure, or decompression sickness.
Inland underwater welding includes many different jobs and situations in the lakes, rivers, dams, and more. Divers are dealing with low visibility and high currents. In addition, they travel a lot.
Most of the jobs include pier and pile repair or installation, underwater construction, building and repairing a dam, or even ships.
Offshore diving is the first thing people think when talking about underwater welding.
Commercial divers work in the open ocean, off ships, and on platforms across the world.
You will be charged with repairing oil rigs, building oil structures, salvaging shipwrecks, and other types of subsea construction.
Keep in mind that offshore diving is difficult and dangerous. In addition, underwater welding pays a lot. Underwater welders work worldwide, such as in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, and many other places.
However, job opportunities are limited to a season, usually from April to November. The reason is harsh environmental conditions, such as strong currents and possibly dangerous waters.
Commercial diving, including underwater welding, is as rewarding as it is a risky career. Experienced and skilled workers are always wanted, and major companies pay well.
To get to a place where you can choose your job, you first need to get a proper education. To reduce a risk that is usually linked to the profession, you’ll need to select one of the best underwater welding schools.
When making a choice, you need to think about several things. The ones that stand out are the location, costs, job placement, and tuition assistance.