Many people look for the best underwater welding schools, believing they’ll find one institution that meets all of their needs.
This is simply not true.
Many professional diving schools are run and operated around the world, including:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
Other countries also have underwater welding and hyperbaric welding training, but the diving schools are the most prominent.
Choosing from the best underwater welding schools means you must have a list of priorities going into it. Each underwater welding school provides specific program training for students. Some are a “bare bones” structure, covering only the basics and leaving advanced training on the table. Others provide a fully comprehensive atmosphere, even including campus lodging, food and add-on programs for advanced training.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the available diving schools.
Best Underwater Welding Schools: Starting your Training Right
Here’s a list of the best underwater welding schools by country and region. It also provides more specific information on their specific location through state or province.
- CDA Technical Institute (Florida)
- Divers Academy International (New Jersey)
- Divers Institute of Technology (Washington)
- Hydroweld (Florida)
- International Diving Institute (South Carolina)
- National University Polytechnic Institute (San Diego)
- Santa Barbara City College (California)
- South Central Louisiana Technical College (Louisiana)
- The Ocean Corporation (Texas)
- Canadian Working Divers Institute (Ontario)
- DiveSafe International (British Columbia)
- Holland College (Prince Edward Island)
- Seneca College (Ontario)
- ABJ Welding (Sanbaai)
Underwater Welding Programs & Training: Prioritizing each Variable
Like any career path, underwater welding (or hyperbaric welding) provides education with many variables. These variables are met with different priorities. There are several factors to take into consideration when isolating the best underwater welding schools.
What gets you the best bang for your buck? Each training facility includes different costs that provide an overall pricing package. Be on the lookout for these cost categories. If they’re not listed on the school’s website, ask the admissions officer what all is included and what you must pay for yourself.
- Underwater Welding Equipment
- Books/Classroom Materials
Your overall perceived value of the program will be based on your expenses versus the certification, training and knowledge you obtain after graduating. Look over underwater welding courses and modules to determine this value.
High Quality Instruction
Summarize instructors at underwater welding schools in one word.
That’s the word I would use. Instructors have a lot on their plate. Though their classes are usually quite small, each individual demands their attention and help.
However, that busyness doesn’t always translate to a high quality instructor. Some instructors are inexperienced and haven’t dealt much with real commercial diving work. Others have done a good deal of work, but their last gig was 20 years ago and they’re not staying current with the equipment and methodology of the commercial diving industry.
High quality = Real world, Current Diving Experience
This is the kind of instructors you’re looking for. Ask the admissions team about their instructors. How often do they work on projects outside of their instruction? Does the school allow instructors to take time away from work to focus on diving certification and professional experience?
It’s not easy to investigate, but the more you learn about your future teachers, the more confidence you’ll have in them.
For best results: Travel to the school directly and speak with instructors.
Program Length & Schedule
Time is against you. Unlike doctors, lawyers, and a plethora of other professions, you can’t afford to spend four-plus years as a student.
Underwater welding is a fast-moving career, and the best underwater welding schools keep you on a rigorous schedule. This simulates your real work environment – especially offshore. As an underwater welder, you won’t always be working throughout the year. But when you do, it will add up to long hours.
Underwater welding schools’ programs usually differ in length according to national and international requirements. Also, schools may offer extra incentives inside their programs, such as an underwater welding course or a classroom project that otherwise would not have been included. To give you the best price, schools often combine their coursework into one comprehensive package lasting many months.
It’s up to you to determine if the time spent in the program is worth it.
How much do certifications matter? To be among the best underwater welding schools, certification is prioritized at the top.
Some commercial diving schools specialize in one or two certifications like Hydroweld or ABJ Welding. Many schools issue a surface supplied diving certification – either restricted or unrestricted. This is the official certification to operate as a qualified diver-welder or “commercial diver.”
Other certifications like emergency diving/CPR, underwater welding and Non-destructive Testing can take you to the next level as a diver. Due to the specialization of maritime companies, not all will demand the certifications you have earned. Therefore, it’s important that you ask questions to active commercial divers to see what the industry is demanding. You’ll probably receive quite a few answers, but from these answers you can gauge how much each certification might be worth to you.
You can always go back to earn more certs later on.
One other thing in your research:
Look at which organizations are backing your certification. Some are internationally recognized, others local. Your certifications won’t hold water if they aren’t backed by a reputable organization.
Where Your Research Lies: Best Underwater Welding Schools
Based on these factors, which school do you believe should be ranked among the “best”? What other factors should we consider when ranking an underwater welding school? Please let us know in the comments below!