To professionals all around the industry, I am here to present you a problem. We have shortage of personnel for our industry. The average age of a welder in the USA is 55; the wave of coming retirements will leave manufacturers at a disadvantage. The American Welding Society estimates that by 2020 there will be a shortage of 290,000 professionals, including inspectors, engineers, and teachers. “We’re dealing with a lost generation”, they say (link)
As of now, I am taking steps to promote the API´S Indiviual Certification Program more. In November 2013, API had granted 28725 certifications of its Individual certification Program worldwide. In April 2015, that number had grown to 34961. API increased certifications from 11 to 13.. As you can see, interest in API certifications is growing at a steady pace.
That´s why we have this guest post Matt Smith, Creator of Water Welders, specifically tailored for Underwater welders
Most commercial divers are quite familiar with organizations like the IMCA )International Marine Contractors Association), HSE, ADC and IDSA (International Diving Schools Association). As a professional diver, you’ve already earned your commercial diving certificate and can operate in open water.
But you’re also subject to major employment competition. Welding is one area that many divers aren’t adept in.
Picture taken from the Tanker Loader Unit TLU in Coveñas, Colombia
Big Movers: Inspection & Welding Certification Organizations
To operate at a high level in the construction industry in the Gulf, I recommend gaining certification through the American Welding Society (AWS) and American Petroleum Institute (API). The British Standard uses welding equivalency certifications for our UK friends.
Divers may perform underwater hyperbaric and wet welding on oil rigs and offshore vessels. The AWS manual 3.6 offers training in multiple classes of underwater welds.
API’s Influence in Your Career
The API has a major voice in construction safety, standardization and job growth. Because underwater welders in the offshore industry don’t work year around, it’s beneficial to have other certifications besides diving so that you can find construction work.
API certifications allow for this.
Underwater Welders: API Certifications
The API also offers multiple certifications for welders, inspectors and metallurgy professionals. I recommend these certifications as most beneficial to a commercial diver and underwater welder:
- API 570 – Piping Inspector
- API 1169 – Pipeline Inspector
- API 1104
- API TES – Tank Entry Supervisor
- API 571 – Corrosion and Materials Professional
- API 577 – Welding Inspection and Metallurgy Professional
- API 580 – Risk Based Inspection Professional
- CSWIP Demand for CSWIP underwater courses continues to expand worldwide
Cotecmar´s ship elevator in Cartagena, Colombia
How to Earn Certs
Employers – both inland and offshore – look for divers with these qualifications. Inspections are routine throughout the maritime industry, along pipelines, tanks and hulls. You can earn certification by taking the following steps:
- Selecting your program
- Applying for the certification
- Finding testing center near you
Upon earning certification, you’ll need to maintain and practice your skill. You may do this as an apprentice under another qualified individual with the same certification.
Written by Matt Smith, Creator of Water Welders. Water Welders exists to educate, train and resource prospective and current underwater welders, focusing on all aspects of commercial diving and welding.