M. Cristina’s Answer
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Florida is definitely the place to live if you are looking for a career in underwater welding! That takes care of one major potential hurdle.
It is my understanding that Job Corps offers career advising services for graduates; before you finish up, it would be a good idea to speak to someone to figure out what your next steps are in your long-term career plan. Based on their experience with others in your field of choice, what are the necessary certification, licensure, and fieldwork expectations? They may be able to connect you to a person who is already working in underwater welding, and you can conduct an informational interview to get some invaluable tips and advice from someone who was once in your shoes.
Becoming a commercial diver seems like an excellent next step after obtaining your welding certificate. It would also be a good idea to take some time to gain experience as a welder on the surface. Since underwater welding, in general, is a very specific career choice, you will want to stand out as much as possible from other candidates, specifically the fellow new-graduates who don't have much by way of "real world" experience. Take welding projects whenever you can and really fine-tune your skills. You may end up getting hired down the road for more lucrative underwater welding positions after you become a commercial diver.
Don't be afraid to start small, when it comes to working. Dive tender positions are a great place to start, so you can start to gain some experience and build connections with people who can network with you to climb the career ladder into exactly the kinds of positions you want. Look into construction companies that do a lot of work offshore; they are always going to be looking for these entry-level sorts of jobs.
I hope some of that was helpful to you. Good luck! Underwater welding can be a lucrative career, but it is risky, and it may take some time for you to work your way into your dream job, but if you have the perseverance and the motivation to keep your skills sharp, you'll make it!
M. Cristina recommends the following next steps:
- Speak to a career advisor or transition coach; conduct informational interviews with experienced underwater welders.
- Gain experience as a welder on the surface.
- Obtain commercial diving license.
- Start off as a dive tender to gain skills on a small-scale, then work your way up the career ladder.
- Network with credible people in the field to support you to find exactly the job you want, once you have enough real-world experience.
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