Hydrologist Careers

hydrologist-500As the name suggests, hydrologists spend their careers studying water, specifically how water moves in different ways throughout the planet. By better understanding the nature of water, as well as how it is distributed on the surface of the Earth and through the planet’s crust, hydrologists can help solve important issues like the availability and quality of water used by people every day.

There are specific types of hydrology, on which some who enter the field choose to focus their efforts. Some of these are chemical hydrology (study of the chemical characteristics of water), eco-hydrology (study of how organisms interact with the water cycle), and hydrogeology (study of groundwater).

Hydrologist Career Snapshot

As a hydrologist, your time would be split between the field and the office. While in the field, you would be collecting samples and collecting the data provided by the field equipment. Office work would include inputting and analyzing the date that was collected in the field and creating models based on that information.

Further details on a career as a hydrologist are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly salary for hydrologists.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Bachelor’s degree while 42% have a Master’s degree.

Hydrologist Education

While a bachelor’s degree is required in order to secure a position as a hydrologist, it is not uncommon for new scientists entering the field to have first obtained their master’s degree. Hydrology requires a grasp of mathematics, physics, and chemistry, as well as certain engineering concepts and related technology.

Hydrologist Job Duties

The duties of a hydrologist can differ from one day to the next, depending on whether he or she is working in the field or in the office. Collecting samples in the field typically involves wading into lakes and other bodies of water to retrieve the amount of water necessary to conduct the appropriate experiments. Time in the office centers around entering data into the appropriate computer software and analyzing the results.

Hydrologist Salaries

New hydrologists and those in the lowest 10% typically earn around $50,410. More experienced and highly educated scientists in this field can reach the $120,000 mark. As of the latest data obtained by the BLS.gov in May 2015, the median pay across the field of hydrology was $79,550.

Hydrologist Job Outlook

It has been estimated that the hydrology field will grow approximately 7% through 2024, which is about average for industries across the country. The boom in the planet’s human population and the resulting concerns about the environment are leading to more and greater opportunities for aspiring hydrologists.

Hydrologist Skills & Traits

Hydrologist Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Hydrologist:Typical Work Activities:
• Critical Thinking
• Reading Comprehension
• Science
• Active Listening
• Mathematics
• Inductive Reasoning
• Mathematical Reasoning
• Written Comprehension
• Written Expression
• Problem Sensitivity
• Logging instruments for water wells
• Open stream current meters
• Open stream water level recorders
• Water analyzers
• Water samplers
• Getting Information
• Analyzing Data
• Working with Computers
• Decision Making
• Processing Information

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