Also called: Groundwater Consultant, Hydrogeologist, Hydrologist, Research Hydrologist
Produced by CareerOneStop
Video transcript: skip transcript
More than seventy percent of Earth’s surface is covered by water… which supplies a lot of work material for hydrologists— the scientists who study how water moves across and through the Earth’s crust. They solve problems to improve water quality and increase the availability of water. The core of a hydrologist’s job involves measuring the properties of bodies of water, collecting and testing water samples, and analyzing the impact of pollution, erosion, and drought. They use sophisticated computer programs and sensing equipment to forecast future water levels, and may supervise technicians who operate the equipment. Hydrologists also evaluate the feasibility and impact of projects such as hydroelectric dams or irrigation systems, then report their findings and recommendations. Most hydrologists specialize; for example, groundwater hydrologists study water below the earth’s surface and plan cleanup of contaminated groundwater from chemical spills, or advise on locating wells safely. Hydrologists generally spend time working both in an office and in the field. In the field, hydrologists may collect samples and inspect equipment while knee-deep in lakes and streams. Many jobs require significant travel. Most hydrologists work full time, but the length of daily shifts may vary when in the field. Hydrologists need at least a bachelor’s degree, and some positions require a master’s degree. Candidates for advanced research and university faculty positions typically need a Ph.D.
What they do:Research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters; and study the form and intensity of precipitation and its rate of infiltration into the soil, movement through the earth, and return to the ocean and atmosphere.
On the job, you would:
- Prepare written and oral reports describing research results, using illustrations, maps, appendices, and other information.
- Design and conduct scientific hydrogeological investigations to ensure that accurate and appropriate information is available for use in water resource management decisions.
- Measure and graph phenomena such as lake levels, stream flows, and changes in water volumes.
Math and Science
Engineering and Technology
Arts and Humanities
People and Technology Systems
Ideas and Logic
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
Data base user interface and query software
See more details at O*NET OnLine about hydrologists.