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What does a Hydrologist do?

Learn all about Hydrologist duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Hydrologist.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 4 min read

A hydrologist is a scientist who studies water, its movement and distribution, and the factors that affect it. Hydrologists work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, universities, and private companies. They may conduct research, monitor water resources, or develop policies to protect and manage water resources.

Hydrologist job duties include:

  • Conducts fieldwork to collect data on water resources, including surface water, groundwater, and soil moisture
  • Operates and maintains a variety of equipment to collect data, including water level recorders, current meters, and sediment samplers
  • Analyzes data using computer models to understand the hydrologic cycle and predict how changes in land use will impact water resources
  • Prepares reports and presents findings to clients or government officials
  • Designs or recommends plans to develop or conserve water resources, such as irrigation systems or groundwater recharge projects
  • Monitors and forecasts conditions during drought or flood periods
  • Investigates complaints of illegal activities affecting water resources, such as unauthorized discharge of pollutants
  • Works with engineers on the construction of dams, canals, and other water resource projects
  • Teaches hydrology courses at the college level

Hydrologist Job Requirements

A hydrologist is a scientist who studies water, its movement, distribution, and quality. Hydrologists are employed in a variety of settings, including government agencies, consulting firms, and academia. A bachelor's degree in hydrology or a related field is the minimum educational requirement for most entry-level positions; however, some employers may prefer candidates with a master's degree or higher. Certification is not required to work as a hydrologist, but many professionals choose to pursue voluntary certification through organizations such as the American Institute of Hydrology. Several years of experience are typically required for advancement to senior positions.

Hydrologist Skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Computer skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Data analysis skills
  • Detail oriented
  • GIS skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Math skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Research skills

Related: Top Hydrologist Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Hydrologist

A hydrologist is a scientist who studies the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth. Hydrologists play an important role in water resource management and are employed in a variety of settings, including government agencies, consulting firms, and academia.

If you're interested in becoming a hydrologist, you'll need to complete a bachelor's degree in hydrology or a related field such as civil engineering, geology, or environmental science. Many hydrologists also pursue advanced degrees, such as master's degrees or doctorates.

In addition to completing formal education, hydrologists must also be proficient in fieldwork and computer modeling. Fieldwork is essential for collecting data about water resources, while computer modeling is used to simulate and predict water behavior.

If you're interested in becoming a hydrologist, start by completing a bachelor's degree in hydrology or a related field. Then, gain experience in fieldwork and computer modeling. Finally, consider pursuing an advanced degree to further your career.

Related: Hydrologist Resume Example

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