HYDROLOGISTS study the quantity, distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters and how they affect the environment. Hydrologists study the chemistry and quality of water and its role as a natural agent that creates changes in the earth. They map and chart water flow and disposition of sediment. Hydrologists collect and analyze water to determine what changes have occurred over a certain period of time. They evaluate data obtained in reference to flood and drought forecasting, soil and water conservation programs, and planning water supply, water power, flood control, drainage, irrigation, crop production, and inland navigation projects.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $75,500 average per year ($36.25 per hour)
- A small occupation (6,900 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (1.8% per year)
A bachelor's degree in hydrology is the minimum requirement for entry-level positions, such as field exploration and laboratory research assistants. HYDROLOGISTS in higher level positions with more advancement opportunities usually need at least a master's degree in geology or geophysics. A Ph.D. is necessary for most research positions in colleges and universities, and is also important for work in federal agencies and some state geological surveys that involve basic research. Licensing is required in order to use the title professional hydrologist.