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Hydrologist: Career Information

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Job Description - Hydrologist:

A hydrologist is a scientist who researches the distribution, circulation and physical properties of underground and surface waters. He or she may help environmental scientists and other scientists preserve and clean up the environment or may search for groundwater.

Employment Facts - Hydrologist:

There were 8,000 hydrologists employed in 2008.

Educational Requirements - Hydrologist:

To work as an entry-level hydrologist one usually needs a master's degree in geoscience, environmental science or engineering with a concentration in hydrology or water sciences.

Other Requirements - Hydrologist:

Some states require that hydrologists have licenses that are issued by state licensing boards. To get a licence one usually must meet specified educational and experience requirements and pass an exam. Those wishing to work in states that do not require a license may get voluntary certification such as the one offered by the American Institute of Hydrology.

Advancement Opportunities - Hydrologist:

An entry-level hydrologist will likely begin his or her career working as a research assistant or technician in a laboratory or office. Alternatively he or she may work in field exploration. With experience, a hydrologist may become a project leader, program manager, or may be promoted to a senior research position.

Job Outlook - Hydrologist:

Employment opportunities for hydrologists should be excellent over the next several years. This occupation should grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2018.

Earnings - Hydrologist:

Hydrologists earned a median annual salary of $73,670 in 2009 (U.S.).

Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much a hydrologist currently earns in your city.

A Day in a Hydrologist's Life:

On a typical day a hydrologist's tasks might include:

  • spending time outdoors
  • helping search for groundwater
  • using sophisticated instruments to analyze the composition of water
  • monitoring the change in regional and global water cycles
  • assessing flow rates and water quality

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Hydrologist, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos312.htm (visited January 28, 2011).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Hydrologist, on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/link/details/19-2043.00 (visited January 28, 2011).

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