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Become A Hydrogeologist

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Working As A Hydrogeologist

  • Getting Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Processing Information
  • $87,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Hydrogeologist Do

Hydrologists study how water moves across and through the Earth’s crust. They study how rain, snow, and other forms of precipitation impact river flows or groundwater levels, and how surface water and groundwater evaporate back into the atmosphere or eventually reach the oceans. Hydrologists analyze how water influences the surrounding environment and how changes to the environment influence the quality and quantity of water. They use their expertise to solve problems concerning water quality and availability.

Duties

Hydrologists typically do the following:

  • Measure the properties of bodies of water, such as volume and stream flow
  • Collect water and soil samples to test for certain properties, such as the pH or pollution levels
  • Analyze data on the environmental impacts of pollution, erosion, drought, and other problems
  • Research ways to minimize the negative impacts of erosion, sedimentation, or pollution on the environment
  • Use computer models to forecast future water supplies, the spread of pollution, floods, and other events
  • Evaluate the feasibility of water-related projects, such as hydroelectric power plants, irrigation systems, and wastewater treatment facilities
  • Prepare written reports and presentations of their findings

Hydrologists may use remote sensing equipment to collect data. They, or technicians whom they supervise, usually install and maintain this equipment. Hydrologists also use sophisticated computer programs to analyze the data collected. Computer models are often developed by hydrologists to help them understand complex datasets. Hydrologists also use geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning system (GPS) equipment to do their jobs.

Hydrologists work closely with engineers, scientists, and public officials to study and manage the water supply. For example, they work with policymakers to develop water conservation plans and with biologists to monitor wildlife in order to allow for their water needs.

Most hydrologists specialize in a particular water source or a certain aspect of the water cycle, such as the evaporation of water from lakes and streams. The following are examples of types of hydrologists:

Groundwater hydrologists study the water below the Earth’s surface. Most groundwater hydrologists focus on the cleanup of groundwater contaminated by spilled chemicals at a factory, an airport, or a gas station. Some groundwater hydrologists focus on water supply and decide the best locations for wells and the amount of water available for pumping. These hydrologists often give advice about the best places to build waste disposal sites to ensure that groundwater is not contaminated.

Surface water hydrologists study water from aboveground sources such as streams, lakes, and snowpacks. They may predict future water levels by tracking usage and precipitation data to help reservoir managers decide when to release or store water. They also produce flood forecasts and help develop flood management plans.

Work done by hydrologists can sometimes include topics typically associated with atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists. Scientists with an education in hydrology who concentrate their efforts in the area of water quality are environmental scientists and specialists. Some people with a hydrology background become high school teachers or postsecondary teachers.

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How To Become A Hydrogeologist

Hydrologist need at least a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions; however, some workers begin their careers with a master’s degree. 

Education

Hydrologists need at least a bachelor’s degree, and some begin their careers with a master’s degree. Applicants for advanced research and university faculty positions typically need a Ph.D.

Few universities offer undergraduate degrees in hydrology; instead, most universities offer hydrology concentrations in their geosciences, engineering, or earth science programs. Students interested in becoming hydrologists need extensive coursework in math, statistics, and physical, computer, and life sciences. Hydrologists may find it helpful to have a background in economics, environmental law, and other government policy related topics. Knowledge of these areas may help hydrologists communicate with and understand the goals of policymakers and other government workers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Hydrologists need to analyze data collected in the field and examine the results of laboratory tests.

Communication skills. Hydrologists prepare detailed reports that document their research methods and findings. They may have to present their findings to people who do not have a technical background, such as government officials or the general public.

Critical-thinking skills. Hydrologists assess the potential risks to the water supply by pollution, floods, droughts, and other threats. They develop water management plans to handle these threats.

Interpersonal skills. Most hydrologists work as part of a diverse team with engineers, technicians, and other scientists.

Physical stamina. When they are in the field, hydrologists may need to hike to remote locations while carrying testing and sampling equipment.

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Hydrogeologist Jobs

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Average Yearly Salary
$87,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$54,000
Min 10%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$142,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Chevron
Highest Paying City
Duluth, MN
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.3 years
How much does a Hydrogeologist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Hydrogeologist in the United States is $87,757 per year or $42 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $54,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $142,000.

Real Hydrogeologist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Hydrogelogist SRK Consulting (U.S.), Inc. Denver, CO Oct 20, 2016 $114,712
Environmental Hydrogeologist Chevron Corporation San Ramon, CA Aug 25, 2016 $101,500
Hydrogeologist SRK Consulting (U.S.), Inc. Denver, CO Aug 27, 2016 $95,000
Hydrolgeologist (Groundwater Modeler) SRK Consulting (U.S.), Inc. Lakewood, CO Sep 14, 2013 $87,235 -
$100,000
Hydrogeologist 3 Ch2M Hill, Inc. Sacramento, CA Jan 12, 2015 $82,430
Project Hydrogeologist Itasca Denver, Inc. Lakewood, CO Sep 06, 2012 $81,000 -
$95,000
Project Hydrogeologist Itasca Denver, Inc. Lakewood, CO Jul 23, 2012 $80,184 -
$92,678
Hydrogeologist 4 Ch2M Hill, Inc. Sacramento, CA Sep 10, 2015 $75,562
Project Hydrogeologist Itasca Denver, Inc. Lakewood, CO Aug 08, 2015 $75,500 -
$84,000
Project Hydrogeologist Itasca Denver, Inc. Lakewood, CO Jun 01, 2014 $75,500 -
$82,000
Project Hydrogeologist Schlumberger Technology Corporation Reno, NV Jan 03, 2012 $75,010
Project Hydrogeologist Itasca Denver, Inc. Lakewood, CO Sep 06, 2012 $70,000 -
$80,000
Hydrogeologist Geomatrix Consultants, Inc. Newport Beach, CA Oct 20, 2009 $68,744
Hydrogeologist Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. Newport News, VA May 06, 2010 $67,222
Hydrogeologist Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. Newport News, VA Feb 15, 2010 $67,222
Project Hydrogeologist Itasca Denver, Inc. Lakewood, CO Jun 01, 2011 $67,000 -
$72,000
Hydrogeologist SRK Consulting (U.S.), Inc. Anchorage, AK Sep 25, 2012 $66,643 -
$80,000
Hydrogeologist Intera, Incorporated Richland, WA Dec 01, 2010 $65,400
Project Hydrogeologist Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. Newport News, VA Feb 25, 2010 $65,000
Hydrogeologist Cherokee Nation Technology Solutions, LLC Reston, VA Jul 01, 2013 $63,500
Hydrogeologist 3 Ch2M Hill, Inc. Sacramento, CA Sep 10, 2012 $63,315
Staff Hydrogeologist Haley & Aldrich, Inc. San Diego, CA Oct 01, 2011 $62,878
Hydrogeologist I Worleyparsons Group, Inc. Fountain Valley, CA Sep 17, 2012 $62,795
Project Hydrogeologist Hopkins Groundwater Consultants, Inc. CA Sep 17, 2015 $62,400
Hydrogeologist Groundwater Solutions, Inc. Portland, OR Oct 01, 2009 $60,736

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Top Skills for A Hydrogeologist

  1. Water Samples
  2. Oversight
  3. Safety Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Collected soil and groundwater samples for laboratory analysis.
  • Field activities included: excavation oversight and confirmatory and stockpile sampling.
  • Prepared proposals, work plans, field sampling plans, and health and safety plans with project team.
  • Supervised multiple UST removals with contaminated soil excavation followed by groundwater monitoring.
  • Performed environmental audits of fully regulated Class D facility for environmental compliance.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Hydrogeologists

  1. Alaska
  2. Louisiana
  3. Texas
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Hawaii
  6. New Jersey
  7. California
  8. Montana
  9. Washington
  10. District of Columbia
  • (8 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (40 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (216 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)

Hydrogeologist Demographics

Gender

Male

71.0%

Female

20.5%

Unknown

8.5%
Ethnicity

White

63.4%

Hispanic or Latino

13.8%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

4.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

41.7%

French

8.3%

Portuguese

5.6%

Chinese

5.6%

German

5.6%

Italian

5.6%

Dutch

2.8%

Hungarian

2.8%

Greek

2.8%

Hebrew

2.8%

Japanese

2.8%

Amharic

2.8%

Mandarin

2.8%

Russian

2.8%

Polish

2.8%

Korean

2.8%
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Hydrogeologist Education

Schools

University of Arizona

11.2%

University of Florida

7.8%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

7.8%

Colorado School of Mines

6.0%

University of South Carolina - Columbia

5.2%

Kent State University

5.2%

University of Texas at Austin

5.2%

Ohio University -

4.3%

Florida Atlantic University

4.3%

Ohio State University

4.3%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

4.3%

Oklahoma State University

4.3%

San Jose State University

4.3%

Clemson University

4.3%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

4.3%

Wright State University

3.4%

Pennsylvania State University

3.4%

California University of Pennsylvania

3.4%

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

3.4%

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

3.4%
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Majors

Geology

70.6%

Environmental Science

6.8%

Geological Engineering

3.6%

Business

2.9%

Civil Engineering

2.3%

Geography

1.6%

Political Science

1.3%

Soil Science

1.3%

Management

1.0%

Elementary Education

1.0%

Education

1.0%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.0%

Computer Information Systems

0.8%

Mathematics

0.8%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

0.8%

Nursing

0.8%

Environmental Engineering

0.8%

Agricultural Engineering

0.5%

Public Health

0.5%

Biology

0.5%
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Degrees

Masters

45.7%

Bachelors

34.9%

Other

9.6%

Doctorate

6.1%

Certificate

2.3%

Associate

0.9%

Diploma

0.5%
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