Hydrologists

Research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters; and study the form and intensity of precipitation, its rate of infiltration into the soil, movement through the earth, and its return to the ocean and atmosphere.

Median Annual Wage: $78,370

Education: Bachelor's degree (54%); Master's degree (42%); Professional degree (4%)

Projected Growth: Average (8% to 14%)

Related Job Titles: Professor; Hydrogeologist; Hydrologist; Environmental Consultant; Groundwater Consultant; Hydraulic Engineer; Hydrologic Engineer; Research Hydrologist; Assistant Groundwater Engineer; Groundwater Programs Director

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Hydrologists.

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  • Prepare written and oral reports describing research results, using illustrations, maps, appendices, and other information.
  • Study and document quantities, distribution, disposition, and development of underground and surface waters.
  • Install, maintain, and calibrate instruments, such as those that monitor water levels, rainfall, and sediments.
  • Apply research findings to help minimize the environmental impacts of pollution, waterborne diseases, erosion, and sedimentation.
  • Conduct research and communicate information to promote the conservation and preservation of water resources.
  • Study public water supply issues, including flood and drought risks, water quality, wastewater, and impacts on wetland habitats.
  • Prepare hydrogeologic evaluations of known or suspected hazardous waste sites and land treatment and feedlot facilities.
  • Evaluate research data in terms of its impact on issues such as soil and water conservation, flood control planning, and water supply forecasting.
  • Evaluate data and provide recommendations regarding the feasibility of municipal projects, such as hydroelectric power plants, irrigation systems, flood warning systems, and waste treatment facilities.
  • Collect and analyze water samples as part of field investigations or to validate data from automatic monitors.
  • Measure and graph phenomena such as lake levels, stream flows, and changes in water volumes.
  • Coordinate and supervise the work of professional and technical staff, including research assistants, technologists, and technicians.
  • Develop computer models for hydrologic predictions.
  • Study and analyze the physical aspects of the earth in terms of the hydrological components, including atmosphere, hydrosphere, and interior structure.
  • Review applications for site plans and permits and recommend approval, denial, modification, or further investigative action.
  • Develop or modify methods of conducting hydrologic studies.
  • Answer questions and provide technical assistance and information to contractors or the public regarding issues such as well drilling, code requirements, hydrology, and geology.
  • Investigate complaints or conflicts related to the alteration of public waters, gathering information, recommending alternatives, informing participants of progress, and preparing draft orders.
  • Monitor the work of well contractors, exploratory borers, and engineers and enforce rules regarding their activities.
  • Conduct short-term and long-term climate assessments and study storm occurrences.
  • Design civil works associated with hydrographic activities and supervise their construction, installation, and maintenance.
  • Administer programs designed to ensure the proper sealing of abandoned wells.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Hydrologists.

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Hydrologists.

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