To become a hydrologist, you need to begin by determining if a career as a hydrologist is right for you. If you want to work in a well-paying and dynamic career in which you can help protect our water resources, becoming a hydrologist may be a great career choice for you!
Hydrologists are responsible for studying the occurrence, distribution and properties of water on the earth’s surface, in the atmosphere and in soil. They also examine issues such as the relationship between rainfall and runoff, and the effects of precipitation on soils and various landscapes.
To become a hydrologist, you need to begin by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology, Hydrology or a closely related field such as Environmental Science. Completing coursework geology, hydrology, chemistry, mathematics and physics is a great way to build an educational foundation for your prospective career as a hydrologist.
Depending on where your career ambitions and interests lie, you will likely need a graduate degree in geology, hydrology, chemistry or environmental science to become a senior level hydrologist. Employers also usually accept a degree in Environmental Engineering provided the candidate has experience in one of the above-mentioned fields.
Depending on the requirements of the employer, a Master’s degree in Geology, Hydrology, Chemistry or Environmental Science is typically sufficient for many applied research positions. To become a hydrologist who works in research and university teaching positions a PhD in hydrology, geology or environmental science is needed.
Hydrologists must also complete continuing education throughout their careers in order to keep their skills current stay up to date with advancements in the field.
To become an effective hydrologist, you need more than training and education. Below are some of the personality characteristics and skills needed to succeed in a career as a hydrologist.
• Analytical reasoning skills
• Attention to detail
• Excellent oral and written communication skills
• The ability to write clear and informative reports
• The ability to work independently and as part of a team
• An interest in the environment and our natural resources
• The ability to look at issues from an objective standpoint
• Must be comfortable working outside
Hydrologists typically work on a full-time permanent basis, although some may be employed on a contractual or interim basis. The following types of organizations usually hire them:
• Natural resource companies
• Civil and environmental engineering firms
• Environmental and forestry consulting firms
• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments
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