Hydrologists study how water moves across and through the Earth’s crust. They use their expertise to solve problems in the areas of water quality or availability.
Hydrologists work in offices and in the field. In offices, hydrologists spend much of their time using computers to analyze data and model their findings. In the field, hydrologists may have to wade into lakes and streams to collect samples or to read and inspect monitoring equipment.
How to Become a Hydrologist
Hydrologists need at least a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions; however, some workers begin their careers with a master’s degree.
Employment of hydrologists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Population growth and environmental concerns are expected to increase demand for hydrologists.
This occupation supported 7,400 jobs in 2012 and 7,000 jobs in 2014, reflecting a decline of 5.4%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 9.5% in 2022 to 8,100 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 7,500, compared with an observed value of 7,000, 6.7% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 6.8% in 2024 to 7,500 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 8,200 jobs for 2024, 9.3% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.