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Hydrologist

Alternative titles for this job include Water engineer, flood engineer, hydrology engineer

Hydrologists study rainfall, rivers and waterways to support the development of sustainable ways to manage water resources.

Average salary (a year)

£22,500 Starter

to

£46,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 45 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends occasionally

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a hydrologist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You can start by doing a degree in:

  • environmental science
  • geography
  • civil engineering
  • environmental engineering
  • Earth sciences
  • ecology

After finishing your degree, you could go on to complete a postgraduate course. You can find out more about relevant postgraduate courses from the British Hydrological Society.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information

Apprenticeship

You can do an environmental practitioner degree apprenticeship before specialising in hydrology.

This typically takes 5 years to complete as a mix of workplace learning and off-the-job study with an approved university.

Entry requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

More Information

Work

You could start as an assistant hydrologist if you have a relevant degree. Your employer may encourage you to study for a postgraduate qualification, like a master's or PhD in hydrology, while you're working.

More Information

Career tips

You can get information about hydrology, including work on water pollution, flooding and drought, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the British Hydrological Society or Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management for industry news, advice on professional development and networking opportunities.

Further information

The British Hydrological Society has a series of hydrology job profiles. You can also find out more from The Geological Society.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • knowledge of geography
  • analytical thinking skills
  • knowledge of chemistry for analysing water samples
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • excellent written communication skills
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

  • have a full driving licence

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a hydrologist you could:

  • measure river flows and the amount of water above and below ground
  • investigate the causes and impact of flooding and drought
  • model rainfall patterns under different climate conditions
  • study snowfall, glaciers and ice formation
  • analyse water samples for chemicals and pollutants
  • assess water use in agriculture and industry
  • work on engineering projects like dams, drainage and flood defences
  • advise policy makers on sustainable water use
  • collect data from flood events to improve forecasting and risk management

Working environment

You could work in an office, in a laboratory or in the countryside.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could become a senior hydrologist, co-ordinating a team of researchers, hydrologists and engineers.

You might also work as a consultant, advising government departments and businesses on sustainable water use, civil hydro-engineering projects or flood risk management.

You could go into academic research and lecturing in your specialist field.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a hydrologist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Are you interested in becoming a hydrologist?

Search for training courses near you.

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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