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  2. Hydrologist


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

Hydrologists study rainfall, rivers and other waterways to help develop sustainable ways of managing water.

Average salary (a year)

£25,000 Starter


£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


You can start by doing a degree in:

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

Postgraduate courses

After finishing your degree, you could then 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


You could do the Environmental Practitioner Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship before specialising in hydrology.

This typically takes 5 years to complete as a mix of learning on the job and studying at an approved university.

Entry requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

More Information


You could start as an assistant hydrologist if you have a degree in a science or environment subject.

Your employer may encourage you to take a postgraduate qualification, like a master's or PhD in hydrology, while you're working.

More Information

Career tips

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has information about hydrology, including work on water pollution, flooding and drought.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the British Hydrological Society or Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management.

This could help you find:

  • industry news
  • advice on professional development
  • networking opportunities

Further information

You can learn about the different types of hydrologists by looking at the hydrology job profiles on the British Hydrological Society website.

You can also find out more about being a hydrologist 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:

  • investigate the causes and impact of flooding and drought
  • study snowfall, glaciers and ice formation
  • use data about rivers, rain and floods to predict and manage risk
  • analyse water samples for chemicals and pollutants
  • work on engineering projects like dams, drains and flood defences
  • advise policy makers on sustainable water use

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, managing a team of researchers, hydrologists and engineers.

You might also work as a consultant, advising government departments and businesses on:

  • sustainable water use
  • water engineering projects
  • flood risk management

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

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Environmental Degree Apprentice 2023 - London - Level 6

  • Wage: £19,000.00 Annually
  • Location: London

Apprentice Sustainability Advisor (Environmental Practitioner Degree) - East Sussex - 2023

  • Wage: £19,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Ringmer, Lewes, East Sussex

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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