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  2. Hydrologist


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

Hydrologists study rainfall, rivers and groundwater systems to help develop sustainable ways of managing water.

Average salary (a year)

£28,000 Starter


£45,000 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 Hydrologist

You can get into this job through:

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


You'll need a first degree, and often postgraduate training, to get into hydrology. Degrees include:

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

Postgraduate courses

After finishing your degree, you could complete a postgraduate course. You can find postgraduate courses through 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 apply for an Environmental Practitioner Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship before specialising in hydrology.

This can take up to 5 years to complete and is 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 or technical officer, if you have a degree in a science or environmental subject.

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

More Information

Career tips

The UK 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 different types of hydrology work through the British Hydrological Society.

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 including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • 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

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 risks
  • analyse water samples for chemicals and pollutants
  • work on engineering projects like dams, drains and flood defences
  • advise policy makers on sustainable water use

Green job

As a hydrologist, you'll develop sustainable ways of managing water. This can have a positive impact on the environment.

Find out more about green careers

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, charities and commercial companies on:

  • sustainable water use
  • water engineering projects
  • flood risk management
  • international development projects and emergency relief

You could also go into academic research or university teaching 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

Environmental Science

  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: SALISBURY

Environmental Science

  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: CAMBRIDGE

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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