Hydrologist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Hydrologists Career Video



Researches the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters; and studies the form and intensity of precipitation, its rate of infiltration into the soil, movement through the earth, and its return to the ocean and atmosphere.

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cluster Science and Mathematics pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Prepares written and oral reports describing research results, using illustrations, maps, appendices, and other information.
  • Designs and conducts scientific hydrogeological investigations to ensure that accurate and appropriate information is available for use in water resource management decisions.
  • Measures and graphs phenomena such as lake levels, stream flows, and changes in water volumes.
  • Conducts research and communicates information to promote the conservation and preservation of water resources.
  • Coordinates and supervises the work of professional and technical staff, including research assistants, technologists, and technicians.
  • Studies public water supply issues, including flood and drought risks, water quality, wastewater, and impacts on wetland habitats.
  • Applies research findings to help minimize the environmental impacts of pollution, waterborne diseases, erosion, and sedimentation.
  • Studies and documents quantities, distribution, disposition, and development of underground and surface waters.
  • Installs, maintains, and calibrates instruments such as those that monitor water levels, rainfall, and sediments.
  • Develops computer models for hydrologic predictions.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overnight travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Environmental Consultant -- Advises on such areas as pollution, contaminated land and environmental policy and can involve fieldwork, conducting tests and surveys, collating and presenting environmental data and auditing processes for efficiency and environmental impact.
  • Groundwater Consultant --
  • Groundwater Programs Director --
  • Hydrogeologist -- Studies the flow, distribution and the quality of underground water.
  • Physical Scientist -- Specializes in sciences that do not deal with living organisms such as physics, chemistry, astronomy and geology.
  • Research Hydrologist --
  • Scientist --
  • Source Water Protection Specialist --
  • Water Resources Program Director --