Water, Wetlands, and Marine Resources Management  Program Description


Insider Info

dotWhether you're pouring yourself a glass of water to drink or swimming in a river, you are in contact with water every day. Students studying water resources learn about preserving, managing and distributing water.

"You never have to look too long or hard to find a water resources issue which deserves our further thought," says Art Skibinsky. He is an instructor of water resources engineering technology at an institute of applied science and technology. It offers a five-semester diploma program.

Two-year diploma programs are available in water resources technology. These programs often have work terms and hands-on learning opportunities. There are options for students interested in research and classroom study.

Degrees in hydrology, water resources engineering, and energy and earth resources programs are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctorate level.

Students studying at the graduate and post-graduate levels take multi-disciplinary courses. Law, policy, finance, economics, engineering and geology could all be on the schedule.

"You realize how precious water is not only in our homes, but for recreation, flood control and maintaining our environment," says Jessica Smith, graduate coordinator of the Energy and Earth Resources program at the University of Texas at Austin.

Students taking a diploma program also have diverse studies. Finding water (supply problems); water treatment; flood and drought problems; moving water (hydraulics); consuming water (municipal infrastructure); and conserving water (environmental studies) are all important water resources issues and are covered in the program.

"Environmental problems related to natural resources form an important part of this program," says Smith.

"Related fields of biology and ecology may also be included. All are experiencing increased demand, particularly in the private sector," adds Skibinsky.

So how can you decide which type of program is right for you? There are many things to consider.

Technology programs are shorter. You could be working in the field by the time a water resources engineer is half-way though school, for example.

Basically, graduates of different-level programs will be preparing for different jobs in the same sector. Generally speaking, technologists are often the people doing the hands-on work; those with higher levels of education are often managing and planning projects.

"Please keep in mind there are plenty of jobs out there, regardless of your [degree] selection. Make sure that when looking to the future, you are looking for a career versus simply a job," says Skibinsky.

Work in geosciences offers global opportunities for travel and work experience. For example, graduates of energy and earth resources programs begin careers in resource management or planning, commodity analysis, risk analysis, feasibility studies, education, research, and environmental issues.

"They meet a growing need in both the private sector and government for professionals who can plan, evaluate and manage complex resource projects," says Smith.

The location of a school becomes more important to students who are interested in a particular aspect of water research.

"Central Texas is referred to as Flash Flood Alley by many scientists due to our unique geography and climate. Students interested in flood control would find a wealth of possibilities in Austin," says Smith.

"Regardless of the institution or the program you might select, I strongly recommend that you do a little research on staff, program accreditation, and student and employment surveys before making your choices. It's a big field out there," says Skibinsky.

In high school, prepare for this field by taking advanced math, chemistry, geology, ecology and geography.

"Leadership and discipline are keys to a successful academic career," says Smith.

Skibinsky recommends that students get closer to nature with outdoor activities. "Even if it's as simple as experiencing nature in activities [like] hiking, working around water, outdoor education -- there are ample opportunities to see water resources engineering at work."


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Water and Liquid Waste Treatment Plant and System Operators

Water Science for Schools
Information and activities about water for kids

Environmental Kids Club: Water
Links to activities and resources

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this program is about? Check out Just the Facts for a simple description.