Career Overview

Hydrologists study how water moves across and through the Earth’s crust. They use their expertise to solve problems in the areas of water quality or availability.


Hydrologists need at least a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions; however, some workers begin their careers with a master’s degree.

Salary Expectations

Low End:
High End:
$48,820 /yr
$79,370 /yr
$122,890 /yr

Recommended Courses

  • Physical science
  • Environmental science
  • Science - as much as possible, including chemistry, biology, and physics!
  • Math - as much as possible, including statistics!
  • Economics
Work Environment

Hydrologists work in offices and in the field. In offices, hydrologists spend much of their time using computers to analyze data and model their findings. In the field, hydrologists may have to wade into lakes and streams to collect samples or to read and inspect monitoring equipment.

Future Outlook

Employment of hydrologists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Population growth and environmental concerns are expected to increase demand for hydrologists.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook