How to Become a Hydrologist?

6 minute read

With increased awareness regarding climate change and the booming drive to conserve natural resources, ‘green jobs’ have become highly prominent and popular. One of the leading ‘green jobs’ is that of a hydrologist. This is an ideal job for students who are driven to create a sustainable future combining environmental needs with engineering science. In this blog, we will look at all the basic requirements, skills, and qualifications on how to be a hydrologist. 

Also Read: How to be a Marine Biologist?

Who is a Hydrologist?

YouTube: Oregon forests

Hydrologists are scientists who study the movement, circulation, and distribution of water through the earth’s crust. They measure and analyze the quantity and quality of water in various forms from rivers to dams, from aquifers to sewage supplies. They work to better understand and conserve this natural resource. Their work includes collecting water samples, determining pollution levels, pH levels, planning strategies for water preservation, and overall water management. They work in alliance with other environmental scientists and professionals. Within hydrology, there are further specializations like marine hydrology, groundwater hydrology, surface water hydrology, etc. 

Roles & Responsibilities of a Hydrologist 

Source: National Geographic Society

A Hydrologist’s job duties can vary depending on the location, job profile, and experience. However, the following is the generalized list of roles and responsibilities that hydrologists have:  

  • Collect groundwater and surface water to conduct tests and support projects
  • Conduct storm and watershed water studies
  • Check pollution level in water sources
  • Assess the suitability of new hydroelectric power plants, irrigation systems, and wastewater treatment facilities.
  • Use computer models to forecast future conditions concerning water supplies, the spread or remediation of pollution, floods, and other events
  • Process hydrologic, meteorological and precipitation data
  • Install water quality instrumentation
  • Work towards water related issues in alliance with federal, state and local governments and agencies
  • Prepare written reports, presentations and maps of hydrogeology data

Must Read: Explore a Career in Oceanography

Eligibility to Become a  Hydrologist 

YouTube: Earth Science Resources

Get a bachelor’s degree

Students pursuing science stream preferably Geography in their senior secondary will be eligible to pursue a course to become hydrologists. There are very few colleges offering B Sc. Hydrology in India. Thus, a person after the completion of the senior secondary can pursue their bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, Geoscience, Civil/ Environmental Engineering with a focus on Hydrology, or Geography in order to later become a hydrologist. One can even pursue hydrology from foreign universities to get an early introduction to the field. The duration of a bachelor’s degree is for 3 years. 

Get a master’s degree

After the bachelor’s degree, one can pursue hydrology further in their masters. There exist options for M.Tech Hydrology, M.Sc. Hydrology and M.E. in Hydrology. The duration for master-level degrees is 2 years. Many colleges have entrance exams in order to become a hydrologist in India. Some of them are as follows:

One can even continue Water Resources engineering or Environmental Engineering as well. There also exists scope for Diploma in Hydrology or Advanced Diploma in Water Resources Engineering. For taking up hydrology at a greater advanced level, one can study till a doctoral degree too.

Also Read: How to be a Space Scientist?

Colleges Offering Hydrology Courses in India 

Also Read: How to become an Astronaut?

  • University of Sydney, Australia
  • University of Birmingham, UK
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology,USA
  • University of Wyoming, USA
  • Florida Institute of Technology, USA
  • Wellington Institute of Technology, New Zealand
  • Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand

Career as a Hydrologist

After one has completed their education, they can gain experience by working as a hydrologist in various professional fields. In order to become and work as a hydrologist outside India, one has to get a license before they start officially working. Whereas in India, one can start working immediately after their education in different fields. The scope of recruitment is higher in the government sector over the private ones. Major career prospects include:

  • Public Sector Organisations: One can serve the government in planning and executing various environmental programmes and maintenance of the environment. One can even work with the utility companies and public authorities providing water supplies and sewage systems etc.
  • Private Sector Organisations: Hydrologists can work in consultancy and other corporate sectors, providing services and consultancy in civil engineering, environmental management and assessment.
  • Research and Academics: Hydrologists can undertake teaching and research as a profession. As a researcher they can apply analytical methods to study, analyse and develop various tools for measurement and betterment of environmental issues.One may also become professors in hydrology employed in universities, public and private, 
  • World Organisations: Many environmental NGOs as well as international institutions hire hydrologists for better understanding during calamities, provide emergency relief etc.
  • Multimedia Channels: Hydrologists are also hired by channels especially the ones dealing with climate and environment related subjects like Geographic Channel, Discovery or even by news channels to forecast environmental conditions. 

Recruiters for Hydrology Jobs

The major recruiters of Hydrologists In India include:

  • The Geological Survey of India
  • Meteorological departments 
  • National Institute of Hydrology – Roorkee
  • UPSC (Union Public Service Commission)
  • State Public Service Commission (Group 2 Services)
  • Municipal Corporations
  • Construction Agencies

Salary of a Hydrologist

YouTube: Kristina Lynn

The salary of a hydrologist depends on the assignment, the position and the institution they are aligned with. However, in general, hydrologists can expect a salary of about 5 lacs per annum in the beginning of their career.One can enhance their salary with higher experience in the field. If one goes for mass media channels or for some research work one can even get near Rs.1,00,000 per assignment. The pay scale of hydrologists in countries like the USA is quite high. For eg: in the USA, the average salary of a hydrologist is $84,723. 

There are various job roles that hydrologists can pursue-


Are hydrologists in demand?

As human activities are increasing, their impact and consequences on the environment are also increasing. This calls for a greater need and scope to look into the management of natural resources like water. With the intention to be environmentally friendly, the public, as well as the private sector, have realized the need for hydrologists. The career prospects of hydrologists from researchers to professors have increased manifold.

Is hydrogeology a good career?

Yes, with the career opportunities it provides within and outside India, it is an attractive option for students to opt for. The salary prospects are also quite high. Moreover, at present, it is not overburdened like other conventional jobs and thus, has greater scope for students. 

What skills are needed to become a hydrologist

One who is interested in the field of geology, hydrology, or environmental studies, should pursue the course to become a hydrologist. Apart from the subject knowledge, there are no defined skills that are mandatory. However, in order to be a hydrologist, the following skill set will be beneficial. 
Critical thinking to comprehend problems and plan solutions
Analytical Skills which is crucial to their job of analyzing the data
Basic Computer Knowledge to record data and create presentations
Organizational Skills for management of data
Communication Skills to orally present their findings 
Physical strength to travel remote places for research

Must Read: How to Become an Anesthesiologist?

We hope this helps you get a glimpse of the journey on how to be a Hydrologist! If you are someone who is intrigued by green jobs and wish to pursue your professional career in the same, then contact Leverage Edu experts for a free consultation today.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *



15,000+ students realised their study abroad dream with us. Take the first step today.
Talk to an expert