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Hydrologist Green Job

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

Annual Salary

£28,000 to £45,000

Average UK salary in 2023 was £34,963
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 45 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; occasionally

Future employment

There will be 2.4% more Hydrologist jobs in 2027.

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.

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
For 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.

For 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.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • have a full driving licence

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.

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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.

How does this job help to address the impacts of climate change and protect wildlife and nature in the West of England?

Hydrologists study rainfall, rivers and waterways and are needed in the West of England to advise policy makers on sustainable water use, to investigate the causes and impact of flooding and drought and to analyse water samples for chemicals and pollutants.

There are several different routes you can take to get into working as an hydrologist which you can explore further in the 'Routes into this job' section above. 

Click here for an explanation of the different course and apprenticeship levels.

Examples of post-16 courses you could study at local schools or colleges

  • Biology, Geography or Environmental Science A-levels
  • Level 2-3 Countryside Management at Bridgwater and Taunton College

Click here to find a local provider

Apprenticeships you may be able to take with local employers

  • Level 2-4 Countryside Management  
  • Level 3 Water Environment Worker

Click here to search for a local apprenticeship

Examples of post-18 courses you could study at local higher education providers 

Click here to search for other university courses

Local employers 

  • The Environment Agency
  • Jacobs
  • Santec

For more local employment opportunities see the 'Live job vacancies by region' section above.

Click here for a profile of Helena Preston, a Flood Risk and Drainage Engineer at Cole Easdon Consultants in Swindon.

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Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • knowledge of geography
  • analytical thinking skills
  • knowledge of chemistry for analysing water samples
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • excellent written communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
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