How to Become a Water Quality Analyst

How to Become a Water Quality Analyst: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a water quality analyst, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a water quality analyst:


Those who become water quality analysts have a keen interest in the environment, as well as a concern for the sustainability and quality of our water supply. They must have an education in science and have an aptitude for mathematics.


Water quality analysts must also be manually dexterous in order to utilize specialized equipment and conduct experiments. They must be comfortable working in a laboratory setting as well as in the field, and they must be comfortable communicating their findings and opinions to others.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a water quality analyst. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Water Quality Analyst

To become a water quality analyst, you typically need a Bachelor of Science degree in one of the natural sciences, such as:


• Biology

• Biochemistry

• Chemistry

• Environmental Science

• Geology


Having a master’s degree is not typically necessary to become a water quality analyst, although it may be beneficial to have one as it may help you earn the job over an applicant with less education in the field, and may qualify you for a higher pay grade.


Having a master’s degree in one of the natural sciences may also help qualify you for a highly competitive management position in water quality analysis.




Water Quality Analyst Job Description

Water quality scientists are responsible for safeguarding water quality through scientific analysis and the setting of targets and standards. They must conduct testing and compare the results with these standards, and remedy any problems and shortfalls that are identified. Depending on the employer, water quality analysts may also be involved in providing solutions to water quality problems and providing advice related to adherence to water quality regulation.



Water Quality Analyst Job Duties

• Develop solutions to water quality problems

• Conduct laboratory tests of water samples for chemical or microbiological parameters

• Assess the quality of taste and clarity of drinking water

• Visit sites that may be causing pollution or contamination

• Liaise with regulatory agencies and authorities

• Advise businesses on how to avoid discharging effluent into water sources

• Investigate causes of lapse in water quality

• Coordinate emergency action in response to incidents

• Conduct chlorine residual or turbidity tests

• Take samples from residential plumbing and municipal distribution systems for lead analysis

• Perform pH testing in plumbing



Who Hires Water Quality Analysts?

There are many organizations (both public and private) that are involved testing water and remediating any shortfalls in its quality. Many of these organizations employ water quality analysts. These organizations include:


• Municipal governments

• Public inspection agencies

• Private utility companies

• Organizations in other industries that generate wastewater, such as pulp and paper, oil and gas, and mining

• Environmental and engineering consulting firms

• Regional water or wastewater boards

• The federal government (for example, in the armed forces)

• Private utility companies

• Provincial/state parks

• Operator training services



Water Quality Analyst Salary

The salary level of water quality analysts can vary depending on factors such as their level of education, their level of experience, the specific responsibilities of their job, where they work, and many more.


Water Quality Analyst Salary Canada: According to ECO Canada, workers in the Environmental Scientists occupational group, that work in an entry-level position with an undergraduate degree make an average of $42,000 per year in Canada. As they acquire more experience and education, environmental scientists typically earn between $64,000 and $75,000 per year.


Water Quality Analyst Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of workers in the Environmental Scientists and Specialists occupational group is $61,700 per year. The lowest 10 percent of salaries for this occupational group are less than $37,850, and the top 10 percent are more than $107,990.




Skills Needed to Become a Water Quality Analyst

In order to become successful in a career as a water quality analyst, you will need to possess a certain set of skills, including:


• Working knowledge of laboratory processes and equipment

• A sound analytical approach to problems

• Excellent organizational skills

• Methodical approach to work activities

• Ability to effectively communicate findings to co-workers and management



Work Conditions for Water Quality Analysts

Work Schedule: Water quality analysts typically work normal weekday working hours, although they may occasionally have to work into the evenings and weekends in order to collect samples, attend meetings or perform other duties. Some water quality analysts may also work for an organization that provides 24 hour emergency coverage for water quality issues, so their shifts may vary.


Work Environment: Water quality analysts may work in either a field or laboratory setting, and analysts who work for smaller organizations may have to work in both settings and perform a wider range of duties. Those who work in the field collecting samples may be exposed to a wide variety of weather conditions. Working in the field may also involve a great deal of travel during the day, or during the week.


Water quality analysts that work in laboratory settings spend the majority of their time conducting, documenting and analyzing research. Working in a laboratory typically involves working with hazardous organic materials and inorganic chemicals. 



Careers Similar to Water Quality Analyst

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to Water Quality Analyst, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Environmental Scientist

Sanitation Engineer

Soil Scientist

Wastewater Treatment Engineer

Water Quality Control Manager



References: How to Become a Water Quality Analyst

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a water quality analyst.


Occupations in Alberta:Environmental Auditor.” (December 19, 2016). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 16, 2020.

Life, Physical, and Social Science:Environmental Scientists and Specialists.” (December 11, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 16, 2020.

Environment & Energy:Water quality analyst: training and certification.” (n.d.). Government of Ontario - Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks website. Retrieved January 16, 2020.

Career Profiles: Environmental Scientist.” (n.d.) ECO Canada website. Retrieved January 16, 2020.


Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.



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Search Water Quality Analyst Scholarships

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a Water Quality Analyst can be found on the following pages:


Biochemistry Scholarships

Biology Scholarships

Chemistry Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Water Quality Analyst: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a water quality analyst. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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