How to Become a Fluvial Geomorphologist


Fluvial Geomorphologist Career Path Guide

If you're interested in a career that involves studying the natural processes of water and its subsequent effects, and applying that knowledge for such purposes as protecting the ecological health of our communities and surrounding areas, then a career as a fluvial geomorphologist may be a great fit for you!


Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in this field. We've also included helpful information, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Fluvial Geomorphologist

In terms of education, you'll need to begin by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology or a closely related field such as Environmental Science. Completing coursework geology, mathematics and physics is a great way to build an educational foundation for your prospective career as a fluvial geomorphologist.


To become a senior level fluvial geomorphologist, you will likely need a graduate degree in geology. A degree in Engineering is also usually accepted by employers provided the candidate has experience in geology. 


Depending on the requirements of the employer, a Master’s degree in Geology or Environmental Science is typically sufficient for many applied research positions. To become a fluvial geomorphologist who works in research and university teaching positions a PhD in Geology or Environmental Science is needed.


Fluvial geomorphologists must also complete continuing education throughout their careers in order to keep their skills current stay up to date with advancements in the field.





General Job Description

Fluvial geomorphologists perform professional and scientific ecological work with the aim of conserving and managing fluvial ecosystems by applying hydrologic, biological, geological principles, facts and procedures.



Typical Job Duties & Responsibilities

• Collaborate with other scientists and community leaders in a multi-disciplinary approach to achieving ecological management and conservation goals

• Use remote sensing data sets in study design, and data analysis and interpretation

• Study erosional and depositional processes as they relate to hydrology, riparian vegetation, soils and non-point source nutrient loading

• Develop and implement long term monitoring programs to quantify erosional and depositional processes to land use

• Design and implement programs which apply various methodologies, such as the Watershed Assessment of River Stability and Sediment Supply (WARSSS)

• Use results of methodology application to develop stream restoration and enhancement recommendations



Who Employs Fluvial Geomorphologists?

Fluvial geomorphologists typically work on a full-time permanent basis, although some may be employed on a contractual or interim basis. The following types of organizations usually hire them:


• Engineering consulting firms

• Environmental consulting firms

• Federal or provincial/state government agencies

• Oil, gas and mining companies





Importance of a Competent Fluvial Geomorphologist

One example of the application of the abilities of a fluvial geomorphologist is the preparation of a watershed planning study. The purpose of a watershed strategy is typically to recommend strategies that will lead to making better decisions regarding land and water use, for the ultimate purpose of improving and protecting the ecological health of watershed areas. 



Working Conditions Typical to This Profession

The work setting for fluvial geomorphologists can vary greatly, depending on who their employer is, what their duties are that day, or which project they are working on. They typically split time between working in an office setting performing research and data analysis, and working in a field setting for the purpose of collecting data and samples.


The physical requirements and schedule of the job can vary significantly in this profession, depending on the work setting. For example, orking in an office setting provides little in the way of physical challenge, although it can involve eye stain caused by working with computers for extended periods of time. In an office setting, fluvial geomorphologists typically work a normal weekday working schedule.


In a field setting, the work of a fluvial geomorphologist can become quite physically demanding, as they may be required to travel great distances over rough terrain on foot in order to collect data and samples, as well as work and live in remote areas for several months at a time.



Fluvial Geomorphologist Jobs - Current Postings

Our job board below has "fluvial geomorphologist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Typical Salary Level

The salary for fluvial geomorphologists can vary greatly depending on many factors, including their level of experience and education, who they work for, and many others.


Specific salary information for this profession is difficult to obtain, as there is not reliable information available specifically for it. We can however get a good idea of their earning potential by examining the salary level of the occupational groups the belong to in general.


Fluvial Geomorphologist Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for workers in the Geoscientists occupational group earned a median salary of $91,130 per year (2018 figures). 


Salary - Canada: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Geologists, Geochemists and Geophysicists occupational group, which includes Fluvial geomorphologists, earn an average salary of $128,940 per year. According to WorkBC (Province of British Columbia), the annual provincial median salary of Geoscientists and oceanographers is $79,997 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (July 20, 2019).



Similar Professions in Our Database

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to that of a fluvial geomorphologist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.










Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a fluvial geomorphologist.


Occupations in Alberta:Geologist.” (March 31, 2019). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 22, 2019.

Life, Physical, and Social Science:Geoscientists.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 22, 2019.

Kansas Water Science Center:Fluvial Geomorphology.” (n.d.) U.S. Geological Survey website. Retrieved November 22, 2019.

Watershed Monitoring:Chapter 8 - Fluvial Geomorphology?” (December, 2012.) Credit Valley Conservation website. Retrieved November 22, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Fluvial Geomorphologist

The scholarships in our system that are relevant for becoming a fluvial geomorphologist are all of those that can be found on our Geology Scholarships and Environmental Science Scholarships pages.


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!



Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for working in this field. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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