How to Become a Hydrogeologist


If you’ve decided that you want to learn how to become a hydrogeologist, then you’ve made the first step to a well-paying, fulfilling and dynamic career. Investigating sources of groundwater contamination, providing consultation to lawmakers regarding the protection of our natural resources; these are some of the job duties you may perform in this profession.


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



Education Needed to Become a Hydrogeologist

To become a hydrogeologist, you need to begin by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology or a closely related field such as environmental science. The coursework of these fields should give you an excellent understanding of how the key elements of hydrogeology relate to one another, including:


• The water cycle

• Geology

• Math

• Physics

• Chemistry

• Soils


Depending on where your career ambitions and interests lie, you will likely need a graduate degree in geology to become a senior level hydrogeologist.


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 who works in research and university teaching positions a Ph.D. in Geology or Environmental Science is needed. Hydrogeologists 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

Hydrogeologists study the distribution, availability, flow and quality of underground water. They apply knowledge of fundamental geology to determine how an area’s rock types and structure impact underground water occurrences and movement.



Typical Job Duties

• Liaise with professionals in related fields, such as hydrologists, ecologists, engineers and others

• Assess the impact of that construction, mining, agriculture and landfills will have on groundwater quality and availability

• Design and commission bore holes

• Sample and measure groundwater ad surface water

• Interpret maps and geographical data, historical evidence and models to build up a picture of the groundwater regime or land contamination

• Model groundwater flow, chemistry and temperature with the assistance of computer programs

• Undertake environment impact assessments of groundwater abstraction and management activities



Hydrogeologist Salary

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


Salary figures for hydrogeologists in Alberta: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Geologists, Geochemists and Geophysicists occupational group (which includes hydrogeologists) earn an average salary of $128,940 per year.


Canada: According to ECO Canada, environmental geologists (which is the most closely related occupation in ECO Canada's database) working entry-level jobs make an average of $36,500 per year in Canada. With several years of experience and advanced education, they earn an average of $75,000 per year.


United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans in the Geoscientists occupational group, which includes hydrogeologists, earn a median salary of $91,130 (May, 2018 figures).





Working Conditions Typical to This Profession

The work setting for hydrogeologists 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 for geologists depending on the work setting they find themselves in. For example, working 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, geologists typically work a normal weekday-working schedule.


In a field setting, the work of a geologist 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.



Who Employs Them?

Hydrogeologists 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 or environmental consulting firms

• Oil, gas and mining companies

• Federal and provincial/state government departments and agencies

• Science centres and museums



Hydrogeologist Jobs

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




Similar Occupations in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to "hydrogeologist", as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Fluvial Geomorphologist




Soil Scientist



References for This Career Guide

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


Occupations in Alberta:Hydrologist.” (February 1, 2012). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved December 21, 2019.

Life, Physical, and Social Science:Geoscientists.” (September 19, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved December 21, 2019.

Explore Careers:Environmental Geologist.” (n.d.). ECO Canada website. Retrieved December 21, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Hydrogeologist

Scholarships in our database that are relevant for becoming a Hydrogeologist are all of those that can be found on our Environmental Science Scholarships and Geology 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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