How to Become a Hydrogeologist

How to Become a Hydrogeologist: Career Guide

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 your career as a hydrogeologist.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to become a hydrogeologist. We've also included helpful information for a hydrogeologist career, 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 become a hydrogeologist who works in research and university teaching positions a PhD 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.




Hydrogeologist 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.



Hydrogeologist 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 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Geologists, Geochemists and Geophysicists occupational group earned on average from $40.80 to $60.85 an hour.


Salary figures for hydrogeologists in Canada: According to ECO Canada, geologists working entry-level jobs make an average of $36,500 per year in Canada. With several years of experience and advanced education, geologists earn an average of $75,000 per year.


Salary figures for hydrogeologists in the 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 $82,500 (2010 figures).




Working Conditions for Hydrogeologists

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 Hires Hydrogeologists?

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.

Careers Related to Hydrogeologist

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: How to Become a Hydrogeologist

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


Alberta Learning and Information Services website:

ECO Canada website:

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website:



Scholarships for Becoming a Hydrogeologist

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a Hydrogeologist 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!



Becoming a Hydrogeologist: Applicable Majors

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


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