How to Become a Water Resources Specialist

How to Become a Water Resource Specialist: Career Guide

To become a water resource specialist, your first step will be to determine if this career is right for you.


Are you interested putting your education to use in a lucrative career that allows you to have an impact on the safety and sustainability of our water supply? Are you able to build consensus when communicating your ideas? Are you interested in a career that lets you share ideas and work with professionals from different fields? 


If you’ve answered yes to all three of theses questions, then a career as a water resource specialist may be well suited for you!


Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in a career as a water quality resource specialist. 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 Resource Specialist

To become a water resource specialist, the minimum requirement is a bachelor's degree in engineering, geology, hydrology or related field.


Coursework in areas such as hydrology, geoscience, chemistry, environmental science, engineering or water resources will give you excellent background knowledge for this career.


In order to be considered for a job, many employers will require water resource specialist candidates to have at least two years of related work experience as an engineer, hydrologist or geologist.


Success Tip: Working an internship as a student is a great way to gain in-field experience, and get your foot in the door with an organization.




Water Resource Specialist Job Description

Water resource specialists provide project management on issues or assigned initiatives relating to the water resources of a city or municipality. They coordinate with other local jurisdictions regarding the water resource management program of the city or municipality, which encompasses issues such as surface water runoff, drinking water issues and conservation issues.



Water Resource Specialist Job Duties

• Direct and implement the city or municipality’s water outreach and education programs

• Develop and implement programs which assist businesses and citizens understand water quality and conservation issues

• Review and provide comments on draft documents

• Develop work plans for regional programs by conferring and negotiating with other jurisdictions

• Become involved with political advisory committees

• Represent the city or municipality in regional water resources planning and response efforts related to water quality protection and enhancement

• Prepare press releases and correspondences to alert public when water related health and safety concerns arise

• Analyze probable cause of water quality problems



Who Hires Water Resource Specialists?

There are a few different types of organizations that are interested in employing the skills, knowledge and competencies of water resource specialists; they may be hired by these organizations on a part-time, full-time, temporary or contract basis, depending on the needs of the employer.


• Federal, provincial/state and municipal governments

• Private water, sewage and sanitary utility services companies (contracted by governments)

• Private research firms

• Environmental and engineering consulting firms






Personal Characteristics Needed to Become a Water Resource Specialist

There are certain personality traits that you need to have in order to excel in a career as a water resources specialist, including:


• An interest in current affairs and the environment

• A sense of responsibility to the public and the community

• Must be persuasive and be able to communicate ideas effectively in order to build consensus

• Must be able to make firm decisions in a timely manner

• The ability to form, manage and facilitate diverse groups

• The ability to work independently as well as work effectively with others from different fields



Water Resource Specialist Salary

The salary level of water resource specialists can vary quite a bit depending on many factors, such as their level of experience and education, where they work, whether they are in the public or private sector, and many others.


It is difficult to accurately determine the salary level for water resource specialists, as no reliable salary data can be found for this specific career; however, we can get a good idea of their salary level by looking at the salary levels of very closely related careers.


Water Resource Specialist Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees in the Natural Science Managers occupational group earn a median salary of $116,020 per year.


Water Resource Specialist Salary Canada: According to ECO Canada, Water Quality Technicians with plenty of industry experience can earn between $44,800 and $70,500 per year.


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Careers Similar to Water Resource Specialist

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


Natural Resource Policy Analyst

Natural Resources Manager

Natural Resources Planner

Wastewater Operator

Water Quality Control Manager



References: Water Resource Specialist Career

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


Occupations in Alberta:Environmental Engineer.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 16, 2020.

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

Career Summary:Water Resource Specialists.” (December 12, 2019) O*NET OnLine website. Retrieved January 16, 2020.



Scholarships for Becoming a Water Resources Specialist

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Water Resources Specialist can be found on the following pages:


Environmental Science Scholarships

Geography Scholarships

Geology 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 Resource Specialist: Applicable Majors

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


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