Career Fact Sheets


a man and woman in t-shirts and jeans stand by a small lake with scientific equipment

Ducks Unlimited Canada staff recording data at a hydrology research site at Utikuma Lake in Alberta. Photo: Ducks Unlimited Canada, a PLT Canada Green Jobs employer

Hydrologists understand how lakes, rivers, and watershed systems function. They analyze water levels and the rates, timing, and distribution of water flows. In forestry, they analyze how tree harvesting affects aquatic ecosystems, and they work with foresters and wildlife biologists on conservation efforts. Once they gather information in the forest, hydrologists head back to the lab where they analyze their data and report their findings.

Similar positions

  • Climatologist
  • Environmental Geologist
  • Oceanographer
  • Hydrogeologist

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Is it right for me?

Hydrologists have great research and analysis skills. They gather information and use critical thinking to identify and solve problems. They have strong communication skills and are comfortable working in and near bodies of water.


Salaries vary based on location and years of experience, from $40,000 to $70,000 annually. An experienced hydrologist with a master’s degree can earn $75,000 to $100,000.


Hydrologists usually have a college diploma or a university degree. Relevant programs include freshwater science, environmental science or geoscience. A master’s degree can provide more opportunities and a higher salary. In high school, study biology, statistics, social science, math and physics.



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man and woman in high visibility vests in the forest


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two people with equipment walk through the woods

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