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SOC Code: 19-2043.00

Research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters; and study the form and intensity of precipitation, its rate of infiltration into the soil, movement through the earth, and its return to the ocean and atmosphere.

Sample of reported job titles: Environmental Consultant, Groundwater Consultant, Groundwater Programs Director, Hydrogeologist, Hydrologist, Physical Scientist, Research Hydrologist, Scientist, Source Water Protection Specialist, Water Resources Program Director


  • Prepare written and oral reports describing research results, using illustrations, maps, appendices, and other information.
  • Design and conduct scientific hydrogeological investigations to ensure that accurate and appropriate information is available for use in water resource management decisions.
  • Measure and graph phenomena such as lake levels, stream flows, and changes in water volumes.
  • Conduct research and communicate information to promote the conservation and preservation of water resources.
  • Coordinate and supervise the work of professional and technical staff, including research assistants, technologists, and technicians.
  • Study public water supply issues, including flood and drought risks, water quality, wastewater, and impacts on wetland habitats.
  • Apply research findings to help minimize the environmental impacts of pollution, waterborne diseases, erosion, and sedimentation.
  • Study and document quantities, distribution, disposition, and development of underground and surface waters.
  • Install, maintain, and calibrate instruments such as those that monitor water levels, rainfall, and sediments.
  • Develop computer models for hydrologic predictions.
  • Study and analyze the physical aspects of the earth in terms of hydrological components, including atmosphere, hydrosphere, and interior structure.
  • Evaluate research data in terms of its impact on issues such as soil and water conservation, flood control planning, and water supply forecasting.
  • Collect and analyze water samples as part of field investigations or to validate data from automatic monitors.
  • Prepare hydrogeologic evaluations of known or suspected hazardous waste sites and land treatment and feedlot facilities.
  • Evaluate data and provide recommendations regarding the feasibility of municipal projects, such as hydroelectric power plants, irrigation systems, flood warning systems, and waste treatment facilities.
  • Develop or modify methods for conducting hydrologic studies.
  • Review applications for site plans and permits and recommend approval, denial, modification, or further investigative action.
  • Monitor the work of well contractors, exploratory borers, and engineers and enforce rules regarding their activities.
  • Answer questions and provide technical assistance and information to contractors or the public regarding issues such as well drilling, code requirements, hydrology, and geology.
  • Investigate properties, origins, and activities of glaciers, ice, snow, and permafrost.
  • Conduct short- and long-term climate assessments and study storm occurrences.
  • Administer programs designed to ensure the proper sealing of abandoned wells.
  • Investigate complaints or conflicts related to the alteration of public waters, gathering information, recommending alternatives, informing participants of progress, and preparing draft orders.
  • Design civil works associated with hydrographic activities and supervise their construction, installation, and maintenance.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - Scientific Software Group AQUA3D; The MathWorks MATLAB ; Waterloo Hydrogeologic RBC Tier 2 Analyzer; Watershed modeling system WMS software (see all 92 examples)
  • Categorization or classification software - GAEA Technologies WinSieve
  • Compliance software - National pollutant discharge elimination system NPDES compliance software
  • Computer aided design CAD software - Advanced Logic Technology WellCAD; BOSS International Visual Groundwater; Scientific Software Group EVS; SEDCAD (see all 13 examples)
  • Data base user interface and query software - Groundwater Software Visual Site Manager; Microsoft Access ; Scientific Software Group ChemPoint/ChemStat; SoilVision Systems SVOFFICE (see all 16 examples)
  • Development environment software - Formula translation/translator FORTRAN; Microsoft Visual Basic
  • Electronic mail software - Email software
  • Graphics or photo imaging software - Amtec Engineering Tecplot; Graphics software; RockWare SieveGraph; StatPoint StatGraphics Plus
  • Internet browser software - Web browser software
  • Map creation software - Geographic information system GIS software ; Golden Software Surfer; Scientific Software Group SURF; Softree Technical Systems Terrain Tools (see all 10 examples)
  • Object or component oriented development software - C++ ; Python
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software - EnviroInsite; Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Web platform development software - Microsoft Active Server Pages ASP
  • Word processing software - GAEA Technologies Packet ESA; GAEA Technologies WinLog; Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Calipers
  • Clinometers
  • Commercial fishing nets - Dip nets
  • Conductivity meters
  • Desktop computers
  • Dissolution or disintegration testers - Erosion monitors
  • Dissolved oxygen meters
  • Dropping pipettes - Pipettes
  • Extensometers
  • Filters or other spare parts for samplers - Sounding reels
  • Flowmeters - Surface water velocity measurement probes
  • Global positioning system GPS receiver - Global positioning system GPS receivers
  • Heating or drying equipment or accessories - Dessicators
  • Hydrometers - Specific gravity hydrometers
  • Laboratory bailers - Bailers
  • Laboratory flasks - Filter flasks
  • Laboratory mechanical convection ovens - Laboratory ovens
  • Laboratory sifting equipment - Sieve shakers
  • Laboratory vacuum pumps
  • Laser printers
  • Levels
  • Lightmeters - Light density meters
  • Logging instruments for water wells - Groundwater data logging instruments; Wireless data collection systems
  • Mainframe computers
  • Micrometers
  • Notebook computers
  • Oil content monitors analyzers - Oil water interface meters
  • Open stream current meters - Hydrological current meters; Stream flow gauges
  • Open stream water level recorders - Cellular telemetry system water level monitors; Water level recorders
  • Peristaltic pumps - Groundwater sampling peristaltic pumps
  • Personal computers
  • pH meters
  • Pitch measuring instruments - Inclinometers
  • Portable data input terminals - Handheld data collection units
  • Portable seismic apparatus - Hydraulic fracturing systems
  • Pressure sensors - Drive-point piezometers; Pore pressure piezometers
  • Pull spring balances - Spring scales
  • Radarbased surveillance systems - Radar equipment
  • Radiation detectors - Radiological monitoring equipment
  • Remote reading thermometers - Underwater temperature recorders
  • Respirators
  • Salinity meter - Salinity meters
  • Sampling pumps - Portable pumping and sampling systems
  • Soil core sampling apparatus - Core samplers; Soil samplers
  • Sonars - Doppler current and depth meters
  • Spectrofluorimeters or fluorimeters - Flow-through field fluorometers
  • Surface data logging sensors - Data logging pressure/temperature sensors
  • Surface data logging units - Well/surface water dataloggers
  • Templates - Map templates
  • Theodolites - Total stations
  • Thickness measuring devices - Ice meters
  • Turbidimeters
  • Two way radios
  • Underwater cameras - Underwater video cameras
  • Water analyzers - Multi-port sampling systems to monitor groundwater; Multiparameter water quality instruments; Submersible pressure and level sensors; Submersible water quality sensors
  • Water samplers - Biological oxygen demand water samplers; Sediment samplers; Suction samplers; Swing water samplers (see all 8 examples)
  • Well logging downhole test equipment - Standpipe multi-packer systems for long-term monitoring of deep boreholes


  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.


  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Systems Evaluation - Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.


  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Number Facility - The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.


  • Interest code: IR
    • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Work Context

  • Electronic Mail - 96% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 55% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 52% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 43% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 41% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 59% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 68% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 55% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 57% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 64% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 65% responded “40 hours.”
  • Level of Competition - 50% responded “Highly competitive.”
  • Time Pressure - 57% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 35% responded “Important.”
  • Letters and Memos - 48% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 35% responded “Moderate results.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather - 48% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 39% responded “Fairly important.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 35% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment - 52% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
52%Master's degree
39%Bachelor's degree
4%Post-baccalaureate certificate

Work Styles

  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Work Values

  • Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $38.46 hourly, $79,990 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 7,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Faster than average (10% to 14%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 700

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