Study the distribution, circulation and interaction of water with the environment, people, animals, and other living things. Hydrologists are scientists who study the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters. They also study the form and intensity of precipitation and its rate of infiltration into the soil, movement through the earth, and return to the ocean and atmosphere.

Make a Difference

A Typical Day

  • Prepare written and oral reports describing research results, using illustrations, maps, and other information.
  • Design and conduct scientific hydrogeological investigations to ensure accurate information is available for water resource management decisions.
  • Measure and graph phenomena such as lake levels, stream flows, and changes in water volumes.
  • 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.

Recommended Credentials

Bachelor's Degree

Education & Training

Regional employers often hire graduates of these programs.


Northwest Lower Michigan


Great Lakes Water Studies Institute
— Northwestern Michigan College

— North Central Michigan College

Elsewhere in Michigan


Conservation Biology or
Fisheries & Wildlife Management
— Lake Superior State University

Hydrogeology Graduate Certificate
— Western Michigan University

Explore This Career

Try it before you buy it!

Take Environmental Science Classes at your high school, like Earth Science. Learn more about the watery world around you!

The Local Advantage Learning Pathway

Pathway 1

See if your high school offers AP classes such as

  • AP Biology
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Chemistry

Dual enroll to start your Freshwater Studies Associate Degree.

Pathway 2

NMC's Freshwater Studies Program is a great opportunity to save money, while also getting hands-on experience.

They also have articulation agreements with the Conservation Biology and Fisheries & Wildlife Management programs at LSSU.

Environmental Science & Society
— Eastern Michigan University

Pathway 3

Look into an undergraduate degree followed by a graduate degree or certificate program.

Conservation Biology or 
Fisheries & Wildlife Management
— Lake Superior State University

Hydrogeology Graduate Certificate
— Western Michigan University

Work with the government or state at the EPA or DNR, privately, or in academia. 


Sample Employers in Our Region

Click the logos below to learn more.


Contact one of these companies and ask for an informational interview, to see if you can job shadow, or to find out if they hire interns.


Sample Job Titles...

  • Groundwater Consultant
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Hydrologist
  • Source Water Protection Specialist

Hear It From The Pros

10-Year Job Growth Projections

10-County Region

Employed Regionally

In 2021 (Michigan)

Wage Range & Median Michigan


Annual Hires Regionally

In 2021

Other Regional Career Resources

Learn more about Hydrologists‘ at O*NET Online.

Real World Career Pathways

It doesn't have to be a straight shot! Hear from people who have taken unique pathways.