Hydrologic Technicians
Sign In
OverviewSalaryAboutEducationWhere are the jobsEmploymentGenderRace/Origin
Collect and organize data concerning the distribution and circulation of ground and surface water, and data on its physical, chemical, and biological properties. Measure and report on flow rates and ground water levels, maintain field equipment, collect water samples, install and collect sampling equipment, and process samples for shipment to testing laboratories. May collect data on behalf of hydrologists, engineers, developers, government agencies, or agriculture.
Until very recently, government survey data collection for Hydrologic Technicians included the career Geological Technicians. As a result, much of the information for these careers is identical.
Explore Pathways
Titles for this career often contain these words
Fewer details
Responsibilities and activities

Geological and hydrologic technicians typically do the following:

  • Install and maintain laboratory and field equipment
  • Gather samples in the field, such as mud and water, and prepare them for analysis in the laboratory
  • Conduct scientific tests on samples to determine their content and characteristics
  • Record data from tests and compile information from reports, databases, and other sources
  • Prepare reports and maps to identify geological characteristics of areas that may have valuable natural resources

Geological and hydrologic technicians typically specialize either in fieldwork and laboratory study or in analyzing data. However, technicians may have duties that overlap into multiple areas.

In the field, geological and hydrologic technicians use equipment, such as seismic instruments and depth sensors, to gather data. They also use tools, such as shovels and gauges, to collect samples for analysis. In laboratories, these technicians use microscopes, computers, and other equipment to analyze samples for problem-solving and other purposes.

Geological and hydrologic technicians work on teams under the supervision of scientists and engineers. Geological technicians help with tasks such as exploring and developing prospective sites or monitoring the productivity of existing ones. Hydrologic technicians assist with a variety of projects, such as providing information for negotiating water rights.

Geologic and hydrologic technicians also might work with scientists and technicians of other disciplines. For example, these technicians may work with environmental scientists and technicians to identify the potential impacts of drilling on an area’s soil and water quality.

Median salary: $50,630 annually
Half of those employed in this career earn between $35,450 and $76,650.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for this career compare to other jobs' salaries?
Fewer details
Salary growth for environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians
Is this job likely to reward you for sticking with it through pay raises and promotions? The higher a job’s “experience quotient,” the more you are likely to get as you stay there.
Experience quotient percentile
Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?
Salary distribution
Number employed
About Hydrologic Technicians
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs? The availability of health care, especially employer provided health care, and pension plans can add significantly to the value of compensation you receive in a career. These charts compare how this career compares to other careers with regard to health care and pension plans.
Employee has health insurance
Employer is providing health insurance
Employer-provided pension plan is available
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of hydrologic technicians who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (63%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (41%)
  • Hazardous Conditions (37%)
  • Consequence of Error (37%)
  • High Conflict Frequency (33%)
Fewer details
Personality and skills
Can you see yourself in the ranks of Hydrologic Technicians? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
Analytical skills
Geological and hydrologic technicians evaluate data and samples using a variety of techniques, including laboratory experimentation and computer modeling.
Communication skills
Geological and hydrologic technicians explain their methods and findings through oral and written reports to scientists, engineers, managers, and other technicians.
Critical-thinking skills
Geological and hydrologic technicians must use their judgment when interpreting scientific data and determining what is relevant to their work.
Interpersonal skills
Geological and hydrologic technicians need to be able to work well with others as part of a team.
Physical stamina
To do fieldwork, geological and hydrologic technicians must be able to reach remote locations while carrying testing and sampling equipment.
Education pathways to this career
Education attained by hydrologic technicians
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), hydrologic technicians typically hold a associate's degree.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.
Details: Education and training recommended for hydrologic technicians

Although entry-level positions typically require an associate’s degree in applied science or a science-related technology, employers may prefer to hire applicants who have a bachelor’s degree. Geological and hydrologic technician jobs that are data intensive or highly technical may require a bachelor’s degree.

Community colleges and technical institutes may offer programs in geosciences, mining, or a related subject, such as geographic information systems (GIS). Regardless of the program, most students take courses in geology, mathematics, computer science, chemistry, and physics. Schools also may offer internships and cooperative-education programs in which students gain experience while attending school.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for hydrologic technicians

Some geological and hydrologic technicians may be required to have the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) certification. HAZWOPER certification includes training in health hazards, personal protective equipment, site safety, recognizing and identifying hazards, and decontamination. Refresher training may be required to maintain certification.

The American Institute of Hydrology (AIH) offers different levels of voluntary certification for hydrologic technicians. Each level requires different amounts of education and experience. Recertification is required periodically.

Education level of Environmental Science, Nuclear, and Geoscience Technicians
Only 40% of environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Fewer details
Programs recommended by the Department of Education
The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click a program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.
Number of degrees awarded in 2018
Education level of awarded degrees
Gender of graduates
Race/origin of graduates
Where are the jobs
State-by-state employment numbers
Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.
Select a state to see local area details
Number of Environmental Science, Nuclear, and Geoscience Technicians per 1,000 workers (ACS)
Fewer details
Job density versus job count
Which states hire the most hydrologic technicians? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as hydrologic technicians. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where hydrologic technicians earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians.
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this figure might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Location-adjusted median salary for Environmental Science, Nuclear, and Geoscience Technicians (ACS for all specialties)
13% of Environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians are working part time.
We’ve found that some jobs have a huge number of part-time workers, and typically that is because they are unable to find full-time work or the job itself can’t provide full-time hours. With 13% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 51% of careers.
Employer types
This donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire for this career.
Employers of undefined (ACS)
Private for-profit
Private not-for-profit
Local government
State government
Federal government
Self-employed incorporated
Self-employed not incorporated
Working without pay
Fewer details
Distribution: Salaries of environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians by type of employer
Here are the salary distributions based on employer type.
$54K$60K$57K$42K$52K$37K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians and gender
With 28% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 59% of careers.
Gender of Environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians
Men (72%)
Women (28%)
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary in this career? The closer the bars are, the less discrepancy there is.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
Fewer details
Context: Women in the workforce
How does this career compare to other careers with regard to the percentage of women in the career.
Context: Salary inequity
The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians tops that, with the median salary for men 27% higher than the median salary for women.
Race and origin of Environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians
This donut shows the distribution of race and origin among those employed as Environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians.
Race/origin of environmental science, nuclear, and geoscience technicians
White (76% )
Asian (9% )
Black (8% )
Other (3% )
Multiracial (2% )
American Indian (1% )
Hispanic (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Distribution: salaries by race/origin
Some careers might have a pay disparity based on race or origin, the closer the below bars are the less of a discrepancy is present.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.