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Career and Education Opportunities for Hydrologists in Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for hydrologists. About 140 people are currently employed as hydrologists in Maryland. By 2016, this is expected to grow 21% to 170 people employed. This is better than the national trend for hydrologists, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.2% over the next eight years. Hydrologists generally research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters; 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.

The income of a hydrologist is about $35 per hour or $73,220 per year on average in Maryland. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $34 per hour or $71,450 yearly on average. Hydrologists earn less than people working in the category of Physical Sciences generally in Maryland and less than people in the Physical Sciences category nationally. Hydrologists work in a variety of jobs, including: environmental consultant, volcanologist, and seismologist.

There are 109 schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including five within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as a hydrologist. Given that the most common education level for hydrologists is a Master's degree, you can expect to spend about six years training to become a hydrologist if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years starting with a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Hydrologist

Hydrologist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, hydrologists research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters; 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.

Hydrologists study and document quantities, distribution and development of underground and surface waters. They also evaluate research data in terms of its impact on issues such as soil and water conservation, flood control planning, and water supply forecasting. Equally important, hydrologists have to design or modify methods of conducting hydrologic studies. They are often called upon to answer questions and furnish technical assistance and data to contractors or the public regarding issues such as well drilling and geology. They are expected to study public water supply issues, including flood and drought risks, water quality and impacts on wetland habitats. Finally, hydrologists evaluate data and furnish recommendations regarding the feasibility of municipal projects, such as hydroelectric power plants, irrigation systems, flood warning systems, and waste treatment facilities.

Every day, hydrologists are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they write clearly and communicate well.

It is important for hydrologists to investigate properties, origins, and movements of glaciers and permafrost. They are often called upon to layout civil works associated with hydrographic efforts and supervise their construction and maintenance. They also conduct research and communicate data to promote the conservation and preservation of water resources. They are sometimes expected to compile and evaluate hydrologic data to ready navigational charts and maps and to predict atmospheric conditions. Somewhat less frequently, hydrologists are also expected to compile and evaluate hydrologic data to ready navigational charts and maps and to predict atmospheric conditions.

Hydrologists sometimes are asked to direct and supervise the work of professional and technical staff, including research assistants and technicians. They also have to be able to administer programs designed to insure the proper sealing of abandoned wells And finally, they sometimes have to design or modify methods of conducting hydrologic studies.

Like many other jobs, hydrologists must have exceptional integrity and be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Astronomer. Observe, research, and interpret celestial and astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge and apply such information to practical problems.
  • Atmospheric Scientist. Investigate atmospheric phenomena and interpret meteorological data gathered by surface and air stations, satellites, and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public and other uses.
  • Chemist. Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or chemical experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.
  • Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Utilizing knowledge of various scientific disciplines may collect, synthesize, and take action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, and other sources.
  • Geographic Information Systems Analyst. Study nature and use of areas of earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. Conduct research on physical aspects of a region, including land forms, climates, soils, plants and animals, and conduct research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.
  • Geological Specialist. Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth. May use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. May study the earth's internal composition, atmospheres, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Includes mineralogists, crystallographers, and seismologists.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Hydrologist Training

George Mason University - Fairfax, VA

George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. George Mason University is a large university located in Fairfax, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,800 students and an admission rate of 63%. George Mason University has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Geology/Earth Science which graduated thirteen, five, and three students respectively in 2008.

United States Naval Academy - Annapolis, MD

United States Naval Academy, 121 Blake Road, Annapolis, MD 21402-5000. United States Naval Academy is a small school located in Annapolis, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,494 students and an admission rate of 14%. United States Naval Academy has a bachelor's degree program in Oceanography, Chemical and Physical which graduated thirty-four students in 2008.

Towson University - Towson, MD

Towson University, 8000 York Rd, Towson, MD 21252-0001. Towson University is a large university located in Towson, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,111 students and an admission rate of 61%. Towson University has a bachelor's degree program in Geology/Earth Science which graduated five students in 2008.

George Washington University - Washington, DC

George Washington University, 2121 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052. George Washington University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,027 students and an admission rate of 37%. George Washington University has a bachelor's degree and a doctor's degree program in Geology/Earth Science which graduated four and one students respectively in 2008.

University of Maryland-College Park - College Park, MD

University of Maryland-College Park, , College Park, MD 20742. University of Maryland-College Park is a large university located in College Park, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,000 students and an admission rate of 39%. University of Maryland-College Park has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Geology/Earth Science which graduated nine, one, and one students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Water Technologist: The Certified Water Technologist (CWT) program represents the highest professional credential in the industrial and commercial water treatment field.

For more information, see the Association of Water Technologies website.

Certified Ground Water Professional: The Ground Water Professional certification program began for AGWSE members in 1986.

For more information, see the National Ground Water Association website.

Erosion and Sediment Control Certification: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians engaged in all phases of erosion and sediment control work.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.