Career and Job Search Guide

Environmental Scientist and Hydrologist

Environmental scientists and hydrologists apply their expertise in geology and other earth sciences to improve environmental protections, find natural resources, conduct research to determine water properties, and consult companies about proper waste disposal and pollution control measures.

Environmental scientists work for organizations concerned with pollution elimination and environmental protection. These specialists collect and inspect samples to determine air and water quality and make suggestions to improve the environment. Environmental scientists combine their knowledge of conservation, recycling, and environmental depletion to clean up toxic spills, supervise waste disposal, protect water sources, and abide by environmental regulations.

Environmental scientists are usually trained in the biological and physical sciences and use this knowledge to enhance their understanding of the environment. These scientists can develop expertise in the following areas: environmental biology, chemistry, and environmental ecology, as well as fishery protection and science. They can also be organized into specific job duties, but new developments in the ecological sciences have diminished these classifications. Environmental ecologists research how organisms alter and effect their natural environments. Ecological modelers research ecosystems, attempts to prevent pollution, and efforts to conserve resources. To conduct experiments, they utilize statistical models, thermodynamics, and computer technology. Environmental chemists specialize in the affects various chemicals have on humans and ecosystems.

Hydrologists specialize in the circulation, composition, and allocation of water above and below the earth, usually specializing in either source. Hydrologists analyze the type and strength of precipitation, precipitation soil entry rates, water distribution around the planet, and evaporation. To conduct their work, hydrologists utilize state of the art technology, such as remote sensing equipment used to measure water cycle alterations. Certain hydrologists specializing in surface water utilize technology to determine water cleanness and flow rates. Hydrologists play an important role in flood management and ground water sanitation.

Environmental scientists and hydrologists are usually employed by the government, manufacturing companies, and consulting agencies. Those working for consulting agencies are usually contracted to prevent or correct environmental problems. The majority of companies employing environmental scientists are either big engineering firms with more than 15,000 employees or smaller companies with 50 employees or less. Before beginning a career as an environmental specialist, applicants should have an idea of what type of company they want to work for. At bigger companies, environmental scientists usually work with other professionals on large research projects, and those at smaller ones have additional duties, such as proposal writing, upholding environmental regulations, and reporting directly to management.

Those specializing in the environmental effects of human activity can make recommendations to protect water supplies and reduce air pollution. Those responsible for regulations sometimes work as managers after acquiring experience working in environmental protection and regulation.