Employers of groundwater professionals include local water districts, government agencies (especially federal and state agencies, which employ 51 percent of all hydrologists), consulting firms, landfill operations, private industry, and others with a stake in successful groundwater management.
There are many ways to find openings in the industry. One obvious place to start is the want ads, in the daily newspaper, online, and in various professional journals. Local chapters of groundwater and geological societies sometimes have lists of job opportunities or bulletin boards with important notices. New graduates can also look for work at state employment offices, local or regional water authorities, or the local branches of federal agencies.
Those starting out with undergraduate degrees are likely to do tasks like sampling and measuring work. What an employee needs to achieve to be promoted will depend on the employer but probably will include some years of experience plus an advanced degree. It is advisable to keep up on the latest developments in the field through seminars, workshops, and other courses.
Advancement in private consulting firms will likely include promotion to an administrative position, which will mean spending more time in the office, dealing with clients, and directing the activities of other groundwater specialists and office staff. Those working for a local, regional, state, or federal organization may rise to an administrative level, meeting with planning commissions, public interest groups, legislative bodies, and industry groups.
Another option is for groundwater professionals to strike out on their own. With some experience, for example, ambitious professionals might start their own consulting firm.
Tips for Entry
To learn more about the field, read:
- Hydrogeology Journal: http://iah.org/publications
- Groundwater and Ground Water Monitoring & Remediation: both available at https://www.ngwa.org/publications-and-news/journals
- AGU Hydrology Section Newsletter: https://connect.agu.org/hydrology/home
- Journal-American Water Works Association: http://www.awwa.org/publications/journal-awwa/subscribe.aspx
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Land an entry-level job as a groundwater technician to learn about the field and make industry contacts.