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Jobs Involving Water Testing & Quality

Water quality is highly important, and several careers involve testing water for various attributes. Explore some of these jobs and learn about their median salaries and education requirements.

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Career Options Involving Water Testing and Quality

Career options that involve water testing and quality are available in several different job fields, including science and public health. These professionals may test water for different chemicals or characteristics, and most are looking to ensure that water quality meets certain standards. Learn about a few of the available careers that involve water testing and quality below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Hydrologists $80,480 10%
Environmental Scientists and Specialists $68,910 (including health) 11% (including health)
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians $66,820 8%
Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators $45,760 -3% (Decline)
Microbiologists $66,850 8%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for Jobs Involving Water Testing and Quality

Hydrologists

Hydrologists study all aspects of water, including the water cycle, how water moves, water availability and water quality. To measure water quality, hydrologists take water samples to test for a variety of factors, such as pH levels and pollution or other contamination. Their findings are often used to help solve issues concerning water quality, which usually involves other environmental issues like erosion, pollution or drought. Many hydrologists enter the field with a master's degree, but some positions are available for those with a bachelor's degree.

Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Environmental scientists and specialists work to protect the environment, and human health, which often involves water testing for quality. In addition to water samples, they may also collect soil, air and other biological samples to test for pollution and other indicators of poor environmental health. Once these samples are analyzed, these professionals work to correct any issues that are found, as well as work to prevent any future problems in the area. Environmental scientists and specialists need to hold a bachelor's degree in a natural science.

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians

Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians inspect and test workplace environments for safety and quality in regards to health, which is likely to include testing water sources. They must ensure that all of the results of their tests comply with safety regulations and write reports with their findings. These workers may also educate employees concerning safety, evaluate programs and investigate any incidents that do occur in the workplace. Specialists need at least a bachelor's degree while technicians need an associate's degree, postsecondary certificate or on-the-job training.

Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators

One part of a water and wastewater treatment plant and system operator's job involves testing water and sewage samples. They typically operate various machines to transfer and treat water or wastewater, which requires them to carefully monitor gauges and report test results to regulatory agencies. This reporting is done to ensure that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations are followed and water quality meets safety standards. These operators need a high school diploma, on-the-job training and a license.

Microbiologists

Microbiologists are scientists who analyze various water samples to study the microorganisms they contain. They may also examine samples from animals, plants and humans to identify and study any bacteria, parasites, viruses, algae or other microorganisms found there. These professionals also study the effects of these microorganisms on their environment, which may have big implications for water quality related to the environment and/or human health. Microbiologists usually need a Ph.D. for research positions, but may find entry-level jobs with a bachelor's degree.

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