Hydraulics Engineer: Education and Career Information

Sep 24, 2019

A hydraulics engineer requires significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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A hydraulics engineer is a type of civil engineer whose focus is the movement and control of fluids. They may work for government on dams, aquifers, and the environmental impact of water movement, or in private companies to determine the interaction of fluids on buildings and structures. Civil engineers have a job growth outlook about as fast as average.

Essential Information

Hydraulics is a subset of civil engineering that focuses on the movement, control and properties of fluids. A bachelor's degree in engineering is required for prospective hydraulics engineers, and often a master's degree in hydraulic engineering is necessary. Most career opportunities are available with private firms and government agencies. Civil engineers who sell their services to the public or who supervise projects are required to be licensed, which requires completing an approved degree program, gaining experience and passing a series of examinations.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in engineering; master's in hydraulics engineering may be necessary
Licensing Licensing required for some positions
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6% for all civil engineers
Median Salary (2018)* $86,640 for all civil engineers

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Hydraulics Engineer Education Info

Hydraulics engineers work in many sectors of the economy to lend knowledge and help with the practical applications, movements and uses of fluids. This discipline of civil engineering deals principally with the control of water and sewage. The profession requires a high level of competency in many subjects, so it is important that potential hydraulic engineers begin the educational journey early.

After becoming acquainted with subjects such as math, physics and computer science in high school, a potential engineer must go on to earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Most major schools offer programs in civil engineering that will provide students with an overview of the natural sciences and the types of mathematics that are used in the field.

Hydraulics engineers hold a variety of positions, so the necessary education levels will vary depending on the goals of the potential engineer; however, a postgraduate degree is required for most engineering positions. In a Master of Science in Hydraulic Engineering degree program, potential engineers will learn to harness the power of fluids, control their movements and prevent potential disasters involving fluids. The degree program provides students with experience using computer modeling to predict patterns and create structures to control and channel fluids.

Career Info

Federal, state and local governments hire hydraulics engineers to design dams, drainage systems and levees, as well as perform many studies to better understand water systems, aquifers and various environmental impacts. Hydraulics engineers may also work for private companies as consultants to provide detailed information on the company's interactions with fluids.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there were about 326,800 civil engineers employed in the United States in 2018, with more than half of that number employed by private firms involved in architecture and engineering projects, and about a third of that number hired by government agencies ( The median wage for these workers was $86,640 as of the May 2018 BLS salary report. The BLS expected the demand for civil engineers to increase faster than average from 2018-2028, at a rate of 6%, due to population growth and an increase in environmental and social problems.

Hydraulics engineers require a bachelor's degree in engineering, and some jobs may also require a master's degree in this specific specialty. Some positions require licensing. In 2018, the median annual salary in this field was around $86,000.

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