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How Do I Become a Hydropower Engineer?

Jessica F. Black
Jessica F. Black

Before you decide to become a hydropower engineer, you should research various job descriptions in order to determine the education and experience requirements. Most companies may require that you have an advanced degree in civil or structural engineering in addition to a specific amount of experience in your field. Due to the increasing popularity of this renewable energy source, most civil engineering programs offer coursework in hydropower and related topics. The first step that you should take to become a hydropower engineer is applying to four year universities that have well-developed engineering departments that offer advanced coursework in hydropower engineering.

Once you have enrolled in a four year undergraduate program, you may want to consider meeting with a college adviser in order to map out the coursework needed to become a hydropower engineer. There are several prerequisites in math and science that you will need to successfully complete before enrolling in advanced coursework. Most civil engineering programs offer courses in engineering statistics, civil engineering design, construction detailing, structural analysis, fluid mechanics, engineering economy, biological waste water treatment, and construction law. In addition to your civil engineering coursework, you will want to take courses in your designated area of expertise, which may include hydrogeology, hydropower engineering structures, irrigation and drainage technology, and hydraulic engineering structures.

A hydropower dam.
A hydropower dam.

An internship in the engineering industry, preferably in a hydropower related field, will help you become a hydropower engineer. Most universities offer internships, and you may want to discuss experience opportunities with your professors and college advisers. Internships can allow you to observe this industry first-hand and assist other professionals with field specific projects. Future employers are usually as equally interested in your experience as they are in your academic history. During your four year undergraduate program, you should focus on maintaining academic excellency and building your experience.

Hands-on training is provided by most engineering internships and will enable you to familiarize yourself with the daily tasks of this field and may increase your chances to become a hydropower engineer. Some students opt to continue their education after receiving a bachelor's of science (B.S.) degree in order to improve their job possibilities, increase starting salaries, and enhance their knowledge on the specifics of hydropower engineering. Technical writing abilities, leadership skills, and critical thinking are traits that will also assist you in excelling in this profession. Once you have completed your education and received hands-on training, you should create a resume that lists all of your qualifications.

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    • A hydropower dam.
      By: blackcurrent
      A hydropower dam.