What Does a Hydraulic Consultant Do? (And How to Become One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A hydraulic consultant, also known as a hydraulic engineer, designs and builds systems to control liquid and gas. They can specialise in several industries, such as civil and mechanical. By understanding the responsibilities of a hydraulic engineer, you can discover the skills you might require to be successful as one. In this article, we discuss the answer to the question, 'What does a hydraulic consultant do?', detail how to become one, explore their skills, work environment, salary and similar careers.

What does a hydraulic consultant do?

If you're interested in this career, you may wonder, 'What does a hydraulic consultant do each day?' A hydraulic consultant focuses on the transportation of liquid and gas. Their specific daily duties can depend on their specialisation. Below are three primary industries that a hydraulic engineer may specialise in:

Civil hydraulics

A hydraulic specialist in the civil construction industry is mainly responsible for designing water and sewerage services. They often create hydraulic systems, such as dams or sewerage lines. These systems help regulate, relocate and disperse water and sewerage. An engineer specialising in hydraulics may also plan emergency water access points for emergency fire services.

Mechanical

A hydraulic engineer in the mechanical industry usually designs hydraulic systems to pressurise fluids, such as hydraulic oil or water. There are various kinds of machinery and vehicles that utilise a hydraulic system for power. For example, an aeroplane uses hydraulics to raise and lower its wheels. Various construction equipment may also utilise hydraulics, such as a crane, jack, forklift and de-watering pump.

Residential

Residential hydraulics are systems that provide water and natural gas to households. A hydraulic specialist in the residential and commercial industry typically coordinates with architects and builders to design plumbing systems. They also help design fire protection equipment used in residential homes.

How to become a hydraulic consultant

It may be helpful to understand that some jobs can have more qualification requirements than others. For example, an engineer designing a dam system may require a master's degree, while other roles only require a bachelor's degree. Below, you can find a step-by-step guide on how to become a hydraulic engineer:

1. Attain an advanced diploma

To enter the industry as a junior engineer, you may complete a diploma related to hydraulics. Some courses can include a Diploma of Hydraulic Services Design or a Diploma of Engineering and Advanced Fluid Power. A diploma usually takes one to two years to complete and may comprise practical experience. With a diploma in engineering, you may gain employment as a junior engineer and design residential hydraulic systems.

2. Complete an engineering degree

A bachelor's degree in engineering is usually the minimum requirement for becoming a hydraulics specialist in the civil industry. You might consider a Bachelor of Civil Hydraulics Engineering or a Bachelor of Hydraulics and Hydrology. A bachelor's degree may take three years to complete. To further your knowledge in engineering, you might consider a master's degree. A master's degree may take five years to complete, which includes a bachelor's degree and additional training. Hiring managers typically value advanced qualifications, such as a master's degree.

3. Get an internship

An internship can lead to a career as a hydraulic engineer. If you've completed a bachelor's degree or diploma, you might be eligible for an internship with an engineering firm. An engineering internship can be an excellent way to gain work experience, like hydraulic design and consultancy. An internship usually lasts one to two years.

Related: How to Become a Mining Engineer: Essential Qualifications

4. Apply for a hydraulic consultancy job

Once you gain the relevant work experience and qualifications, you may apply for a job as a consultant for hydraulics. Depending on the industry you want to specialise in, you may gain employment with a variety of engineering firms. The civil engineering industry usually has the most vacancies for hydraulic consultants. You can apply for a hydraulic engineering career using the Indeed job board.

Beneficial skills for a hydraulic consultant

Below, you can find some of the typical skills that hydraulic consultants or engineers may utilise in their daily activities:

  • Mathematics: A large majority of an engineer's responsibilities can involve mathematical equations. Skills in mathematics can help an engineer apply the correct formulas to different hydraulic principles.

  • Physics: Civil engineers who design the hydraulics of dams often use their knowledge of physics to create safe hydraulic systems. Dams often use physics principles, such as gravity and momentum, to control the movement of water.

  • Communication: A hydraulic specialist may liaise with government councils, architects, engineers and builders. Effective communication can help them efficiently absorb information.

  • Creativity: Many companies utilise hydraulic specialists to create innovative designs that are both efficient and safe for the environment. An engineer with a creative mind may have unique thought processes that help them plan with innovation.

  • Mechanics: Engineers specialising in hydraulics may design mechanical equipment or mechanical systems to manipulate the flow of water. An engineer in hydraulics may likely require a fundamental knowledge of mechanical principles to assist them with their designs.

Work environment

Hydraulic specialists usually have a mix of administrative and design responsibilities in an office environment. They also visit construction sites or civil project sites to liaise with build teams and other engineers. If an engineer repairs hydraulic systems, their work environment may change regularly, from residential homes to civil constructions. A hydraulic engineer in the building industry usually works in a team environment with architects and builders.

Hydraulic consultant salary

The average national salary of a hydraulic engineer is $109,104 per year. Depending on your specialisation in hydraulics, your salary may vary. Some careers involve more responsibilities than others and may require extensive qualifications. These careers typically provide a higher salary. Where you live might also affect your income as an engineer.

Below, you can find the average salary of hydraulic consultants in different cities:

  • Brisbane, QLD: $130,351 per year

  • Melbourne, VIC: $113,108 per year

  • Sydney, NSW: $106,470 per year

  • Perth, WA: $105,239 per year

Related: How to Become an Engineer Manager (With FAQs)

6 similar engineering careers

As a specialist engineer in hydraulics, you may have transferable skills that can relate to a variety of engineering careers. Below, you can find the average national salary and primary duties of six similar engineering roles:

1. Environmental engineer

Average national salary: $62,609 per year

Primary duties: Environmental engineers use a combination of biology, soil science and mathematics to assess the potential environmental damage of a project. The projects may range from civil constructions to manufacturing processes. An environmental engineer may also manage pollution control and plan rehabilitation programs.

2. Mechanical engineer

Average national salary: $89,860 per year

Primary duties: A mechanical engineer designs products that either produce power or utilise power. They use physics and mathematics to analyse a product and identify how they can make it more efficient. For example, a mechanical engineer may test the aerodynamics of a vehicle by using a wind tunnel. The test provides statistical information that a mechanical engineer may use to alter the vehicle's dimensions.

3. Design engineer

Average national salary: $94,785 per year

Primary duties: Design engineers develop, test and produce a wide range of products. They use design software to create 3D blueprints of a product. A design engineer often works closely with other professionals on an engineering project. Almost every manufactured product goes through a design phase, so a design engineer may develop a diverse range of items.

Related: How to Become a Design Engineer in 4 Steps

4. Civil designer

Average national salary: $98,738 per year

Primary duties: A civil designer helps a project team of engineers design civil structures, such as bridges, roads, dams and tunnels. Most civil projects are for large-scale designs that require extensive load-bearing supports and firm foundations. A civil designer usually works in an office environment and uses 3D modelling software to design structures. They may utilise a range of computer programs that can apply realistic physics to 3D models.

5. Water resources engineer

Average national salary: $99,799 per year

Primary duties: A water resources engineer often works with local government bodies to assess the risk of floods. They also help plan strategies to protect civil constructions from water. Most of the civil projects a water resource engineer works on are prone to flash floods and rising rivers. They may research flood patterns to determine the potential damage that overflow may cause to bridges and roads. A water resource engineer may work closely with a hydraulic specialist, particularly on civil projects.

6. Structural engineer

Average national salary: $110,484 per year

Primary duties: A structural engineer is usually a specialist engineer in civil construction, but they may provide services in the residential building industry. They typically work closely with a civil designer to analyse and test load-bearing supports. A structural engineer also helps oversee the construction phase of a civil project.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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