How to Become An Audiologist in 2022

How to Become An Audiologist in 2022

Audiologists help hundreds of thousands of people diagnose and resolve hearing problems each year. About 15 percent of US adults report hearing problems, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Two to three children in every thousand have some degree of detectable hearing loss in one or both ears. This is enough reason for you who wants to become an audiologist.

In addition to speech therapists, audiologists also provide important assistance for people with speech and swallowing disorders. Watching the wonder light up the faces of young children when their cochlear implants first turn on and deliver new sound experiences can be incredibly rewarding and noble work.

But becoming an audiologist takes years of study and tremendous dedication. Deciding between audiology and speech pathology can be difficult. Both specialties work with many of the same patients. If you’re keen to get started, becoming a speech-language pathologist is a faster option. However, audiology is a What undergraduate degree is best for audiology?particularly lucrative and rewarding field for anyone interested in working with the hearing impaired. Before making your final decision, you should learn more about becoming an audiologist. Read along as we talk about how to become an audiologist and all you need to know about this specialty. 

What is Audiology?

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), audiology is the study of hearing impairment and hearing loss and how to prevent and correct these problems. ASHA also states that audiologists work with patients to assess, diagnose, treat, and restore their hearing loss. Treatment options for hearing loss include auditory brainstem implants, cochlear implants, hearing aids, and more. Patients with mild hearing loss can receive counseling or equipment to reduce future hearing loss.

Because the focus of the specialty is the inner ear, audiology also studies and treats balance and equilibrium issues. Audiologists have developed a variety of inner ear rehabilitation devices and techniques that can have a profound impact on the quality of life of patients suffering from vertigo or other vestibular disorders.

Audiology and ENT

Although both audiologists and otolaryngologists (ENT) work with patients with hearing problems, there are some differences in the scope of their work. According to the Washington-based Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic, people with progressive hearing loss over the years typically see an audiologist for an evaluation and noninvasive procedure. Those who notice sudden and severe hearing loss (which may be the result of an illness or injury) should see an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

ENT doctors focus on the entire area between the brain and lungs, excluding the eyes. Therefore, ENT doctors have a wider range of treatments than audiologists. According to the Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic, ENT doctors perform a variety of procedures to improve hearing or reduce pain, from removing earwax to placing a surgical ear tube.

Whether you decide to pursue a career as an audiologist or an otolaryngologist, completion of a doctoral program is usually required. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, audiologists require a Doctorate in Audiology (AuD) degree. ENT doctors, also known as Otolaryngologists, are required to complete medical school and residency programs.

Audiology and Speech Therapy

The fields of audiology and speech therapy can overlap, but speech therapists often work in multiple fields. For example, while audiology focuses on hearing function, speech therapy deals with communication and swallowing disorders by examining the ear, tongue, throat, and mouth. Some communication disorders are brain related, while others are caused by physical problems like a cleft palate. In either case, the speech-language pathologist guides the patient to process information and/or communicate more effectively.

Another difference between audiology and speech pathology is the work environment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most audiologists work in healthcare settings such as hospitals or hearing clinics. The BLS also reports that the largest employers of speech therapists in 2019 were educational services such as schools. Other SLPs may work for various healthcare organizations, some as independent consultants.

Audiologists and speech therapists also differ in their respective training requirements. Audiologists need a doctorate and speech therapists only a master’s degree.

How to Become an Audiologist: Job Requirements

So what does an audiologist do on a normal working day? Audiologists use state-of-the-art tools and techniques to diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions for their patients. Audiologists perform numerous services for numerous patients every day. Some of these tasks are;

  • Conduct listening tests and assessments
  • Fitting a hearing aid to a patient
  • Performing earwax removal procedures
  • Administering treatments to patients suffering from tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears) or vertigo
  • Referring patients to specialists for additional medical treatment, including surgeries
  • Helping patients prevent additional hearing loss by recommending hearing protection devices, such as earmuffs or earplugs

To fully understand this field, it’s just as important to know what audiologists do not do as it is to learn what an audiologist does during a normal workday. Audiologists do not perform surgeries or prescribe medications. However, they may recommend over-the-counter medications to help patients alleviate or resolve certain conditions.

6 Steps on How to Become An Audiologist

What qualifications do I need to become an audiologist? In the United States, a doctorate and state license are required for all practicing audiologists. While every path is unique, here are six steps you can take to become an audiologist.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Finally, all audiologists are required to earn a Doctorate in Audiology (AuD) degree, but the first requirement to become an audiologist is a bachelor’s degree. Some doctoral programs accept students with any bachelor’s degree, but completing a bachelor’s program in a discipline related to the field of audiology may better prepare you for your future career.

Students with a solid background in math, physics, anatomy, and physiology may find this course useful for AuD courses. Some examples of ideal bachelor’s degrees for future audiologists include audiology, biology, or speech therapy. Be sure to choose a reputable undergraduate program from an accredited university.

Step 2: Earn a Master’s Degree

While earning a master’s degree is not a necessary step to becoming an audiologist, earning a master’s degree in a field like speech-language pathology can provide additional training in speech and communication disorders, but a master’s degree in speech-language pathology is not required to become an audiologist, with individuals having skills like these that can be helpful when working with patients with severe hearing loss.

If you would like to gain valuable professional experience alongside your further studies, there are numerous part-time and online course options available to you. Additionally, earning a master’s degree in speech-language pathology can help you practice as a speech-language pathologist while continuing on your path to becoming an audiologist.

Step 3: Complete an AuD Program

After completing your bachelor’s or master’s degree, you can start the four-year AuD program of your choice. Because the Ph.D. program in Audiology is not part of the traditional medical school curriculum, the MCAT is not required. In the first two years of each AuD program, the emphasis is on foundation courses, clinical observation, and assessment of practical understanding. Years three and four involve more hands-on practice through clinical experiences, such as B. an internship program. Many AuD projects require a final project.

Some AuD courses offer the option of choosing a major. The right specialty courses can provide additional preparation for exactly the audiology career you desire. For example, if your goal is to work in K-12 schools, a pediatric audiology major can help you achieve that goal.

Step 4: Pass the Praxis Examination in Audiology

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers the audiology practice exam required for professional certification and state licensing. The practice audiology test measures a student’s ability to make informed clinical decisions, making completion of a good clinical practice program critical to your success. A new version of the practice audiology exam is developed every 5-8 years (hence a new calculation of passing scores). You can register for this exam after you have completed your AuD coursework and clinical internship hours.

Step 5: Get Licensed in Your State

All states require audiologists to have a professional license, but requirements vary from state to state. For example, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association reports that each state sets its score for passing the practice audiology test for the issuance of a state license. Refer to ASHA’s website for country-specific licensing information. After selecting your state from the list, look for a link to a separate page that explains the licensing process for audiologists and speech therapists.

Step 6: Complete Certification

Professional certification in audiology is administered by two organizations:

ASHA offers the Certificate of Clinical Competency in Audiology (CCC-A). You can apply for the CCC-A certification at any time after completing your AuD studies.

The American Board of Audiologists (ABA) has three voluntary certifications to validate your expertise in your chosen field:

Career in Audiology

The number of audiology jobs in the United States is increasing, in part due to changing demographics in the country as the proportion of US citizens over the age of 60 increases and aging is a risk factor for many hearing and vestibular disorders.

The BLS projects that audiologist employment in 2029 will be 13% higher than in 2019, well above the projected average employment growth rate of 4% for all occupations in the United States over the same period. The average audiologist’s salary in the US in 2020 is $81,030.

 

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A common misconception is that dispensing medical equipment is the audiologist’s sole responsibility. However, audiologists say their job is more complicated, as they often advise patients on how to manage hearing and balance issues.

Another underappreciated aspect of audiology is that it is not just about problem-solving, the specialty often focuses on preventing problems. For example, industrial audiologists sometimes find jobs in manufacturing and help develop safety protocols for noisy machines. Educational audiologists try to reduce the likelihood that a child will have learning disabilities by making sure the child can hear the teacher.

In addition to occasionally working with educators, audiologists often work with otolaryngologists, occupational and speech therapists, and other healthcare providers.

How to Become An Audiologist: On-Campus Audiologist Degree

James Madison University

100% of the James Madison University AuD program students who took the PRAXIS exam passed the exam. The program has small groups of just seven to eight students, allowing for strong peer relationships and ample opportunity for interaction with faculty. However, all courses in this program are taught sequentially, leaving little room for flexibility. The final year of the program is an off-campus clinical internship.

Students in the program may receive a graduate assistantship which, if awarded, will cover tuition and provide a stipend. To be eligible for this competitive program, candidates must apply, with a current resume, three letters of recommendation, a letter of intent, and official credentials. All finalists will be invited to a personal interview on campus.

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona AuD program meets all requirements for the American Language and Hearing Association certification in audiology. The program’s academic offerings include Audiology Science and the Treatment of Hearing Disabilities. Clinical practice in the program is completed at UA Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinics, as well as other off-site clinics, providing students with a wide range of experiences. The program also places a strong emphasis on original research, with many students writing or co-authoring dissertations during their studies.

Admission to the course can be applied for after completing the bachelor’s degree. There are no prerequisites for the course. However, applicants are strongly encouraged to take courses in Biology, Science, Behavioral Sciences, and Statistics. GRE scores are not required for admission to this program.

California State University, Los Angeles – Rongxiang Xu College of Health and Human Services

The AuD program at Cal State Los Angeles started in 2019. This relatively new program offers evidence-based practice and prepares graduates to become outstanding practitioners in the field. The students get to know the scientific basics of audiology, the causes of hearing loss and balance disorders, and the examination of complex diagnoses. Extensive training in the latest technology and equipment is also provided to aid in diagnosis and treatment.

 

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There are no graduation statistics for the program as the first students will graduate in 2022, but 100% of those who have taken the PRAXIS exam have passed so far. To apply to this program, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in audiology or communication disorders or a broad spectrum of prerequisite courses.

University of Florida – School of Public Health and Health Professions

The on-campus AuD program at the University of Florida School of Public Health and Health Professions offers students a variety of hands-on experiences in diagnostic and rehabilitative audiology.

The 110-credit program includes courses in science, statistics, applied audiology, neurotology, medical neuroscience, healthcare administration, cochlear implants, and programmable hearing aids. Students also receive training in counseling and aging to help patients of all ages and backgrounds.

Extensive clinical practice for the program is conducted at UF Health facilities, the University of Florida Health Sciences Center, and affiliated hospitals and private clinics. Over the past three years, graduates of the program have achieved a 100% graduation rate, a PRAXIS exam pass rate, and an employment rate within six months of graduation.

Central Michigan University – Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions

The AuD program at the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions at Central Michigan University focuses on preparing students to be successful audiologists. To this end, students not only attend classroom lectures but also gain hands-on clinical experience and engage in relevant research with faculty. The program is the oldest audiology degree in the country.

 

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The final year of the program is a year-long off-campus internship during which students complete the clinical supervision hours required for licensing and certification. Many students will intern at Central Michigan University’s Audiology Clinic, where they will care for patients from infancy through adulthood.

State University of Illinois

Students in the Illinois State University AuD program receive a quality education that prepares them for a career as an audiologist. The dual focus of the program is on clinical training and academic courses. Graduates have a deep understanding of ethics, compassion, and professionalism to provide the best possible care to patients with hearing and balance disorders. Clinical experience in the first three years prepares students for a one-year residency in the fourth and final year of the program.

In total, students must earn 86 credits to earn this degree. 54 credits relate to academic programs, 26 clinical credits, and the last six are standalone studies. To be admitted, candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0, provide a letter of intent, submit three letters of recommendation, and present a current resume.

Wayne State University – College of Arts and Sciences

The primary goal of the AuD program at Wayne State University College of Arts and Sciences is to provide students with the best clinical education possible. The program’s courses meet ASHA standards for accreditation and the Michigan audiologist license. From the first semester of the program, students engage in clinical observation and internships for early hands-on experience.

Most of the program’s clinical practice takes place at the Speech and Language Center. However, to provide students with a comprehensive education, they will also complete secondary assignments in schools, community agencies, and health centers. There are also rotations in the Department of Audiology at Henry Ford Health System, a nonprofit integrated healthcare system in the Detroit area that cares for economically and culturally diverse patients.

How to Become An Audiologist: Licensing and Certification

All states now require audiologists to be licensed except for the Ph.D. Most also require continuing education units to renew your license. In addition, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of 300 to 375 hours of supervised clinical experience
  • Passing the state exam
  • Completed nine months of postgraduate clinical work experience

Contact the audiologist licensing board in the state in which you wish to work for specific requirements.

Audiologists can earn a Certificate of Clinical Competency in Audiology (CCC-A) from the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association. They can also be certified by the American Board of Audiology. Although not required, certification may meet some or all eligibility requirements and may be required by some employers.

How Hard is it to Become An Audiologist?

To become an audiologist, you must go through lengthy training, culminating in a doctorate in audiology, before passing rigorous state exams and meeting the state’s stringent requirements for licensing. Most audiologists are also certified in this area, which adds another level of qualification and proof of experience.

How Many Years Does It Take To Become An Audiologist?

You can expect to spend at least eight years in school before qualifying as an audiologist. But even after graduating from school, you must pass the key exam for state licensing and meet your state’s requirements before you can begin practicing. So nine or ten years is not uncommon.

 

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Conclusion

Is Audiology a Good Career Choice for You? It depends on your determination to work in this challenging field. If you aspire to a career in healthcare, have a strong desire to help people cope with hearing problems, and don’t mind spending years of education and training to achieve your goals, then audiology might be right for you. On the other hand, if you aspire to a helping career, the eight years required to complete the required undergraduate and doctoral programs may not be the best choice. Ultimately, only you can decide whether a career in audiology is worthwhile for you.

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