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How to become an Audiologist: Requirements, Salary and Career

How to become an Audiologist

 

 

Audiologists are doctors who specialize in the treatment of hearing and balance problems. They deal with people of all ages. They teach their patients about the consequences of noise on their hearing and fit them with hearing protection, hearing aids, and assistive listening devices. They also assist in hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance system dysfunction research.

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How to Become an Audiologist 

Obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree is a fantastic way to start your career. 

All audiologists will eventually need a Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree, although earning a bachelor’s degree is the initial step toward becoming an audiologist. While some PhD programs can accept students with any bachelor’s degree, completing an undergraduate study in an area relevant to audiology may give you greater preparation for your future job. 

This training may be useful in an AuD program for students who have a strong background in math, physics, anatomy, and physiology. Audiology, biology, and speech pathology are a few examples of good bachelor’s programs for prospective audiologists. Make sure to enroll in a reputed undergraduate program at a recognized institution. 

Consider pursuing a Master’s Degree 

Usually, you are not expected to have a master’s degree in a field such as speech pathology inorder to become an audiologist, but it can improve your training and skill sets in speech and communication impairments. That said, a master’s in speech pathology is not a requirement to become an audiologist. These abilities may come in handy while working with patients who have severe hearing loss. 

Assuming you feel a strong need to obtain an advanced degree while receiving much needed work experience, you’ll find a number of part-time and online program alternatives. In addition, getting an MS in speech pathology will afford you the opportunity to start working as a speech language pathologist while studying to become an audiologist. 

Finish an AuD program. 

It’s time to start your four-year AuD program after you’ve completed your bachelor’s or master’s degree. The MCAT exam is not required for audiology PhD programs because they are not part of standard medical school programs. As you have known, AuD program’s first two years are usually based on basic curriculum, clinical work, and practical exams. Clinical experience, such as an internship program, will provide additional hands-on practice in the third and fourth years.You’ll be required to present a  capstone project as it’s a requirement in many AuD programs. 

Some AuD programs allow students to select a speciality. Specialization classes are important as they can provide much needed training for the Audiology career you’re pursuing. A pediatric audiology course will help you achieve your goal of working in a K-12 school environment. 

Pass The Praxis Exam in Audiology is a test that assesses your knowledge in audiology 

The Praxis Examination in Audiology is managed by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and a key requirement for professional certification and state licensing. Since the Praxis Audiology test usually tests a student’s ability to make and execute sound clinical decisions, obtaining a good clinical internship program is fundamental to succeeding in this field. It happens that every 5-8 years, there’s a new edition of the Praxis Audiology exam (and as such a new passing score computation) is put together. Once you’ve completed your AuD courses and clinical practicum hours, you are eligible to enrol for this exam. 

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Obtain a State-issued license. 

As you may have known, a professional license for audiologists is an important requirement in all states, even though the standards may differ by state. Per reports from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, each state is responsible for  its own passing score for the Praxis Audiology exam so as to provide state licensing. The ASHA website has state-specific licensure information.Once you’ve selected your state from the list, you’ll find a link to a separate website that lists out the audiology and speech language pathology licensure process.

Responsibilities and Tasks 

Performing and interpreting a variety of tests in order to measure hearing efficiency and pinpoint the location of any observed hearing impairments. 

Analyzing test findings and determining the source of hearing loss. 

Prescription and testing of hearing aids and cochlear implants, as well as training patients on how to utilize them. 

Writing up test results and making recommendations and referrals to appropriate medical professionals. 

 

Is it true that audiologists are medical doctors? 

Audiologists, on the other hand, are Clinical Doctors, not Medical Doctors. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in the eyes, just as Optometrists are eye doctors. Audiologists are clinical hearing doctors, while ENTs, also known as Otolaryngologists, are medical doctors who specialize in the auditory system. Doctors can be either Medical Doctors (MD) or Osteopathic Doctors (DO), who are both practicing physicians but referred to as Doctor. The term “doctor” is not exclusive to the medical industry; it refers to someone who has earned a doctoral degree. Audiologists must hold a post-graduate degree and, in most cases, have obtained the title of Doctor.

Assessing the hearing levels of people in high-risk occupations, such as pilots or members of the military services.

Are Audiologists Educated in Medical Schools? 

To practice in the United States, audiologists must complete a postgraduate degree, the AuD. It is not the same as those who have earned a medical degree. Many universities have an AuD program inside the Medical College, but it can also be related with Speech Disorders within the Communication Disorders College. After WWII, audiology developed a tight relationship with speech pathology.

Interests and Personality 

Communication abilities:  Audiologists must clearly convey test results, diagnoses, and treatment recommendations to patients so that they are aware of their status and options. In terms of patient treatment, they may need to collaborate with other healthcare practitioners and education specialists. 

Compassion: Audiologists help persons who have issues with their hearing or balance. Patients and their families should be supported by them. 

Skills in critical thinking:  When assessing a patient’s hearing, audiologists must be able to focus and analyze each patient’s circumstance in order to provide the best treatment. When patients do not respond to initial treatment, they must be able to offer alternate options. 

Patience: Audiologists must work with patients who may require a significant amount of time and care. 

Possessing problem-solving abilities:  Audiologists must determine the causes of hearing and balance impairments, as well as the best treatment or treatments to address them. 

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Job Prospects 

From 2018 to 2028, employment of audiologists is expected to expand by 16 percent, substantially faster than the average for all occupations. Because it is a tiny occupation, however, the rapid development will only result in roughly 2,200 new positions over the next ten years. 

The demand for most healthcare services will continue to rise as the baby-boom population ages and life expectancies rise. Hearing loss and balance issues become more common as individuals get older, therefore the demand for audiologists is anticipated to rise. 

Early detection and diagnosis of hearing impairments in infants may also help to boost employment. Hearing aids may become increasingly appealing as a technique of minimizing the impacts of hearing loss as technology advances, such as smaller size and reduced feedback. This could increase the demand for audiologists.

Audiologist’s Salary

According to the BLS, the national average annual wage for an audiologist is $83,900, which is more than $30,000 higher than the national average wage for all occupations, which is $51,960. Audiologists are primarily hired by physician offices, which employ 3,740 of the 13,590 audiologists in the United States. However, it’s worth noting that the average compensation for audiologists working in physician’s offices is only $78,270. The yearly average wage for audiologists working in outpatient care centers, on the other hand, is $92,260. A recurrent trend in various healthcare jobs is that outpatient care centers pay more than hospitals or physician offices. 

What type of education do audiologists receive? 

A doctor of audiology (AuD) degree is quite necessary for all audiologists. It takes roughly four years to complete. A good number of students who are accepted into AuD programs possess a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders. Some programs, on the other hand, will accept students with other undergraduate majors if they have taken prerequisites like biology, psychology, and statistics. 

Certification and licensing 

New audiologists must be licensed by their respective states after getting their AuD, which usually entails passing a written and/or practical exam. Other types of certification, such as the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) and board certification from the American Academy of Audiology, serve to increase one’s popularity and reliability in the field (AAA). 

What are the Educational prerequisites for audiologists ?

Audiologists work in a highly specialized field. As a result, a normal four-year curriculum provides them with a diverse range of classroom, research, and learning opportunities. Students enrolled in an audiology program gain experience in real-world clinical settings in addition to spending time in the classroom. Clinical experiences range from pediatrics to cochlear implants to balance testing to give students exposure to a variety of situations. Clinical internships are completed in the final year of training, during which students work full-time in a clinical setting under the supervision of a competent professional. To keep up with scientific research, students must also comprehend research concepts and study a lot of literature. They are not normally needed to produce a dissertation, even though they are frequently required to perform or design a detailed research project.

The following is a list of universities that provide audiology programs. 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a world class university institution based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers one program in Audiology/Audiologist. In a tiny town, it’s a huge public four-year institution. Doctoral degrees were awarded to 12 Audiology/Audiologist students who graduated in 2019. 

Bloomsburg University is a  popular public institution based in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania 

The audiology and speech-language pathology undergraduate program at Bloomsburg University attracts students from all over the world, providing them the opportunity to pursue professions in audiology or speech-language pathology. Through a comprehensive academic program that includes access to speech science, hearing science, and allied technologies, the program prepares students for graduate studies in either audiology or speech-language pathology. A master’s degree in speech-language pathology and a clinical doctorate in audiology are the entry-level credentials. As a result, at the conclusion of this program, BU does not propose state certification in either discipline.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Audiology 

Here are some of the most common questions about working as an audiologist. 

Is the profession as an audiologist in high demand? 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to rise at a rate of 16 percent between 2018 and 2028, significantly faster than the overall five percent growth rate. The aging baby boomer demographic and longer life spans have resulted in an increase in career opportunities. The demand for doctors who specialize in hearing loss and balance issues will grow as the population ages. 

How long does it take to train as an audiologist? 

After earning a bachelor’s degree, becoming an audiologist typically takes four years. A Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree, which takes four years to complete, is needed for these specialists. Before entering an AuD school, the majority of prospective audiologists have earned a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders. 

An audiologist works in a variety of settings. 

The majority of audiologists work full-time, with some working more than 40 hours per week in doctor’s offices, offices with other specialists, hospitals, and educational institutions. 

Is audiology a decent profession to pursue? 

Audiology has been named one of the best careers in the medical field. The following are the key advantages of the profession: 

Job security: As the population ages, more hearing and balance care is required. 

Flexibility: Audiologists have the option of working in a number of settings. 

Great working conditions: Audiology is a less stressful profession than many other medical and healthcare professions. Helping clients with hearing loss can be quite satisfying for many audiologists. 

What are the most essential characteristics of an audiologist? 

A good audiologist has several traits, including: 

Audiologists need to be able to interact with their patients on a human level. To completely understand patient problems and answer questions, they must practice active listening. They must also be sensitive to their patients’ sentiments and empathize with them. 

Audiologists must be able to communicate complex medical issues to patients, especially when working with children. 

Impairment-solving abilities: Audiologists must be able to interpret diagnostic tests and apply their prior knowledge to establish the cause of a patient’s hearing problem. 

Time management: Audiologists must be able to maintain appointments on schedule in order to meet patients on time and provide them with adequate time throughout their visit.

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