Audiologist (Doctor of Audiology)
Audiologists identify hearing and balance disorders, provide rehabilitative services, assess amplification devices and instruct patients in their care, prepare future professionals in colleges and universities and serve as consultants to government and industry on issues concerning environmental and noise-induced hearing loss.
A Doctor of Audiology (e.g. Au.D.) is an independent professional who specializes in diagnosing, managing and treating hearing- and balance-related disorders. Audiologists treat patients from birth through adulthood.
In providing hearing care, audiologists:
Audiology is closely connected to the field of speech-language pathology (SLP). Some audiologists also become certified speech-language pathologists, but each profession is a distinct career in its own right.
For more information on both audiology and speech-language pathology, see the Information for Students section of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website.
Audiologists work in a wide range of settings, including schools, hospitals, HMOs, research agencies, public health departments, corporations and private or group practice. Most full-time audiologists work 40 to 50 hours per week and some work part-time. Typically, audiologists interact with a broad range of professionals in interdisciplinary teams.
The job does not require physical labor but does require the ability to:
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To become an audiologist, you must earn a doctoral degree (e.g. Au.D.) from an audiology program that has been accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. The American Speech-Language Hearing Association provides a listing of accredited schools offering an Au.D. program.
The requirements for admission into a graduate program vary from school to school. On the undergraduate level, a strong arts and sciences focus is recommended, with course work in linguistics, phonetics, psychology, speech and hearing, mathematics, biological sciences, physical sciences and social sciences.
Those individuals who have a graduate degree with with major emphasis in audiology (e.g. Au.D.) may become certified by the Council for Clinical Certification, which issues certificates of clinical competence for both audiology and speech-language pathology.
All 50 states now require audiologists to hold at least a master's degree or equivalent. A few states now require a doctoral degree for audiology. Other requirements typically include 275 to 375 hours of supervised clinical practice, a passing score on a national examination, and nine months of supervised professional experience. Forty-two states have continuing education requirements for licensure renewal. Medicaid, Medicare and private health insurers generally require a practitioner to be certified or licensed to qualify for reimbursement.
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Last updated: December 18, 2014
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