Audiologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of patients that suffer from hearing complications, balance disorders, and central auditory processing problems. As the audiologist works with their patients, they work to evaluate hearing function and administer rehabilitation in order to improve learning, communication, and job performance. Audiologists are also often responsible for fitting hearing aids and researching.
Education and Training
As of 2012, a new regulation was enacted that requires all audiologists to have their doctorate, either AuD or PhD, in order to practice and to obtain certification.
The first step for a person aspiring to become an audiologist is to complete a bachelor's degree. The doctoral program will likely require courses in anatomy, physics, math, and physiology. In some cases, certain colleges and other schools offer communication science degrees and programs to students who aspire to have a career in audiology.
Choosing a doctoral degree program is paramount because most employers prefer that employment candidates have degrees accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). It typically takes around four years to complete a doctoral program for audiology, but when coupled with research requirements, certain PhD and AuD programs can draw out for nearly six years. The average amount of time spent on working toward becoming an audiologist can range anywhere from 8-10 years.
Part of the ASHA certification involves 300-375 hours of supervised clinical practice and experience. Although this might seem like a daunting requirement, accredited doctoral programs will automatically provide you with the tools to complete it.
Licensing and Certification
It is now required by every state in the nation that an audiologist have a doctorate as well as a license in order to practice. Renewal of the license will almost always require continuing education credits as well. In order to obtain a license, the student will need their 300-375 hours of supervised clinical practice and a passing score with the Praxis exam. The student will also need to have completed nine months of professional clinical experience after graduation.
Check with your state board to be completely sure about what will be required of you to become licensed.
If a student wants, he or she can also earn their the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A). This certificate is offered from ASHA, but it can also be obtained from the ABA (American Board of Audiology). Certification is not required, but in some cases, it can help satisfy licensing requirements. Some employers may also require that applicants be certified by ASHA or the ABA.