What Does IT Take to Become an Audiologist?

As an audiologist, you might treat people of all ages for hearing disorders and inner ear problems. Read on to find out more about the education, licensing, and certification required to be an audiologist. Schools offering Health Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

An audiologist is a health care specialist who treats ear-related problems in patients of all ages. You might prescribe hearing aids and program cochlear implants and demonstrate to patients how to use these devices. You might also provide consultation on reducing hearing damage for workers in environments with loud noises or pressure changes, such as those in the industrial manufacturing, music, or air travel business. Routine tasks may include cleaning a patient's ears, screening patients for hearing loss or balance problems, and training patients on effective modifications to communication.

Education

In order to practice as an audiologist, most states require that you complete a graduate degree in audiology. It is becoming increasingly common for states to require that licensed audiologists have completed a doctoral degree and have the designation Au.D. While enrolled, you may expect to take classes in anatomy of the auditory system, hearing diagnostics, clinical research, rehabilitation, and other advanced topics. Most programs also require you to complete a minimum number of supervised practical experience hours.

Licensing

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), all 50 states require audiologists to be licensed. Requirements for an audiology license vary, but they typically include meeting education requirements. To maintain licensing in many states, you may be required to complete continuing education classes. Some states also require additional licensing for you to be able to dispense hearing aids.

Professional Certification

Though not required, you might choose to pursue certification by a professional organization, such as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA, www.asha.org). The ASHA offers the Certificate in Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) to candidates with a doctoral degree in audiology. The CCC-A certification exam consists of 120 questions and lasts about two hours.

Salary and Employment Information

The employment of audiologists is projected to increase by an approximated 34% between 2012 and 2022, according to the BLS. The same source indicated that, in 2012, the median salary earned by audiologists was $69,720 a year. Those serving patients' needs through outpatient care centers made the most money that year, with an average salary of $81,960 reported by the BLS.

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