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About

An audiologist is a professional who diagnoses, treats, and manages individuals with hearing loss or balance problems. Audiologists have received a Master's or Doctoral degree from an accredited university graduate program. Their academic and clinical training provides the foundation for patient management from birth through adulthood. Audiologists determine appropriate patient treatment of hearing and balance problems by combining a complete history with a variety of specialized auditory and vestibular assessments. Based upon the diagnosis, the audiologist presents a variety of treatment options to patients with hearing impairment or balance problems. Audiologists dispense and fit hearing aids as part of a comprehensive rehabilitative program. Audiologists may be found working in medical centers and hospitals, private practice settings, schools, government health facilities and agencies, as well as colleges and universities. As a primary hearing health provider, audiologists refer patients to physicians when the hearing or balance problem requires medical or surgical evaluation or treatment.

Audiologists work in private practice offices, hospitals and medical centers, clinics, public and private schools, universities, rehabilitation or speech and hearing centers, health maintenance organizations and nursing homes. Audiologists work closely with government agencies, practicing physicians and hearing aid manufacturers. Audiologists conduct clinical activities with patients, are involved in hearing research, dispense hearing aids and assistive listening devices and teach at universities and medical schools. The job is not physically demanding but does require attention to detail and intense concentration. 

For more information on the related career of Speech Pathology, visit here. 

Training

In the United States, audiologists are regulated by state licensure or registration in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Starting in 2007, the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) became the entry level degree for clinical practice for some states, with most states expected to follow this requirement very soon, as there are no longer any professional programs in audiology which offer the master's degree. Minimum requirements for the Au.D. degree include a minimum of 75 semester hours of post-baccalaureate study, meeting prescribed competencies, passing a national exam offered by Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service, and practicum experience that is equivalent to a minimum of 12 months of full-time, supervised experience. Most states have continuing education renewal requirements that must be met to stay licensed. Audiologists can also earn a certificate from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or seek board certification through the American Board of Audiology. Most states also require a Hearing Aid Dispenser License to enable the Audiologist to dispense hearing aids, though legislation is currently underway in many states which would not require this extra step. It would allow Audiologists to dispense under their Audiology license. Currently there are over 70 Au.D. programs in the United States:

Distance Au.D. Programs:

A.T. Still University through Arizona School of Health Sciences

University of Florida

Residential Au.D. Programs:

A.T. Still University through Arizona School of Health Sciences

Arizona State University

Auburn University (AL)

Ball State University (IN)

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Central Michigan University

East Tennessee State University

Gallaudet University (DC)

Idaho State University

Illinois State University

Indiana University

James Madison University(VA)

Lamar University (TX)

Long Island Au.D. Consortium (NY)

Louisiana State University at New Orleans

Louisiana Tech University

Missouri State University

Montclair State University

Northeast Ohio Au.D. Consortium

Northeastern University

Northern Illinois University

Northwestern University

Nova Southeastern University (FL)

Ohio State University

Ohio University

Purdue University & Indiana University School of Medicine (IN)

Rush University (IL)

Salus University (formerly Pennsylvania College of Optometry)

San Diego State University/University of California San Diego(CA)

Syracuse University

Texas Tech University

CUNY Graduate Center (NY)

Towson University (MD)

University at Buffalo (NY)

University of Arizona

University of Arkansas at Little Rock & University of Arkansas for Medical SciencesConsortium

University of Cincinnati (OH)

University of Colorado - Boulder (CO)

University of Connecticut

University of Florida

University of Illinois

University of Iowa

University of Kansas

University of Louisville (KY)

University of Maryland, College Park

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

University of Memphis (TN)

University of Minnesota

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of North Texas

University of Northern Colorado

University of Oklahoma

University of Pittsburgh (PA)

University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus(link)

University of South Alabama

University of South Dakota

University of South Florida

University of Southern Mississippi

University of Tennessee

University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas at Dallas

University of Utah

University of Washington - (WA)

University of Wisconsin–Madison

Utah State University

Vanderbilt University (TN)

Washington University (MO)

Wayne State University (MI)

West Virginia University (WV)

Western Michigan University

Wichita State University (KS) 

Exams

Audiologists are regulated by licensure in all 50 States. Eighteen of those States require a doctoral degree for licensure. Some States regulate the practice of audiology and the dispensing of hearing aids separately, meaning some States will require an additional license called a Hearing Aid Dispenser license. Many States require that audiologists complete continuing education for license renewal. Eligibility requirements, hearing aid dispensing requirements, and continuing education requirements vary from State to State. For specific requirements, contact your State’s medical or health board.

Audiologists can earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; they may also be credentialed through the American Board of Audiology. Professional credentialing may satisfy some or all of the requirements for State licensure.

Application

The AuD Admissions Committee strongly considers academic performance and scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Preference is given to applicants with a 3.2 GPA or higher, both cumulatively and within the major, and scores of 500 or higher on both the verbal and quantitative GRE subtests. Other areas, such as strong performance on the analytical writing section of the GRE, strong recommendations, a well-written statement of purpose, a positive interview, a clear sense of goals and direction, and excellent interpersonal communication skills, are also critical components in the admission process.

Requirements for admission to programs in audiology include courses in English, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and communication. Graduate coursework in audiology includes anatomy; physiology; physics; genetics; normal and abnormal communication development; auditory, balance, and neural systems assessment and treatment; diagnosis and treatment; pharmacology; and ethics. Graduate curriculum also include supervised clinical practicum and externships.

Specialties

Primary specialties for Audiologists include areas that focus on people, on systems, on technology, prevention or rehabilitation. Some of these specialties include: pediatrics, geriatrics, special education, educational services, research, early intervention, private practice, hearing aid technology, balance disorders, or industrial health. With experience, audiologists can advance to open their own private practice. Audiologists working in hospitals and clinics can advance to management or supervisory positions.

Support and Information

National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

American Academy of Audiology

Academy of Doctors of Audiology

Audiology Online                                                                                                         News, information and online continuing education for Audiology.

National Association of Future Doctors of Audiology                                                             Student Organization for future audiologists.

Let Them Hear Foundation                                                                                                 Provides no-cost insurance advocacy and information for audiology, cochlear implants, and other hearing related medical services

Much thanks to Wikipedia, USDL, and NxtHearing for the information on Audiology.