Tracing the word back to its Latin and Greek roots, Audiology means the study of hearing. An audiologist is a professional who specializes in the non-medical detecting and treating of issues involving hearing and balance. If audiology sounds like a possible career choice for you, you might ask yourself, “How do I become an audiologist?”
Before you find out how to become an audiologist, you may want to know what it’s like to be one. Audiologists work in a wide range of settings, with clients of all ages, from infants to elderly adults. They conduct hearing tests, and counsel patients who have suffered hearing loss, as well as teaching them skills for coping with their disability. Audiologists must be compassionate, and have good communication skills. When medical treatment is necessary, an audiologist will refer the client to a physician. They may provide hearing protection, hearing aids and cochlear implant recommendations Some audiologists become involved in auditory science research, while others create hearing safety and screening programs for schools and workplaces.
If you still want to become an audiologist, you need to go to school for training, and then be licensed where you plan to practice. While an audiologist is not a medical doctor, most states require a Doctoral degree in Audiology (AuD) from an accredited school, as well as certification from either the American Board of Audiology or the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
In other words, you must earn a doctoral degree. First, you’ll have to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, or a similar program. The undergraduate program takes four years, and includes general education classes such as English and math. After you earn the bachelor’s degree, you will need to complete an additional 75 credit hours toward your doctorate. Earning a doctorate also includes a written dissertation and an oral examination. Normally the doctorate process takes an additional four years. Part of your training will include neurology, anatomy, physiology, acoustics, sign language, and counseling. In addition to your graduate studies, you must complete at least 300 hours of supervised clinical experience, nine months of post graduate clinical experience, and pass the national examination to become an audiologist.
Once you graduate, and are licensed, you are ready to get employment, Once you become an audiologist, keep in mind that in order to maintain your license; you may be required to continue your education to keep up with new developments in audiology. So now that you’ve done all that, how to do you get hired? Part of your training will include an internship. Do your best work there, because a lot of people get hired based on their internship performance. Many audiologists work in healthcare settings, such as doctor’s offices, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. Some have private practices. Others work in schools or businesses conducting hearing screenings and evaluations. Some even work for the government or in research facilities. As of 2010, the median salary for audiologists was $66,000.00 per year, with those in private practice earning over $98,000.00 per year.