How to Become an Audiologist
Are you looking to find out for what it takes to become an Audiologist? This medical profession requires many years of schooling and training, but it’s a rewarding career. Find out what responsibilities and pay you can expect in this field, and other resources to help you in your quest for more information.
What Does an Audiologist Do?
An Audiologist is a medical professional who specializes in ear-related issues. They assess, diagnose and treat patients who have problems hearing or are suffering from balance disorder, tinnitus or other such issues. Audiologists usually work in medical settings, such as hospitals, medical clinics and independent audiology clinics, but some work in schools, government offices and corporations.
Audiologists are required to be skilled in medicine as well as have excellent customer service skills, as they are working with patients. Typical tasks of an Audiologist include:
- Technical tasks, such as diagnosing and treating auditory disorders
- Educating tasks, such as teaching patients about symptoms and treatments
- Clerical tasks, such as documenting patient information
- Management tasks, such as supervising employees
Since any person may require the services of an Audiologist, these professionals must be able to work with people of all ages, treating patients who are elderly and hard of hearing as well as newborns. As such, Audiologists must be patient, empathetic and helpful. In order to truly hear patients and their complaints, these professionals must be active listeners and excellent communicators, who will have to often speak up to those hard of hearing, speak slowly and enunciate. As Audiologists see many patients in one day, they must be able to manage their time well to help patients during their appointments without keeping others waiting, which often requires multi-tasking, working quickly and efficiently.
Other key Audiologist skills include:
- Conducting research
- Typing proficiency
- Attention to detail
How Do You Become an Audiologist?
Education and Training
To start the path of becoming an Audiologist, candidates must first complete a bachelor’s degree; while there is no specific major required, graduate schools want applicants who have taken classes in anatomy, physiology, math and physics. If offered, taking college programs that prepare students for careers in Audiology or Speech Language Pathology would be advantageous.
Following an undergraduate degree, candidates would complete four years of grad school, earning a doctoral degree in Audiology (PhD or AuD). Some graduate school programs require candidates to conduct research, which may add another one or two years to the program.
Some schools allow students to specialize in one area, such as pediatric or geriatric Audiology, but it is important that the school be accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
After the completion of graduate school, Audiologists must obtain state-specific licenses to practice in this field, which requires up to 375 hours of supervised clinical experience, a passing score on an exam and nine months of unsupervised professional clinical experience.
To stand out from the competition, Audiologists can also obtain a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and/or a credential from the American Board of Audiology.
Finding a job
There is a high demand for Audiologists, a field that is growing much quicker than other professionals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There will be a 29 percent increase in job openings, with 680 positions opening each year through 2024. An aging American population that will require the help of Audiologists to treat hearing loss fuels this demand.
It is vital to create a professional Audiologist resume that lists your educational, internship and research experience to set you apart from other candidates.
When searching for Audiologist job openings, it can be advantageous to network with medical professionals you have worked with while completing medical school or clinical experience with help in finding a job.
A cover letter for an Audiologist position must state your interest in the job, and aptly describe the skills and experience you possess to excel in this role.
How Much Do Audiologists Get Paid?
Audiologists make an average yearly salary of $74,900 in the U.S. The highest-paid experts make $111,400, and the lowest-paid earn $49,800.
Top 10 States for an Audiologist’s Salary
Audiologists in the following states make the highest median salary in the US.
- District of Columbia – $93,500
- New Mexico – $93,300
- Hawaii – $92,700
- California – $90,800
- Oklahoma – $88,800
- Colorado – $88,200
- Maryland – $85,800
- New Jersey – $84,800
- Washington – $82,000
- New York – $81,800
Insights from an Audiologist
Audiologist Nancy Jablonski of Audiology Concierge shared her thoughts with us to help aspiring Audiologists understand what it takes to excel in this role.
What is the common career path for this position?
After graduation from a doctoral program, many Audiologists take positions working for Otolaryngologists (Ear, Nose and Throat Physicians). They get diagnostic experience in these jobs.
What should someone consider before becoming an Audiologist?
Learning about business, as this occupation not only requires diagnostic skills, but business acumen as well. Confidence in one’s skills is essential, but without business confidence, many audiologists end up in dead end jobs being exploited by hearing aid stores, manufacturers or physicians.
What type of person excels in this job?
Compassionate, patient, sensitive, caring, tactful and the ability to be a good communicator are important. Additionally, good problem solving skills and a scientific educational background is helpful.
What are some of the most important skills required for this position?
Listening, need exceptional skills in observation, concentration and record keeping. Important to be able to communicate with all types of people.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being an Audiologist?
The most reward aspect is changing and empowering lives through better hearing.
For more information about becoming an Audiologist, follow these sources.
On the Web
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) – The national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 186000 members and affiliates who are audiologists.
American Board of Audiology – Creates, administers, and promotes rigorous credentialing programs that elevate professional practice and advance patient care.
Audiologist – This group is for hearing care professionals in private practice.
California Academy of Audiology (CAA) – Organized for the purpose of promoting the public good by fostering the growth, development, recognition, and status of the profession of audiology and its members.
@AcademyofAuD – Promotes quality hearing and balance care by advancing the profession of audiology.
@AudioWorldnews – A global resource for hearing care professionals and ENTs for information and news from the audiology world.