Audiologist Job Description
Audiologists deal with hearing problems, or all difficulties related to the ear, such as balance. They have patients of all ages, who may experience symptoms of hearing loss, or other auditory and balance problems, as well as sensory and neural complaints. With the use of audiometers and other testing devices, as well as computers, they can measure the level of sound an individual can hear, their ability to distinguish between sounds, etc. They will use their findings to diagnose and determine the necessary course of treatment or medication.
The average annual salary of an audiologist is around $75,000; ranging between $50,000 and $120,000. About 15% of audiologists are union members or under union contracts. Some employers in this field will pay for courses in continuing education.
Audiologists Career Outlook
This is one area where employment growth is projected much faster than the average, although there will not be so many job openings as in other careers, as this occupation is in a much smaller field. However employment is expected to rise 25% by 2022. Increase in the ageing population, therefore increase in hearing and balance problems, will add to the demand for audiologists.
There is also notable growth in the importance of early identification and diagnosis of hearing disorders in infants, which will also add to the increase in demand for these specialists.
Audiologist license requirements are regulated by state, and vary greatly. A minimum of a Masters degree in audiology is necessary, but increasingly a doctoral degree is required. Graduation from an accredited program is required for licensing in most states, as well as professional credentialing.
Accreditation of audiologist programs comes from the CAA (Council on Academic Accreditation) which is an entity of ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)
Initial education should cover courses in English and mathematics, physics chemistry and biology, psychology and communication. Audiologist graduate coursework includes anatomy and physiology, physics, genetic, normal and abnormal communication development, as well as auditory, balance and neural systems assessment and treatment, pharmacology and ethics, audiological diagnosis and treatment. A graduate course will also include supervised clinical practical training.
18 states require a doctoral degree for license, while some states consider the practice of audiology and the dispensing of hearing aids come under separate regulation, so these states require an additional license; the Hearing Aid Dispenser License.
The ASHA offer a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A), and credentialing is also offered through the ABA (American Board of Audiology). Professional credentialing earned here may cover all, or only some of your States’ licensing requirements.
Most states require continued education during employment, and periodical license renewal. Generally audiologists participate by their own choice, in continuing classes, courses and certification, in order to keep up with new technologies and methods of practice. Advancement is possible through experience; in hospitals to Head of Department, management or supervisory positions, or experienced audiologists also have the possibility of opening their own practice.