What you'll do: Diagnose and treat patients suffering from hearing, central auditory processing, and balance disorders. Working with patients of all ages, you'll measure hearing ability and function; provide aural rehabilitation to reduce the effects of hearing loss on communication, learning and job performance; fit for hearing aids; and conduct research.
Where you'll work: Hospitals and rehabilitation centers, private practice, audiology clinics, and schools.
Degree you'll need to practice: Doctoral degree
Median annual salary: $69,720*
Education and Training
New audiologists must earn a doctorate in order to begin practicing. The doctoral degree in audiology (Aud.D.) is a four-year graduate program that you can enter while having a bachelor’s degree in any field.
Some audiology programs, like the one at the University of Washington, allow you to specialize in an area of interest, such as pediatric, geriatric or educational audiology. Your coursework will be more specialized accordingly.
Your coursework will include classes such as:
- Anatomy and Physiology: Peripheral Hearing
- Signals, Systems & Acoustics for the Communication Sciences
- Biological Foundations of Speech & Music
- Clinical Practice and Practicum
Typically, your first year or two will include observations, clinical orientation, a written qualifying exam and a practical assessment. Your third and/or fourth year will offer more hands-on experience through your externship, internship or other "capstone" style intensive project.
Licensing and Certification
All states now require licensing for audiologists in addition to a doctorate. Most also require continuing education units to renew your license. You'll also need to meet the following criteria:
- Complete 300 to 375 hours of supervised clinical experience
- Earn a passing score on a national exam
- Complete nine months of post-graduate professional clinical experience
For specific requirements, check with the state's licensing board for audiologists, in the state you choose to work in.
Audiologists can earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A), offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. They also may be credentialed through the American Board of Audiology. Although it is not required, certification may satisfy some or all of the requirements for licensure and may be required by some employers.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.