Audiologists are professionals who are specialized in the ears, balance and possible hearing loss.
These professionals use advanced technology and equipment to determine the cause of a patient’s lack of hearing, ear pain or balancing issues such as vertigo.
Individuals who want to become an Audiologist should expect to work with a variety of patients suffering from hearing and balance problems to provide a diagnoses that is causing pain and discomfort.
Because of the aging population, the health care industry as a whole should expect to see an increase of older adults needing specialized and primary care.
Being a successful Audiologist may come from being able to work with all types of clients including older adults and infants who have ear and hearing problems.
Education Requirements to Become an Audiologist
Individuals who want to become an Audiologist must undergo several years of schooling in order to find a job in this profession.
An Audiologist’s career begins after graduating high school when they enroll in an undergraduate program at a four year college or university.
Any major or course of study or major may suffice, but because Audiologist’s work is in the health care industry, a major in biology or a related science will help students better prepare to enter this field.
If a student does not major in Biology or in a related science, they may opt to take classes related to the sciences.
Classes in anatomy, biology, anthropology or genetics may help fill in some scientific gaps in a student’s background.
After completing a Bachelor’s program, an individual can begin to apply for a doctoral degree in Audiology (Au.D.).
This program typically takes an additional four years to complete.
Throughout the program, students will take specialized classes to prepare them for this field.
These courses include communication development, physics, anatomy, physiology, diagnosis and treatment, pharmacology and ethics.
Some graduate programs may also include clinic practiced under supervision.
In addition to completing a graduate program, individuals who want to become an Audiologist must also seek licensure through the state they wish to find work in.
Candidates will need to contact their state in order to find out information on how to get licensed.
In addition, individuals may also seek certification for this profession.
Certification requirements will vary by state and employer.
Candidates may visit ASHA to seek certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
They may also acquire accreditation through the American Board of Audiology and can visit their website for more information on certification requirements.
Audiologist Job Description
Audiologists use a combination of innate personal qualities and their educational background to diagnose and treat patients with hearing and balancing issues.
Using a combination of high tech equipment such as audiometers and computers, Audiologists gather information from exams and tests taken during a client’s appointment.
Information gathered during an exam may include measuring the level of hearing a patient has, observing the inside of the ear and making sure debris is not obstructing the ear canal and cleaning out ear canals.
Audiologists are also responsible for determining treatments for clients, fitting hearing aids and also treating patients with vertigo and lightheadedness.
Audiologists may also specialize in working with a specific age group, such as the elderly or toddlers and children.
Some may serve all age groups through their own practice.
In addition, there are Audiologists who may also work on developing and designing special equipment for hearing loss prevention.
Audiologist Salary and Career Path
The median salary for Audiologists is approximately $69,720 per year or $33.52 per hour.
Individuals interested in this profession should also expect faster than average growth in the coming years.
Projections for this profession state that the job outlook is expected to increase by 34% through the year 2022.
However, because the openings in this profession are currently low, the actual growth will only create about 4,300 jobs.
Individuals who are interested in helping people and are fascinated with hearing and the complications of the ear canal will be great at workings towards being an Audiologist.
Because these professionals work in helping people regain their hearing and provide insight into new technology to do so, these professionals are highly valued specialists in the medical field.
Their work not only helps improve other aspects in health care, but is extremely valuable to the patients they see on a regular basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does an audiologist do?
An audiologist’s primary role is to determine if a person suffers from hearing loss and to recommend different interventions for rehabilitation.
In order to do that successfully, audiologists have extensive knowledge of human auditory systems and sound production and are trained to diagnose and treat hearing and balance problems.
They also study anatomy, physiology, acoustic, electrophysiology, neurology, vestibular function and other fields related to the auditory and vestibular systems.
As an audiologist, your work will take place in the offices of physicians and hospitals but you can also travel between multiple facilities like schools and other healthcare institutions to prescribe, test, fit and dispense hearing aids.
If you wonder what skills you need, good communication, compassion for your patients, good bedside manners, problem-solving skills are the most important ones.
You will be working with patients from all age categories, from infants to teens, adults and the elderly.
Most audiologists work full time, many on weekends or evenings to accommodate their patients’ schedules.
How much does an audiologist make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for audiologists was $75,920 in May 2018.
Salaries vary depending on many factors, including the audiologist’s experience.
Those with only 1-3 years of experience in the field usually make $10,000 less than the average salary.
How much does it cost to become an audiologist?
If you want to become an audiologist, you need a bachelor’s degree and a doctor of audiology degree.
All states require audiologists to be licensed but licensing requirements vary from state to state.
On average, the total tuition cost for an audiology program is around $100,000 but graduate programs in this field can cost anywhere between less than $10,000 and more than $40,000 a year, depending on the school you choose.
Add to this the cost of your bachelor’s degree and you will reach the total cost of your training.
Bachelor’s degree programs can cost anywhere between less than $10,000 and more than $50,000 a year depending on the school you choose and the program itself.
What is the demand for audiologists?
The demand for audiologists is projected to grow in the following years.
The baby-boom generation will continue to grow older and hearing loss increases as people age, so the demand for audiology services will grow.
According to BLS, the employment of audiologists is expected to grow 16 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.
How long does it take to become an audiologist?
If you want to become an audiologist you must have a doctor of audiology degree, which will take you around four years to complete.
As an audiology student, you will work a lot in a clinical setting, especially in your final year of training.
Before your doctoral degree, you need a bachelor’s degree.
So, if we also take into account the years spent working to get your bachelor’s degree, the conclusion is that you will need around 8 years of study in total.