Audiologist: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become an audiologist. Learn about job duties, education requirements, licensing and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Health Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Audiologist?

Audiologists evaluate patients and diagnose hearing problems. They may also diagnose a patient with balance issues or other ear-related medical conditions. Audiologists perform tests, review the results carefully, discuss the results with the patient and then present treatment options. The audiologist may also make treatment recommendations to the patient's regular physician. While audiologists may work with patients who have a suspected ear-related issue or suspected hearing loss, they also perform routine checks on infants and children.

Degree Required Doctoral degree
Education Field of Study Audiology
Key Skills Hearing and balance testing, evaluation, and treatment; emotionally supportive to clients
Licensure Required All states require licensure
Job Growth (2014-2024) 29%*
Average Salary (2015) $77,420*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Would My Job Duties Be as an Audiologist?

As the root word suggests, an audiologist's work primarily deals with sound. As a specialist in this field, you'll work with patients who have experienced hearing loss or other ear-related issues, such as balance problems. Using various forms of medical equipment, you'll perform tests to discover the root of the problems and create treatments to help clients prevent, cope with and manage their hearing issues.

In addition, when treatments aren't able to fully correct the problems or make substantial positive impacts, you'll need to counsel clients to psychologically and emotionally adjust to their hearing loss situations. You could also complete similar tests, evaluations and treatments when working with clients who have trouble with balance.

What Are the Requirements to Enter This Field?

All states require audiologists to have a Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree and license. Doctoral programs last 4 years and include courses in anatomy and physiology, genetics, communication, treatment of hearing and balance disorders, pharmacology and business. You'll need to complete an externship or clinical practicum as well. Many states and credentialing organizations require that in order to obtain a license, you earn your degree from a school or program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation.

Additionally, some states require that you obtain a separate hearing aid dispenser license or endorsement in addition to your audiologist license. In many states, you'll also need to participate in continuing education activities or courses in order to maintain your license. In some cases, states accept board certification testing in lieu of a licensure exam.

How Can I Advance in My Career?

A track record of successful results with patients, continual growth through education and plenty of experience should help you advance into management, research or self-employment. Earning board certification through organizations, such as the American Board of Audiology or ASHA, could also demonstrate your competence. These associations typically include search functionality that allows the public to find certified practitioners in their area.

What Is the Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of audiologists was expected to grow much faster than average, with an increase of 29% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). An increasing elderly population, advancements in hearing aid technology and an emphasis on early detection of hearing problems in infants, were anticipated to contribute to job growth. However, because the field is smaller than others, job openings will be correspondingly few. Being willing to relocate might increase your employment prospects. The BLS reported in May 2015 that the average annual wage for audiologists was $77,420.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Optometrists, physical therapist and speech-language pathologists all have professional similarities to audiologists. Optometrists need a doctoral degree, and they test, treat and diagnose patients with vision problems. Like audiologists, they need to be capable of performing medical tests, assessing the results and recommending treatment options. Physical therapists also perform tests on patients and assess their results. They focus on issues related to gross motor movement and may work with individuals who have a disability or have been affected by illness or injury. They may develop a treatment plan and implement that plan. They also need a doctoral degree. Speech-language pathologists need a master's degree. They focus on working with individuals with speech-related issues or problems swallowing. Like audiologists, their work involves assessing patients and diagnosing their condition. Speech-language pathologists may also develop treatment plans for their patients.

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