Audiologists examine, diagnose and treat hearing and balance disorders. Read about audiology degree programs, typical job duties and professional certification. Find out whether online learning options are available for aspiring audiologists.
How Do I Major in Audiology?
To become an audiologist, it is now generally required that you earn a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.). Previously, audiologists could become licensed to practice with a master's degree, but the standards have changed. As an undergraduate, you can complete a pre-professional major, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Communication Disorders or a B.S. in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology. Any of these majors will prepare you to apply for a 4-year Au.D. program to become a licensed audiologist.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's and doctoral degrees are available; doctorate is required to become an audiologist|
|Common Courses||Pharmacology, genetics, practice development, Cochlear implants, industrial and recreational audiology|
|Online Availability||Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) programs may not be completed fully online, since clinical work is required, but hybrid programs are available|
|Credentialing||Licensure is required in all states; certification is available through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)|
|Potential Work Environments||Medical clinics, doctor's offices, government agencies, research facilities|
|Median Salary (2018)||$75,920* (for audiologists)|
|Job Outlook (2016-26)||21% growth* (for all audiologists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Will I Study?
As a communication disorders major, you will engage in multidisciplinary studies. You will learn about sounds, speech, the anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing, psychology and a variety of speech and hearing disorders. Once you enter an Au.D. program, your coursework will become more specialized. For this professional doctorate, significant research and a dissertation are not required. You will learn about all aspects of your profession by taking extensive coursework that includes the topics listed below:
- Auditory and vestibular pathologies
- Pediatric and geriatric audiology
- Cochlear implants
- Business and practice development
- Industrial and recreational audiology
- Deaf education
Can I Earn an Au.D. Online?
To become a licensed audiologist, you will need to perform a significant period of clinical experience, and some courses may have a clinical component. Therefore, it's not possible to earn an Au.D. exclusively online. However, at some schools, you may take several courses online and complete a hybrid program. Also, many undergraduate pre-professional courses in communication disorders are available online. In fact, you can take all the 'leveling' courses, or prerequisites for a doctoral program, online.
How Can I Become a Certified Audiologist?
Graduate programs in audiology are accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA), which is governed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Many states require that you graduate from an accredited program. As of March 2016, there were 74 Au.D. programs accredited by the CAA (www.asha.org).
Licensure is mandatory for audiologists, and the specific requirements for earning a license vary by state. Earning a Certificate of Clinical Competency in Audiology (CCC-A) through ASHA may in many cases also satisfy state requirements. For this credential, you must complete an accredited program with over 75 semester hours of graduate coursework and a full-time supervised practicum of a minimum of one year's duration. In addition, passing a national certification exam is required.
What Can I Do as an Audiologist?
Audiologists work in a variety of settings. These include private practice, pediatrician's offices, state-funded facilities, medical clinics, public school systems and universities. As an audiologist, you may also work in industry and manufacturing to help prevent on-the-job hearing injuries. Research and teaching is a career option if you pursue a Ph.D.