How to Become an Audiologist

Training and Education Jobs and Salaries Audiology Programs

All States require audiologists to be licensed or registered. Licensure or registration requires at least a master degree in audiology however, a first professional, or doctoral, degree is becoming increasingly necessary. Individuals must have at least a master degree in audiology to qualify for a job however, a first professional or doctoral degree is becoming more common. As of early 2008, eight States required a doctoral degree or its equivalent.

The professional doctorate in audiology (Au.D.) requires approximately 8 years of university training and supervised professional experience. In early 2007, the Accreditation Commission of Audiology Education accredited more than 50 Au.D. programs and the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) accredited over 70 graduate programs in audiology. Graduation from an accredited program may be required to obtain a license in some States.

Requirements for admission to programs in audiology include courses in English, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and communication. Graduate coursework in audiology includes anatomy; physiology; physics; genetics; normal and abnormal communication development; auditory, balance, and neural systems assessment and treatment; diagnosis and treatment; pharmacology; and ethics.

Audiologists are regulated by licensure or registration in all 50 States. Forty-one States have continuing education requirements for licensure renewal, the number of hours required varies by State. Twenty States and the District of Columbia also require audiologists to have a Hearing Aid Dispenser license to dispense hearing aids; for the remaining 30 States, an audiologist license is all that is needed to dispense hearing aids. Third-party payers generally require practitioners to be licensed to qualify for reimbursement.

States set requirements for education, mandating a master or doctoral degree, as well as other requirements. For information on the specific requirements of your State, contact the licensing board. In some States, specific certifications from professional associations satisfy some or all of the requirements for State licensure. Certification can be obtained from two certifying bodies. Audiologists can earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; they may also be certified through the American Board of Audiology.

Audiologists should be able to effectively communicate diagnostic test results, diagnoses, and proposed treatments in a manner easily understood by their patients. They must be able to approach problems objectively and provide support to patients and their families. Because patient progress may be slow, patience, compassion, and good listening skills are necessary. It is important for audiologists to be aware of new diagnostic and treatment technologies. Most audiologists participate in continuing education courses to learn new methods and technologies. With experience, audiologists can advance to open their own private practice. Audiologist working in hospitals and clinics can advance to management or supervisory positions.