AudiologistCareers where workers interact one-on-one with customers are very rewarding. Audiologists work individually with clients, utilizing state of the art technology to improve their customers' hearing. Modern computer controlled hearing aids are more effective and user friendly than traditional ones. Former President Bill Clinton, America's most famous patient, uses computer controlled hearing aids. Audiologists spend a lot of time away from their offices, working in hospitals, schools, or hearing aid stores, yet another advantage to a career in audiology. Some audiologists design and develop new hearing aid technology.
Audiology is considered an under the radar career, careers few people pursue, so more job opportunities exist for audiologists. Lower salaried ear technicians perform many of the similar duties as audiologists, so aging baby boomer populations and increasing demand to test children in special education programs will lead to average job growth for audiologists. There are about 13,000 audiologists nationwide. To work as an audiologist, a potential candidate must earn a doctor of audiology degree.
Audiologist Career Overview
Audiologists specialize in balance and hearing disorders. They diagnose hearing, neural, and balance disorders in patients from all age groups and recommend solutions to correct or cope with problems. To diagnose and correct balance and other hearing related problems, audiologists utilize computers, audiometers, and other hearing equipment. After diagnostic tests are completed, audiologists review test results along with other medical data to determine treatment options.
Loud sounds, aging, birth defects, reactions to medicine, and viruses can cause hearing problems. To improve or eradicate hearing disorders, audiologists can recommend the following treatments: inserting cochlear implants or other devices, instruction in new communication techniques, clearing obstructions in the ear canal, and hearing loss therapy. Additionally, audiologists select amplification and other hearing aid technology best suited to alleviate patients' hearing problems.
At audiology centers, audiologists can treat patients' exclusively by themselves which includes keeping exam, treatment, and progress records. Audiologists at some clinics work with teams of other medical professionals, especially those who exam and treat patients' struggling with balance problems.
Certain audiologists are trained to work exclusively with older people, kids, or people that require specialized care. Many specialize in protecting workers from hearing injuries at work by monitoring loud noises in factories and implementing safety programs.
Audiologists employed in private industry often have human resource, administrative, supply procurement, and record keeping responsibilities. Some audiologists specialize in researching balance and hearing problems to develop new treatment procedures while some work exclusively designing new hearing improvement equipment.
Education and Training
All 50 states in the nation regulate licensure of audiologists; although specific requirements will vary by State. At minimum a master's degree in audiology is required to become an audiologist, but earning a doctoral degree is becoming increasling vital. In 2009, 18 States required a doctoral degree or equivalent education in order for new applicants to practice audiology. Most doctoral degree programs in audiology last about 4 years and result in the Au.D. designation.
Requirements for admission to audiology programs include courses in English, physics, mathematics, chemistry, psychology, biology and communication. Earning a 4-year bachelors degree the teaches these subjects (english, physcis, math, biology, etc.) will prepare you to apply to an audiology program. Graduate coursework in audiology typically includes anatomy; physics; genetics; physiology; normal and abnormal communication development; auditory, balance, and neural systems assessment and treatment; diagnosis and pharmacology; treatment; and ethics.
In 2008 Audiologists held about 12,800. Over 60% of all audiologist jobs were in healthcare facilities—physician or healthcare practitioner offices, including audiologists; outpatient care centers and hospitals. About 14 percent of audiologist jobs were held in educational services or some nature. Other audiologists jobs were in personal care stores and health service centers in State and local governments.
Job growth for audiologists is predicted to remain on pace with the growth of other industries until 2014. Since the elderly frequently experience hearing problems, the aging baby boomer populations will likely result in more people struggling with hearing disorders. Moreover, improvements in medical technology which is already resulting in higher infant and trauma patient survival rates, will likely result in an increased demand for audiologists to treat hearing problems associated with accidents and birth defects. Increased concern about preventing and treating hearing problems in babies will be another factor leading to demand for more audiologists since a majority of state legislators require doctors to check infants for hearing problems.
Demand will also increase for audiologists working in schools since enrolment continues to increase, including students with special needs. The need for audiologists to work in the private sector should also increase, in addition to contracted audiologists providing services to convalescent centers and hospitals.
However, future job opportunities for audiologists will be steadied because many insurance companies are limiting reimbursements for audiology services. Moreover, raised training and educational standards could decrease the number of people beginning audiology careers, and many doctors are now hiring ear technicians to carry out some of the duties performed by audiologists. Since few people currently work as audiologists, job openings resulting from those leaving the field will be minimal.
Median (8 years of experience): $62,200
25-75 percentile (8 or more years of experience): $57,700-81,200
Now that audiologists are required to earn the Au.D. and, or the C.C.C.-A certifications, salaries can exceed $85,000.
Submit a Resource