Before we can talk about what you need to do to become an audiologist, we need to discuss what exactly it is that audiologists do. An audiologist is a professional who specialized in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of hearing and balance issues. They have the capability and resources to aid those who are suffering everything from hearing loss to dizziness through a personalized treatment plan specific to their needs and goals.
Most audiologists work within a hospital or school system, although there are countless opportunities to work for a private practice or specialized audiology clinic dependent on your interests and certifications.
As of 2007, aspiring audiologists were now required to obtain a doctor of audiology (AuD) degree, which typically takes about four years to complete. Many AuD programs are not particular about the major you earned your bachelor’s degree in, as long as you have completed certain pre-requisites set by the program you chose. Upon the completion of your doctoral degree, you will also need to acquire the appropriate licensure by the state you wish to practice in.
The required courses will vary by school and AuD program, but generally, you can expect to take some sort of variation of an Anatomy and Physiology course, Speech and Hearing Science, Speech and Language Development, Psychoacoustics, as well as many others.
Aside from your time spent studying in and out of the classroom, you can also expect your first two years of earning your AuD degree to be spent observing and completing your clinical orientation. During the last two years of earning your AuD degree, you will have more opportunities to gain hands-on experience.
Although it is not required of you, you have even more opportunities to further your education and create even more career opportunities for yourself by completing the Cisco Certified Network Exam, otherwise known as the CCNA exam. You may be wondering how this would make potential employers more inclined to hire you, and that is because having a CCNA certification would make you an invaluable staff member. Have a staff member onsite who is qualified to diagnose and correct technological difficulties with the various Cisco products used daily.
Licensing And Certification
Upon the completion of your degree, you will now need to pass the national licensing exam for audiology. In order to meet the criteria needed to obtain your license, you must complete between 300 and 375 hours of clinical experience that has been supervised by a licensed professional, and complete nine additional months of professional experience as a post-graduate student.
Although you’ve completed all the necessary classes and observations, it is crucial to your success and future licensure that you actively continue your education and familiarize yourself with the new advances and practices in your field.
Beyond your continued education, you may want to consider further licensing and certification. By obtaining certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), like the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) or Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), you have the opportunity to become a certified member of the American Speech-Language Association as well as the American Board of Audiology, opening you up to even more career opportunities with facilities such as Hearing Health USA. Since 1952 ASHA has been certifying audiology professionals based entirely on their skill and knowledge.
Hopefully, the information provided has given you some insight into the steps you need to take in order to fulfill your dreams of becoming a certified and licensed audiologist. Keep in mind that the things we have discussed here are generalized— certification and licensure requirements vary by state. Be sure to keep up to date with the requirements for your state.