Job Definition for an Audiologist
Audiologists are ear specialists. Typically, these professionals work with patients who have problems with hearing, balance or other ear-related problems. Audiologists typically work in health care settings, although many also work in schools or educational environments. Common duties of these workers include identifying, assessing and treating hearing problems and balance disorders, discussing symptoms with patients, documenting treatment, ordering equipment and hiring employees. Much of their work is centered on the need for hearing aids. They must be familiar with the latest diagnostic tools available in order to determine both the problem and the best treatment option. Additionally, audiologists may be responsible for determining the level of emotional or mental stress the hearing loss may be causing a patient and referring them to the appropriate resources to alleviate the stress.
|Education||Doctoral degree in audiology|
|Job Skills||Great communication and bedside manner, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and compassion for patients|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$75,920 (for audiologists)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||21% (for audiologists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A doctoral degree in audiology is required of all individuals who want to become audiologists. The graduate program typically requires four years to complete; applicants must hold a bachelor's degree to qualify, preferably in a medically-related field. The curriculum required by an audiology program typically includes genetics, anatomy, physiology, communication development, pharmacology and diagnosis courses. Most audiology programs include an internship or another clinical practice opportunity.
Additionally, audiologists must be licensed in all states following the completion of their formal education. Licensing requirements vary by state. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offers a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology. The American Board of Audiology may also grant certification. Although certification by either organization may not be required, in some areas, holding one or both credentials may meet the licensing requirements mandated by certain states.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that audiologists needed the following skills:
- Excellent bedside manner
- Ability to communicate well with their patients, despite potential hearing issues
- Compassion and patience to make a patient feel comfortable
- Critical-thinking and problem-solving skills
- Detailed personality with excellent record keeping skills
Employment and Salary Outlook
According to the BLS, the audiology field was expected to grow 21% from 2016-2026, which was significantly faster than average. Because the field is so specialized, however, growth will result in a relatively small number of jobs over the decade. The same source published that the median annual salary for audiologists was $75,920 in May 2018.