Audiology technologists help audiologists in their day-to-day work. They aid in the repair and testing of hearing aids, but may also perform clerical tasks within the setting of an audiology clinic.
Audiology technologists are more commonly referred to as audiology technicians, audiologist's assistants, hearing aid technicians, or hearing aid specialists. These assistants and technicians work with audiologists, performing clinical and administrative tasks. Most are trained on the job, although courses or degree programs in speech or audiology can be helpful.
|Required Education||On-the-job training or an associate's or bachelor's degree in audiology or speech language pathology|
|Projected Job Growth ( 2014-2024)||27.2% for hearing aid specialists*|
|Mean Annual Salary (2015)||$52,850 for hearing aid specialists*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Audiology technicians are hired to increase patients' access to care by performing some audiologic services that do not require the skill level of a licensed audiologist. This allows the audiologist to perform the more skilled tasks of diagnosing and treating patients.
Job Duties of an Audiology Technician
Job duties for this position vary widely depending upon the size of the office, number of employees, and needs of the audiologist. Duties can include repairing hearing aids, preparing patients for testing, and maintaining equipment to assisting the audiologist in clinical research. Office tasks may include record-keeping, answering phones, and other administrative and clerical support functions.
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Requirements for Becoming an Audiology Technician
Guidelines developed by the American Academy of Audiology recommend that audiology technicians have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent (www.audiology.org). Further training in audiology should be provided by a college, university, or by an audiologist who will supervise the technician.
Although there are no formal training programs designed specifically for audiology technicians, an associate's or bachelor's degree in audiology, hearing sciences, or speech language pathology provide a background in the field. These programs provide coursework in speech development, hearing, phonetics, communication disorders, and speech pathology. Associate's degree programs last two years, while bachelor's degree programs last four years and include general education subjects.
Job Outlook for Audiology Technicians
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual salary among hearing aid specialists was $52,850 in May 2015. The BLS also notes that employment of hearing aid specialists was projected to increase about 27.2% between 2014 and 2024, which is a much faster-than-average rate.
Audiology technicians must have good clerical skills as well as excellent technical skills when working with hearing aids. They must work closely with patients and audiologists, so interpersonal and communication skills are important as well.