Have you ever considered becoming an audiologist? We’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know about how to become an audiologist in the US.
When it comes to audiology, there is often a bit of confusion over what the actual practice means. Is an audiologist the same as an ENT? Do audiologists attend medical school? All valid questions, but don’t fret! Here we will answer all your questions about audiology.
In this complete step-by-step guide, we’ll go over what audiologists do, how to become an audiologist, and discuss job prospects. If you’re applying to an audiology program and are looking for guidance, we encourage you to set up a free consultation with an experienced admissions advisor at any time.
Let’s get started!
To understand what audiologists do, let’s go over the study of audiology. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), audiology is the field of medicine that studies, prevents, and remediates hearing disorders and loss.
Audiologists have developed various devices and techniques to rehabilitate patients with hearing and balance issues. Their primary focus is to work with patients to assess hearing disorders, then go through the process of diagnosis, treatment, and (if necessary) hearing rehabilitation. These treatments can range from simple hearing aids all the way to surgical implants.
Audiologists also work with patients who are predisposed to hearing loss issues to prevent future complications. Essentially, audiologists assist patients at all stages of hearing loss.
Now that we’ve gone over what audiology is, let’s discuss the steps to become an audiologist. Each step is mandatory unless otherwise stated.
The very first step to becoming an audiologist is to earn a bachelor’s degree with courses similar to pre-med. You’ll have to obtain a solid foundation in anatomy, human biology, physiology, physics, and math before moving forward.
According to US News, the best schools for Audiology are the following:
Make sure that whichever major you choose allows you to take the necessary courses. Some examples of majors that will help you get into an AuD program include (but are not limited to) audiology, biology, or speech pathology. Your major is less important than your demonstrated understanding of critical subjects.
Most students choose to apply for a doctorate program in audiology (AuD) directly after completing a bachelor’s degree in a related field. However, you may also take a master’s degree first to help you get into an AuD program, especially if the program you have your eyes on is prestigious.
Here are some of the typical requirements for admission to an AuD program. AuD’s are not considered traditional medical school programs - therefore, no MCAT is required for admission.
AuD programs are typically four years in length. The first two years of your program will mainly focus on foundational coursework, assessments of key comprehension skills, and some clinical observations. The final two years of your program will consist mainly of clinical experience and opportunities for hands-on learning.
Some AuD programs also offer the opportunity to choose a specialization, which you’ll be able to apply in your final years. Choosing a specialization will allow you to practice in the specific area of audiology you are interested in and set you up to begin a career in that area more quickly after graduation.
Once you’ve completed your AuD program, you’re ready to take the Praxis Examination in Audiology. The Praxis Audiology Exam is administered every year by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is a mandatory step for certification in audiology.
The main function of this exam is to test your ability to make informed decisions in a clinical setting, so clinical experience is necessary for proper preparation. You can register for the Praxis Audiology Exam after completing your AuD program.
Much like medical licensure, each state has its own certification requirements for audiologists. One of the common state-by-state certification differences is that each US state has individual passing score requirements for the Praxis Audiology Exam. To find state-specific requirements, take a look at the ASHA’s website and check your state’s healthcare regulations.
Congratulations, you’re almost ready to start practicing audiology! The final step is to obtain audiology certification. Professional certification is administered by the following organizations:
You don’t have to take all of these certifications, but the more qualifications you can obtain - the better.
Let’s take a look at typical audiologist salaries and career outlook. Generally speaking, audiology is considered a satisfying career to those who are passionate about it. According to US News, audiology allows for decent flexibility, and has an average job-stress level compared to other jobs in the US.
Audiology is ranked #22 in the US News Best Health Care Jobs rankings and #79 in their overall 100 Best Jobs rankings. The best job rankings are based on a number of factors, including salary, benefits, job satisfaction, and more.
In the US, audiologists make an average salary of $81,030 annually. The top paid 25% in the US make an average of $102,220 per year, while the 25% on the low end make around $68,940.
Audiologist salary can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including education, years of experience, and location. Forbes reports the top paying states for audiology are as follows:
If you’re considering becoming an audiologist, now is an excellent time to get started. ASHA reports that the audiology profession has a projected growth rate of about 10% over the next decade. This is significantly faster than the average growth rate (5%) for all occupations in the US.
Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about how to become an audiologist.
No, you do not need to go to medical school to become an audiologist. To become an audiologist, you must earn a doctoral degree in audiology (AuD) which is similar to a PhD. That is why an audiologist can still be referred to as a doctor.
An audiologist may be called a doctor, but it may not be the type of doctor you think. Audiologists do not need medical school to practice, so they typically do not have an MD or DO degree or a traditional medical license. However, audiologists need to complete a doctoral degree in audiology (AuD), which is why an audiologist can still be called a doctor.
To become an audiologist, you must complete a bachelor’s degree, a four-year AuD degree, and complete the necessary certifications and examinations to practice within their state.
Audiologist job satisfaction is average to slightly above average. The job offers above average pay and good benefits, as well as decent flexibility. Overall, audiology is an excellent choice if you are passionate about the area of study.
Yes, audiologists are in demand - especially geriatric audiologists. Audiologist jobs are projected to grow by 10% in the next decade, according to ASHA.
Audiology is a fascinating field of study that combines many fields of interest and types of treatments. If you are interested in audiology, you’ll be happy to learn that job satisfaction is decent and the salary is well above average in the US.
If you’re someone who wants to practice in a healthcare field without attending medical school, audiology may be a good option for you. If you’re applying to an audiology program and are looking for assistance on your interview, essays, or any other application piece - we’ve got you covered! Consider scheduling a meeting with an academic advisor today to help you get into your dream program.