Audiology is a growing field that appeals to recent graduates of medical professional programs. Audiologists typically work as researchers for hospitals and clinics or as contracted specialists for large businesses and manufacturing companies. They seek out new approaches to identifying hearing problems, and they develop new techniques for treating and resolving these problems. They may use problem-specific solutions, such as hearing aids or amplification systems. At the professional level, they typically work with little or no supervision.
Audiologists receive handsome salary packages. They may work in private practice or as contracted specialists. They typically have a background in speech and language pathology. They must be certified and licensed in their field. As part of their overall professional development, they must enroll in continuing education coursework. As the baby boomers retire and the need for hearing specialists increase, audiologists can expect to earn as high as $98,000 working as a contracted specialist for the private sector.
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Reasons to Choose an Audiologist Job
Before we share the average salary of an audiologist and ways to embark on this career, we’d like to touch on why people would enter this career in the first place. First, this fascinating career uses both personal and educational skills you’ve developed throughout your lifetime, so you’re constantly able to feel inspired. But the most popular reason people get into audiology is to change people’s lives. Experiencing hearing difficulties can affect every part of your life and it’s hard for most to deal with. But as a professional audiologist, you get to bring a smile to someone’s face and help them to live a better and healthier life.
Another reason is to give back to the community and always feel like you’re helping someone. This career isn’t just about profits or making a name for yourself, but improving people’s lives. There’s never a moment when your role won’t be about that so you will never get caught in a trap of feeling like your job has no real purpose. As a result, you get to go home at the end of the day knowing you’ve completely transformed people’s wellbeing.
Being an audiologist isn’t always a fun job, but it’s a challenging one. There’s no time or reason to get bored because you’ll always be engaging in an activity to help others. You get to use incredible technology to test people’s hearings and play a part in the evolution of science. Finally, you’ll work with a variety of people of all ages and get the chance to personally make a difference to everything that person once knew.
Audiology Salary Overview
The specific salary for audiologists is determined by a number of factors. Audiologists must have a Doctor of Audiology degree (Au.D.). They must also have completed coursework in pharmacology, physiology, and anatomy. They must have graduated from an accredited program in audiology. Audiologists who are licensed and who have more experience working for the private sector earn more than their counterparts who work for the federal government.
Other factors come in to play. Entry-level salaries and salary caps are based upon experience and the industry in which the audiologist works. Audiologists who work in private practice earn slightly more than those who work in the private sector, but those who work for the private industry earn higher than those who work for hospitals and clinics.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for this career is $62,020. Contracted audiologists earn more than private practice audiologists. The lowest ten percent who are recent graduates entering the field earn a minimum salary of $40,360, with the highest ten percent earning $98,880. Audiologists are also typically union members.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Certification and professional organizations require audiologists to be licensed. They must have a working and continuing knowledge of audiology methods and procedures. In general, audiologists provide solutions to clients who struggle with hearing and balancing sounds. They test and diagnose hearing and sound problems of their clients. They evaluate hearing difficulties by analyzing the difference between one sound a client hears and another sound the client doesn’t hear. They record and summarize their data and submit reports to health professionals for treatment options.
Audiologists also provide research and submit plans for legal compensation for contracting organizations for problems that closely relate to hearing loss. They study the effects of business noise and provide solutions for reduction procedures. They work closely with the speech and language pathologists and recommend surgery options, fit hearing devices, and prescribe other types of hearing aids. Audiologists typically work a standard work week. In private practice, they are subject to work at night and on the weekends. As contracted specialists, they may be required to travel to other clinics and affiliate organizations.
The career outlook for recent graduates is very positive. The demand for audiologists is increasing as baby boomers begin to age and need hearing equipment. In addition, most statutes require that babies be tested for their hearing right after birth. This proves advantageous for audiologists who work as specialists for hospitals.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
Recent graduates entering the field must have a bachelor’s degree in general education coursework. They must also complete supplementary studies in biology, physiology, communication, and psychology. Other undergraduate courses include mathematics, chemistry, and English. In addition, audiologists must have completed advanced coursework in an accredited program in audiology studies. Graduate studies may include enrollment in anatomy and audiology.
Audiologists must also have some experience working in the field. This is easily attained by recent graduates working as an entry-level speech pathologist, communicating with clients on a daily basis about hearing difficulties and their connection to speech and language. Recent graduates who are familiar with American Sign Language (ASL) have a greater chance of securing employment as entry-level speech pathologists.
In all cases, to be an audiologist requires a high degree of patience.
Audiologists are required to be certified in their field. They must be licensed professionals. Each state requires audiologists to have a master’s degree in the field. As the field gains even greater acceptance, a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) will become the state requirement.
To become certified, audiologists must take the Praxis Series. It is an examination offered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Audiologists must pass the exam and perform at a minimum of 300 hours of clinical work. Once they receive a passing score, audiologists receive a license which must be renewed every four years. Each state has different requirements. Most licensing programs require audiologists to enroll in continuing education coursework as a condition of renewal. In addition, some states require a different license for audiologists to prescribe hearing devices. Most health providers and insurance companies require audiologists to have a license before they pay out claims.
Audiologists may pursue two certifications. They may complete a certification program through the American Board of Audiology (ABA) and/or through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The ABA requires audiologists to have a doctorate, to sit for a national examination, and to serve 2,000 hours of close mentorship with a supervising audiologist. The ABA license is renewable every three years after audiologists complete approximately 45 hours of continuing education coursework. The ASHA offers a certification program called the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A). The certificate requires audiologists to have a graduate degree, preferably a doctorate. Audiologists must also have supervised practical experience, postgraduate studies research and coursework, and a passing score on the Praxis examination. The examination must be in audiology. Most states allow the certifications as a substitute for other licensing conditions.
Characteristics of a Good Audiologist
Perhaps you’re ready and motivated to become an audiologist, but what are the key characteristics that make you good at your job? We’ve listed the top qualities to look for in yourself. Don’t worry if you aren’t prepared right now because you can soon develop these skills.
Having excellent communication with your patients is one of the most important things that makes a good audiologist. If a client is visiting you, they are likely having difficulty hearing which can be a stressful and upsetting experience for them. Plus, they’ll probably have a number of questions you’re responsible for answering. Now, we’re not just talking about speaking at a loud volume so patients can correctly hear you, but this goes into more depth about communication the necessary information they need to hear. Are you telling them all the facts they should know? After meeting with you, do they have a clear understanding of their condition and are aware of the steps to follow? Your role is to help others digest any confusing information so they are informed and feel more comfortable about their experience.
Patience and Understanding
Other personal qualities you’ll have to demonstrate are patience and understanding. Your patients may be distressed, unsettled and nervous about their experience. Hearing loss can have a huge impact on people’s lives and confidence so it’s necessary that you understand this effect on them and their close ones.
Remain patient while you’re talking and listening to your patients. Nobody likes to feel like their voice isn’t being heard so take the time to listen to their needs and don’t rush them. It can be difficult to find the perfect balance between remaining patient and working efficiently, but when you’re with a patient, your time and head should be with them so they feel important at that moment in time.
Provide Healthy Solutions
Of course, people visit an audiologist for guidance and support with their hearing problems so it’s your responsibility to use your analytical skills to interpret the results and find the best solution for your patient. At the end of the day, people want to experience an improvement in their hearing so it’s all down to how you can critically analyze the results as well as undergo the correct procedures in order to get them.
There’s much complexity with hearing difficulties, so you need to be able to look through your different options to find the best solution for your patient. Consider their individual needs and preferences to make the right decision for them.
Excellent People Skills
Finally, you want your patients to feel comfortable and content in your presence. Making them feel comfortable and respected is a huge part of your job since this can be a sensitive issue for many patients. They don’t want to be there, so it’s down to you to make their experience as painless as possible.
A good audiologist knows how to make others feel welcome with a smile, body language, and small talk. Although you’re not their counselor, you want to provide a personal experience for them so they feel taken care of and respected.
Audiologists may join the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). ASHA represents approximately 14,000 professionals in the fields of speech and language pathology. They are an advocacy and membership organization. They monitor standards that concern the field of audiology and speech-language pathology.
The Future of Audiology
This is a fascinating and inspiring career to be a part of and no two days will be the same. But what does the future of audiology look like? Thankfully, we live in an exciting time where technology has never been better and we rely on it to improve our health. First, many people are reluctant to visit an audiologist because of the price involved. However, it’s looking like the industry will introduce more affordable devices and payment plans to help people hear better.
Also, technology is advancing and improving to help patients feel more comfortable during their scans as well as allow audiologists to collect data and analyze results properly. One article even predicted that patients might be able to purchase over-the-counter hearing aids that they can obtain right there and then without any long delays. Plus, such equipment will be more readily available to others.
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