Audiologist Job Description
When people have trouble with their hearing, they visit an audiologist for help. Audiologists specialize in diagnosing and treating problems with hearing, as well as balance issues caused by problems with the ears.
To test hearing, audiologists use equipment to measure the volume at which a person can hear sound, as well as the sounds people can hear. These test help audiologists identify the extent of the damage to the ears, which enables them to start diagnosing the cause.
Once the cause of ear loss is diagnosed, audiologists have many different methods of treat hearing problems. Sometimes treatment can be as simple as cleaning excessive wax from ear canals. Other times, hearing aids and cochlear implants must be used.
In cases where hearing loss is permanent, audiologists help their patients adapt to a life without sound. In some instances they provide counseling, and in other cases refer their patients to professionals who can help them learn sign language or lip reading methods.
Most audiologists run a general practice where they work with all types of patients, but some choose to specialize. For example, one audiologist may specialize in working with the elderly, while another one may work exclusively with children.
Some audiologists work as part of a group practice, while others run their own practice. Running a practice can be very rewarding, but it also requires a great deal of work to keep a business going. Hiring employees, paying bills, ordering equipment, and marketing their services are just a few of the tasks that audiologists have to do if they want to run their own practice.
Being a good audiologists requires strong attention to detail, as well as the ability to think critically. Some hearing problems can be relatively simple to diagnose, while others require a great deal of patience and critical thought.
Work Environment and Schedule
Audiologists work in a variety of healthcare facilities, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, and audiology clinics.
The work schedule for audiologists varies depending on the environment they work in. Those who work in doctor’s offices may enjoy a consistent schedule between Monday and Friday, while those who work in hospitals may be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.
Some audiologists work on a contract basis, meaning that they bounce from office to office as needed. Doing contract work can be a great opportunity for those who like to meet new people and travel regularly.
Nearly all audiologists work full time.
How to Become an Audiologist
The first step to becoming an audiologist is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Audiologists come from all sorts of undergraduate backgrounds, but it can be very beneficial to major in a science like biology. A strong background in life sciences can help you get into graduate school, and will give you a nice foundation on which to build.
After earning a bachelor’s degree, you will need to earn a doctoral degree in audiology. A doctoral is degree is required to earn the license that you will need to practice. Doctoral degrees in audiology normally last four years, and cover topics including physics, genetics, pharmacology, ethics, and anatomy.
As part of graduate school, students work in a clinical practice under the supervision of an experienced audiologist. By working in a practice, students are able to learn how to work with patients, how to run an office, and how to diagnose problems with the ears.
Before enrolling in a graduate program, you should make sure that it’s accredited by the American Board of Audiology. In some states, graduating from an accredited program is required to work in this occupation.
All states require audiologists to be licensed. The exact licensing requirements vary from state to state, but you can find the specific requirements for your state on your state’s audiologist licensing board website.
For those seeking a certification in their field, the American Board of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offer certifications. Depending on your state, earning one of these certifications can satisfy the requirements needed to become licensed.
There are currently 13,000 audiologists in the United States, with 560 new audiologist job openings created each year.
Audiologist jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Audiologist salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most audiologists make between $55,100 – $83,500 per year, or $26.48 – $40.16 per hour.