The Scoop on Audiologists

Audiology is something a lot of people haven't even heard of.

However, you can imagine what an audiologist does and how an audiologist helps people. The profession is VERY small. (And by very small I mean 12,000 people held this job in the ENTIRE U.S. in 2006 and the profession is only expected to grow to 13,000 by 2016!) If you are interested in hearing and ear issues this might be the route for you, even if the job outlook is not stellar. (The author knows an Audiologist, and she's very cool!)

What in the World Does an Audiologist Do?

Audiologists treat people with hearing, ear and balance related issues. Anything that could possibly be related to the ear is cause for an Audiologist to get involved. If you were working as an Audiologist you would use an audiometer, a computer and other testing devices to determine the degree to which someone has hearing loss, hearing problems, or other ear-related issues.

If you were working in an Audiology clinic you might be working with in a system where you prescribe AND carry out treatment, so an Audiologist has to work every angle of the program unlike some medical professionals who prescribe treatment but don't necessarily have to carry it out.

What Kind of Training Do I Need? (A.K.A. - Will I need to go to School?)

Most States require that you have a Master's Degree to work as an Audiologist, but some are now requiring that you get a full-on Doctorate. With that in mind we'll work the Doctorate angle.

In order to become an Au. D. (Doctor of Audiology) you will need to first complete a Bachelor's Degree (this would be like any other Doctor where Med Schools prefer you get a degree in a science like Biology or Chemistry.) After getting your Degree you will need to gain acceptance to a Master's Degree Program in Audiology. These programs usually take 2 years to complete and make you a "Master of Audiology". After that you need to get your Doctorate. Once again, you go to school for 2-3 years and then complete an internship in Audiology and you can get your Au. D. Degree.

Once you have gotten your schooling you need a license to practice audiology in your state. This usually requires passing a written exam and a "skills" test. Once you have your license you can get a job working as an Audiologist.

How Do I get One of These Jobs Anyways?

Most jobs in Audiology are in health clinics or hospitals. This is a setting where you are "The Audiologist". In hospitals you would check the hearing of patients who have had problems and you would also check the hearing of newborn babies in the Labor and Delivery Ward.

If you were working in Audiology clinic you would be diagnosing, prescribing treatment, and administering treatment all in once place. Still other Audiologists work in school systems treating students with hearing disorders. This goes a larger scale of government jobs that support the community where you might be "the City Audiologist".

Given that job growth is expected to be small the best place to find new jobs would be in schools where the need for special services is rising and given new legislation that requires so much of school systems those people who can perform services like Audiology will be in high demand.

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Audiologists Overview

Audiologist Salary:$62,030
Job Prospects:B-
Education after high school:8 years
# Employed in US:12,480
% Who work Part Time:13%
Physical Difficulty:+
Intellectual Difficulty:+ + +
Emotional Difficulty:+ + + +

The Pros of being an Audiologist

  • You have many different settings in which you can work
  • Though you may have to get a Doctorate, that Doctorate is not as intense as an M.D.
  • You may be able to work with kids in the school system, (if you love kids)

The Cons of being an Audiologist

  • Schooling still takes about 8 years after high school
  • Job growth is not expected to be high in this profession
  • The job is taxing because you may have to diagnose and prescribe treatment and give the treatment all at once