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How do I Become an Audiologist?

Article Details
  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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An audiologist is a health care professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing disorders. Although standards may vary from region to region, many areas require a doctoral degree in audiology in order to legally practice in the field. Choosing to become an audiologist can be the first step to a rewarding medical career geared toward helping individuals manage and overcome hearing problems.

Education is the primary means to become an audiologist. Although some complete undergraduate degrees in other fields before applying to study audiology, many audiologists have a long-held interest in the field and complete undergraduate work in linguistics, behavioral science, or medicine. These fields can help give a comprehensive background in audiology that can be of service throughout a future career.

Although most countries and medical boards do not require a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree in order to become an audiologist, graduate or post-graduate university training is typically required. In the United States, audiologists must possess a specialty doctoral degree in the field, commonly known as an Au. D. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, allow several different degrees to fulfill the training requirement for the field. In Australia, a Master of Clinical Audiology degree is required, comprising a two-year program completed after a four-year course of undergraduate study.

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In addition to taking courses to become an audiologist, a student will usually have to complete practical training requirements, including working at clinics under the guidance of experienced professionals. Practical training can help a student hone his or her career plans and goals; those who find a connection with young children may be interested in focusing on early onset hearing conditions, while others may become fascinated with developing new technologies to help older patients retain hearing.

After training is completed, a qualified graduate may need to apply for licensing to become an audiologist. Depending on regional guidelines, licensing may require testing, proof of education, and professional evaluations. After licensing, audiologists can seek permanent employment with a medical facility, set up a private practice, or work as freelance professionals associated with a hospital or practice. Some may choose to enter research fields to aid in the discovery and improvement of hearing technology, while others may become professors.

The difficult educational requirements of the field mean that choosing to become an audiologist is not an easy or simple decision. As with any medical field, audiology requires patience, determination and passion for helping patients. Although hearing problems have been around for as long as humans, the field of audiology is often considered an up-and-coming area for technological and therapeutic advances. With new developments such as cochlear implants, the field of audiology has become a major source of innovation and improvement since the 20th century. According to some business analysts, this fast-growing field is greatly in need of new professionals to aid in development throughout the coming years.

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