An interesting fact about audiology-focused degree programs is that professionals in this field can work in a extremely wide variety of professional settings. Audiologists can work in private practice, hospitals, specialty clinics, and even rehabilitation centers.
Since hearing is such an important aspect of human life, professionals in this area of expertise may be highly sought after in different treatment areas. If you would like to learn more about becoming involved in this field, read more in the guide provided by our team of experts below.
What is Audiology?
Audiology is a specific degree field that focuses specifically on the science of hearing. This degree field can be beneficial for upcoming students that have an interest in increasing the overall quality of life for a wide variety of patients, including children at infancy and throughout adults in the geriatric population.
Audiology students may begin with an investigation in hearing biology and the anatomy of the ear. In order to properly comprehend the science of hearing, students should first familiarize themselves with the biological hearing process.
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Online Audiology Degree Programs
Before choosing a degree program in audiology, you should be aware of the practical requirements of audiologists in the field. If you are interested in becoming a practitioner of audiology, the minimum degree level required for licensing and practice is a doctorate.
In today's digital environment, you can find online Doctorate programs in Audiology at universities all over the country. Students can choose from Ph.d. programs that were designed for upcoming research and development specialists or even doctoral programs for those that wish to work one-on-one with clients in the field.
Each of these programs can provide you with thorough information about the structure of the ear and the anatomy of hearing. Both programs may also contain virtual research projects that allow you the opportunity of self-learning and exploration in the field of audiology.
A unique feature about online degree programs in audiology is that these programs can be completed virtually and on your own time. Some students balance these online programs with a full-time job, which can provide optimum financial benefits for those involved.
The structure of the online degree program can allow for students to take full advantage of the flexibility within, such as the ability to log in at different times of day and night, communication methods like class email and discussion boards, and even virtual drop boxes that allow students to turn in assignments with ease.
Online degree programs in audiology can also allow students to create their own time frame for completion based on their unique needs. Students that have the ability to engage in full-time classes could complete their degree in the quickest amount of time, which is generally 3-4 years for the entire doctoral program or 1-2 years after the completion of a related master's program.
Example Courses Focused within an Audiology Degree
- Psychoacoustics: Students enrolled in this course can take on a perspective that allows them to view hearing and acoustics from a psychological and cognitive standpoint. The theoretical foundation of sound and hearing may be explored in this course, in order to give students a more balanced perspective of how sound is delivered and absorbed during the hearing process. This course could be beneficial for upcoming practitioners in the field of audiology.
- Advanced Audiology: This course is geared towards upcoming clinical audiologists. Students taking part in this class can learn more about the history and application of current diagnostic procedures in audiology, as well as received detailed information about administering diagnostic tests in the field. Students may also have the opportunity to practice interpretation skills of each diagnostic test available for use in this position.
- Auditory Neurophysiology: In order to audiology professionals to fully comprehend the spectrum of hearing in their patients, they should have thorough information about the physiology of the ear and all hearing components. This course explores topics such as an investigation into the function of the cochlea and its pathophysiology, central auditory pathways, and general auditory neurophysiology.
As a licensed audiologist, you can work with clients that may be experiences difficulty hearing or with communication. These professionals are most commonly found in specialty offices providing services to a broad range of clients with diverse needs.
In some cases, you may find it beneficial to work in general practice hospitals or healthcare clinics with a high demand for auditory professionals. Some licensees in this field can also branch off into private practice in order to benefit fully from their experience and expertise.
Less common career opportunities for auditory professionals may include working in schools, with the military, and even in medical research. Your desires as a professional can lead you into unique and in-demand career opportunities throughout the life of your working experience.
Licensure and Certification
If you are interested in becoming a licensed audiologist, you should be prepared to engage in a set of expectations that can allow you to enter the workforce as a clinical professional. In most states, you are required to complete a doctoral program in this field before being considered for licensure and certification.
As a standard for licensure, the degree program that you choose must be doctoral level and accredited by the Council for Academic Accreditation (CAA) through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). ASHA is the leading accreditation agency for degree programs focusing on hearing and audiology.
During your doctoral program, you may have the opportunity to engage in field work under the supervision of licensed audiologists. These experiences can count towards your 300 supervised hours that may be required in your state, which can be completed during and after your degree program.
Graduates that have completed this short supervision period can participate in a national licensing exam that consists of topics related to auditory treatment of patients in the field. If you have chosen a specialization for your degree program, such as geriatrics or pediatrics, your exam could include topics related to treatment of these specific groups.
Finishing the steps above can then lead you into a 9 experience requirement that is recommended before becoming fully licensed. During this experience you can provide hands on services to clients in the field under the direction and supervision of a certified supervisor.
Once you have completed the steps above, you can apply for licensure within your state. While certification through the American Board of Audiology can add to your resume as an audiologist, it is not fully required in many states that license audiology professionals.