For anyone seeking an audiologist career, it’s vitally important to understand not only the nature of the job, but also the salary prospects, outlook for growth in the field, and the move to require higher levels of education for prospective audiologists.
In this article, we’ll talk about what audiologists do, discuss typical working environments, average income, and the lower and upper limits of the salary range, and the coming requirement to earn a doctorate in the field in order to be certified for an audiologist career.
Audiologists are medical career professionals who work with people who suffer from hearing problems or other ear-related disorders, such as balance problems (the human ability to maintain balance is a function of the inner ear). The most common problem audiologists deal with, of course, is hearing loss, and in a majority of cases, the loss is age-related, which means that for the average audiologist, older patients will make up the bulk of their clientele. However, hearing loss and other ear-related disorders can occur at any age, including infants and newborns, and can be caused by a wide variety of factors. Therefore, the typical audiologist must be able to work well with people from all age groups and walks of life, although many choose to specialize in working with one particular age segment.
Much of the work in an audiologist careerwill involve testing and measuring hearing ability to gauge the amount of hearing loss that has taken place. The audiologist will also seek to determine the cause of hearing loss in order to prevent further deterioration, if possible. Once hearing loss is measured and the cause is known, remedial measures can be taken to either improve the patient’s hearing ability or to stop it from eroding further. This will typically require the use of a hearing aid, and it is up to the audiologist to determine the best model for patients, work with them to fit it, and teach them how to use it. Cochlear implants, which are much more advanced than regular hearing aids, are also commonly prescribed, and the audiologist must be skilled in fitting these devices and programming them correctly.
Audiologist Job Search
Good people skills are a must for anyone seeking an audiologist career, as there will be a lot of counseling and advising of patients. Many patients are devastated when they first encounter hearing loss or balance problems. Older patients are reminded of their mortality, and younger ones are shocked to be dealing with an “old people’s” ailment. Helping these patients come to terms with their hearing loss or balance problems is just as important as ameliorating the problems themselves. It will be the role of the audiologist to counsel the clients, show them they can still lead a rich and full life even with hearing loss, and help them devise strategies and tactics to make the most of the prescribed treatments to lead as normal a life as possible.
Many audiologists work in clinics; some clinics are owned by other medical professionals, while others are owned by the audiologists themselves and are solely dedicated to serving patients with hearing, balance and other ear-related problems. Around two thirds of audiologists work in hospital settings, and approximately 20 percent work in school-related facilities. Audiologist career salaries are quite high and are projected to keep increasing in the near future, as demand for audiology services rises with an aging population. Reported annual salaries range from a low of approximately $40,000 to a high of $100,000. The median salary for an audiologist career is currently about $63,000 a year.
Educational requirements for prospective audiologists are changing rapidly. Until recently, a master’s degree was sufficient in most states to enter into an audiologist career, but that’s no longer the case. An increasing number of states are now requiring a doctoral degree in audiology, and it’s likely that in the near future, all states will adopt this standard. Those interested in earning a doctoral degree will need to ensure they take the proper classes as undergraduates, including chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, and psychology, in order to be accepted into doctoral programs. Upon completion of the doctoral degree, it will be necessary to pass a rigorous licensing exam called the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A). Becoming an audiologist will take years of hard work and discipline, but the rewards will be great: a high salary, great work environment, improving people’s lives, and increasing demand as America’s baby-boomer generation ages.