Last Updated on September 8, 2022 by Ngefechukwu Maduka
The Associate Degree in Audiology is a two-year program that helps pave the way to a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. It focuses on practical experience and teaches students how to assess and manage hearing issues. Requirements are less stringent than for a Bachelor’s degree, and you can start working as an audiologist right after graduation, with little delay.
The field of Audiology is dedicated to the study and treatment of hearing disorders. It may be surprising to find this discipline within a university setting, but the field of audiology is devoted to refining and improving the ability to hear.
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While a master’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for professional audiologists, students may complete associate’s degree programs in hearing instrument science or communication disorders, both of which can lead to entry-level work in the audiology field. In order to enroll in one of these two-year programs, students are required to have a high school degree or equivalent, and they may need to pass a placement test.
Students enrolled in an associate’s degree program in hearing instrument science will study aural rehabilitation and audiometry through lecture-based classes, lab work and clinical experiences. Graduates are prepared for careers as hearing aid specialists and hearing instrument technicians.
In a communication disorders associate’s degree program, students will study language development, physiological acoustics, and often American Sign Language. Clinical experiences are typically required. Graduates are prepared for licensure and subsequent employment as speech-language pathology assistants.
Audiology Degree Programs
Associate’s Degree in Hearing Instrument Science
Students enrolled in associate’s degree programs in instrument science study the anatomy and physiology of the ear, the common causes of hearing loss, and the components of hearing instruments. Students may also learn to fit or adjust hearing aids, measure the ear, and perform hearing assessments. Some of these skills may be acquired as part of a hands-on internship experience that supplements lecture and lab work. Common course topics in this program include:
- Hearing aids
- Aural rehabilitation
- Hearing aid evaluation
- Hearing assessment
- Hearing and auditory disorders
Associate’s Degree in Communication Disorders
Associate’s degree programs in communication disorders are designed for students who want to pursue careers in speech-language pathology. The standard curriculum provides training in American Sign Language (ASL), language development and speech disorders. Students may also have the opportunity to get hands-on experience at an on-campus hearing clinic. Some of the language- and human anatomy-related courses that students might take include:
- Communication disorders
- Healthcare communications
- Physiological acoustics
- Language development
- Biological acoustics
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Popular Career Options
Graduates of hearing instrument specialist associate’s degree programs typically find entry-level jobs in hospitals, private practices and outpatient care centers. Some job titles include:
- Hearing aid specialist
- Hearing aid fitter
- Hearing instrument technician
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Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), hearing aid specialists earned a median annual income of $52,630 in May 2020. Hearing aid specialists in general are projected to see 10% employment growth from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations.
Individuals holding associate’s degrees in communication disorders can find jobs as speech-language pathology assistants. According to 2021 PayScale.com figures, the median yearly salary for these professionals was $40,869. Employment opportunities are expected to increase by 5 to 7 percent between 2019 and 2029, which is faster than the national average, the Occupational Information Network reported.
Licensing and Continuing Education Information
In many states, speech-language pathology assistants must meet licensing requirements. Applicants need to have completed a state-approved associate’s degree program and acquired anywhere between 70 and 100 hours of field experience. Some states also require applicants to complete a supervised practice component.
Graduates of associate’s degree programs in audiology-related fields may pursue bachelor’s degrees in audiology, speech-language pathology, or communication disorders. These programs prepare students for graduate-level study through coursework in articulation and fluency disorders, aural rehabilitation, and language processing. In order to become a professional audiologist, students need either a master’s or a doctoral degree.
In conclusion, an associate’s degree in an audiology-related field prepares students for an entry-level job in the field. For higher-level positions, they may need to pursue a state-mandated license or an advanced degree in audiology.
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How to Become an Audiologist – Your Guide to Audiology Degree Requirements
Audiologists help hundreds of thousands of Americans identify and fix hearing problems every year in the United States. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, around 15 percent of American adults report some hearing difficulty. And two or three out of every thousand children have some level of detectable hearing loss in one or both ears.
Together with speech-language pathologists, audiologists also deliver critical assistance to people who have speech and swallowing impediments.
Watching the wonder light up a toddler’s face as their cochlear implants fire up for the first time and deliver the new experience of sound is both incredibly satisfying and noble work.
But becoming an audiologist takes years of study and tremendous dedication. Choosing between audiology and speech pathology can be tough. Both professions work with many of the same patients. And becoming a speech language pathologist is a faster option if you are eager to get started.
Audiology is a particularly lucrative and satisfying field for anyone interesting in working with the hearing-impaired, however. You owe it to yourself to learn more about how to become an audiologist before you make your final decision.
How Do You Become an Audiologist?
Requirements to become an audiologist in the United States are strict. Although audiologists are not doctors, they have to earn a doctoral degree. They face strong licensing requirements in every state. And they are expected to meet the high standards of national certification in the field to keep up with the technical and medical challenges they face on the job.
Those factors all add up to a long and arduous process in order to finally become a practicing audiologist. If that’s your path, you’ll have to follow the 5 steps below to get there.
How hard is it to become an audiologist?
To become an audiologist, you have to go through a long period of education that culminates with a Doctor of Audiology degree, before going on to pass a rigorous national test and meeting strong state requirements for licensure. Most audiologists also become certified in the field, which adds another layer of qualifications and proof of experience.
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How many years does it take to become an audiologist?
You can expect to spend at least eight years in school before you are eligible to become an audiologist. But even after you have finished your education, you will need to pass the critical national test for licensure and meet your state’s requirements before you can begin practice, so nine or ten years is not uncommon.
What education do you need to be an audiologist?
Audiologists must earn at doctoral degree in the field in order to become licensed and certified. That requires a four-year bachelor’s degree followed by four years in a doctor of audiology program. Your coursework will take you through subjects such as:
- Audiologic assessment
- Medical issues affecting hearing
- Clinical counseling
- Professional ethics
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
You have to get a doctorate eventually, but that means first earning a bachelor’s degree.
Your best start down the path to a career in audiology, of course, will come through audiology undergraduate programs. They will give you the right basis of education to succeed as you go on to your AuD.
These are usually offered as a bachelor of arts or science in audiology and speech language sciences. That means they deliver not just the right preparation and training for audiologists, but also for speech-language pathologists.
That means you have a lot of flexibility if you are still undecided about the long period of intensive training required for a career in audiology. You have a chance to go in another direction after your first four years of study. At the same time, a BASLP gives you the kind of insights into speech-language pathology that are valuable as an audiologist. You’ll understand the kinds of therapies and diagnostics that will be most helpful to a profession you will certainly end up working closely with in the long run.
Step 2: Earn an Doctoral Level Audiology Degree
Even if you earn a bachelor’s degree, the real meat of your training as an audiologist comes through your AuD: Doctor of Audiology.
For this rigorous four-year program, you will want to select only from universities that have been accredited by ASHA, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. ASHA is the specialty accreditor that determines what the professional standards are in the field of audiology, and their stamp of approval is a must-have if you want to get licensed or certified as an audiologist anywhere in the country.
To do that, you’ll spend four years in courses such as:
- The physics of sound and acoustic and psychoacoustic phenomena
- Speech science
- Electronics, instrumentation, and calibration
- Anatomy and physiology of hearing
- Clinical diagnosis of auditory disease
- Auditory training
- Rehabilitation and audio devices
You’ll also go through extensive clinical placements and experience, spending time in hospitals, clinics, and community services agencies learning how to put your training into practice.
Step 3: Become Certified as an Audiologist
The first thing you are going to want to do after graduating with your AuD is to do a lot of drinking and probably fly off to Cabo for a while. But what you should be doing is hitting the books again.
That’s because graduating from that ASHA-accredited program was just step one in another micro-six-step process that will end up granting you the coveted CCC-A from ASHA: the Certificate of Clinical Competence-Audiology. And step two is passing the Praxis examination in audiology.
The exam is a computer-based, 120-question, multiple-choice test that covers five sections of audiology knowledge:
- Prevention and Identification
- Professional Issues
The exam is used by ASHA for the CCC-A requirements, but also by states in their licensing process, so you are really hitting two birds with one stone by taking and acing it. ASHA and each individual state have their own standards for passing scores, however.
The CCC-A also requires that you have a certain amount of supervised practicum hours of clinical experience under your belt, but doesn’t specify how many. Instead, the certification accepts the accreditation standards for your doctoral program as being adequate for direct clinical practice.