An audiologist is a healthcare professional who works with patients with the goal of identifying, diagnosing and treating hearing, balance and other auditory disorders, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
An audiologist often performs the following:
--Professional cleaning of the external ear canal.
--Fitting a hearing aid and/or cochlear implant.
--Instructing patients in compensatory strategies such as lip reading or American Sign Language.
--Prescribing physical, occupational or speech therapy.
--Referring patients to physicians or other providers.
Those who want to work as an audiologist must earn a doctoral degree in audiology. A bachelor’s degree in any field is all that is required to apply to graduate school for audiology.
However, admission is competitive, so successful applicants need a strong academic record, according to The Career Center at Illinois. Because they will affect patients’ health they must also have high ethical standards and be able to communicate well not only with patients but also with other healthcare providers in the best interest of the patient. An audiologist will also have to maintain patient records accurately and stay current on the latest treatments available to patients.
Admissions counselors look at not only a candidate’s overall GPA, but especially grades in math and science.
Most students will choose speech & hearing science as their major to prepare for audiology graduate programs. Undergraduate courses include biology, chemistry, physics, math, statistics, psychology, sociology, anthropology and public health.
A doctoral degree in audiology generally requires at least four years of full-time study beyond the bachelor’s level. Graduate audiology programs must be accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and include at least 1,820 hours of clinical practice. All graduates must then test to become licensed and/or certified.