Audiologists work with people who have various hearing problems or other problems associated with the ear. A career as an audiologist requires extensive education and training. Licensing requirements can vary by state. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of jobs in the field to increase 25 percent through 2018. As of May 2008, audiologists made a median salary of $62,030, according to the BLS.
Those aspiring to become audiologists can pursue an undergraduate degree in just about any field. However, students can prepare for graduate level training in the audiology field by completing prerequisites during the undergraduate education. Most programs will require that prerequisites are completed prior to taking classes at the institution or before taking any advanced courses in the program. Prerequisite courses for most audiology programs usually include a variety of math and science courses. Students generally need to complete two or more courses in biology, English and the humanities. Additional coursework includes one or more courses in physical science, college algebra and the social sciences.
Doctor of Audiology Education Requirements
The Au.D. degree is the standard degree in the field to practice as an audiologist, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says. Masters degrees are typically only offered in speech-language pathology or non-clinical master of science programs in hearing science. Some master's degree programs combine audiology and speech-language pathology into one degree. These programs can be completed in about two years of study and may require a master's thesis and a comprehensive examination.
Au.D. programs usually take about four years to complete. During the first two years of study, students take basic science courses along with basic courses in introductory audiology. Courses can include Auditory Science, Anatomy and Physiology of the Hearing and Speech Systems and Principles of Audiological Evaluation.
During the last two years of study, students take courses in advanced audiology and advanced research in the field. Typical courses of study include areas such as vestibular assessment and treatment, pediatric rehabilitative audiology and functional human neuroanatomy and communication disorders.
Additional Education Requirements
Audiological practice can depend upon advances made by scientific research. Those interested in contributing research to the field can pursue doctoral research degrees. Some schools offer the Ph.D. as part of a joint-degree program in conjunction with the Au.D. A Ph.D. program will typically stress advanced research and statistics as the basic curriculum. Courses typically include multivariate methods in research, how to construct and design projects, special education research and quantitative and statistical methods in educational research.
2016 Salary Information for Audiologists
Audiologists earned a median annual salary of $75,980 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, audiologists earned a 25th percentile salary of $61,370, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $94,170, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 14,800 people were employed in the U.S. as audiologists.