Doctors of audiology, or audiologists, fit patients with hearing aids and provide other treatments for hearing and balance problems. In the past some audiologists qualified through master's degrees, but current qualifications include a doctorate degree in audiology. Doctors of audiology aren't physicians, but all states also require them to be licensed. Some factors in an audiologist's pay include the type of work and degree level.
Salary by Career Type
Audiologists generally work in health care or in academic institutions. Audiologists in health care typically receive an annual salary, for an 11 to 12 month year, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Those working for schools and colleges are usually paid for an academic year of only 9 to 10 months. In 2012, audiologists' median salary for a calendar year was $73,000, while it was $65,000 for an academic year, according to ASHA's annual salary survey.
Calendar Year Salary Breakdown
The median 2012 calendar year salary was $72,000 with a doctorate in audiology or master's degree as the highest degree, according to the ASHA survey. A master's degree used to be sufficient for certification, but a doctoral degree has been required since 2012, according to AHSA. However, audiologists with the PhD as their highest degree earned a median calendar year income of $94,000. The Doctor of Audiology prepares you for clinical practice, while the PhD prepares you for research, teaching or clinical practice, depending on the program. The PhD is considered a higher degree, but some audiologists have both doctorates.
Academic Year Salary Breakdown
Academic year salaries were lower than annual salaries in 2012 at all degree levels, reports the ASHA survey. The median academic year salary with a master's degree was $61,000, while it was $65,000 with a Doctor of Audiology degree. Audiologists who had the PhD as their highest degree averaged $81,953 annually for the academic year. Doctors of audiology working on this salary basis were in the minority in 2012, at only 27 percent.
Average and Range of Pay
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics surveyed 12,060 audiologists nationwide in 2012. Unlike ASHA, the BLS excludes self-employed practitioners, but the ASHA report is based on only 2,037 respondents to a questionnaire. According to the BLS report, audiologists earned average hourly wages of $35.04, or $72,890 annually for full time positions. The lowest-earning 10 percent received $43,820 per year or less, while the top 10 percent earned $101,130 or more annually.
Major Industry Pay
The largest employer of audiologists in 2012 was doctors' offices, paying an average of $71,380 per year, according to the BLS. Other health practitioners employed the second-largest number and paid $74,940 per year on average. Health and personal care stores paid an average of $65,270 annually. Hospital salaries for audiologists averaged $74,480 per year. In addition, elementary and secondary schools paid doctors of audiology $67,280 per year on average.
Top Paying Industries and States
Audiologists in two industries received more than $80,000 per year on average in 2012, according to the BLS survey. In outpatient care centers, pay averaged $81,960 per year, the highest of any industry. Audiology doctors also earned $80,930 per year on average working for audiology equipment wholesalers. In three states, annual pay topped $90,000 in 2012, led by New York, with an average of $97,950. Hawaii came in second place, with average annual wages of $96,720, followed by Washington, at $94,040 per year.
The number of jobs for audiologists will increase 37 percent by 2020, predicts the BLS. Because older people have more hearing problems, the aging of the population will contribute to this growth. Graduates with a doctoral degree can expect especially good prospects in locations with many retired people.