Among the many health professions, there are many lines of care that involve hearing health. In addition to Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialists, otherwise known as otolaryngologists, and other medical specialties, audiologists are specifically trained to serve hearing ability and balance issues. This profession does require many years of education, training, and licensing, but that should not dissuade anyone from pursuing a career in audiology. If you are interested in this field, here are a few things to consider on your path. You can also talk with an audiologist to learn more about their education, career path, and issues to consider when making a move toward a life as an audiologist.
Education and Training
Audiologists are doctors who are trained to treat disorders of hearing and balance. They first need to begin their education with a bachelor’s degree. Although it is not required to be “pre-med,” this line of undergraduate education can prepare you to face the application process for graduate programs in audiology. Once you have completed a bachelor’s degree, the next step is to complete training for a Doctor of Audiology, or Au.D. Most of these programs take four years to complete, though some can be completed on a fast track of three years. Once a person has finished a program as a Doctor of Audiology, state certifications are necessary. Just as in other professions, your certification may not transfer between states, so a move to another location might require another state certification exam. The final portion of the degree involves clinical training to learn to meet patient needs in practical settings.
Reasons to Pursue Careers in Audiology
Why would a person consider a career in audiology? The answers to this question are quite varied, and each person has an individual explanation for their career decisions. In the first place, this career is quite rewarding, and the knowledge that you are helping patients hear, communicate, and navigate the world brings a profound sense of fulfillment. When a patient tells you they are now able to communicate with their grandchildren, the feeling of contributing to an individual life, family, and community is worth the investment in education and training. In addition, careers in audiology are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment for audiologists will be 13 percent higher in 2029 than in 2019. Part of this increase has to do with the population of “baby boomers” who will be in need of hearing services with the onset of age-related hearing loss. Audiologists also make high wages, have job security, and can open their own practices with autonomy and freedom to set their own standards of care and schedules. These benefits make audiology an attractive career for the individual as well as for the community they serve.
Considerations in Pursuing an Audiology Career
If you are interested in pursuing a career in audiology, there are a few things to consider as you begin your path. First, you will need to thrive in an environment working with people and caring for their needs. Being a “people person” is important to developing a bedside manner that sets people at ease and lets them know they are in capable hands. Although you will need to develop these skills, it’s not necessary to be particularly outgoing or the life of the party. Many personalities can serve as a caregiving audiologist, and a willingness to help others is really what it takes to make a great hearing health care professional. In addition, you will need to be comfortable with science education, and your doctoral program will involve examinations in anatomy and, specifically, the auditory nervous system. If you have a desire to help others and are comfortable in science-related fields, then audiology might be right for you. Take a look around at the programs that are out there, and you can even schedule a chat with a professional audiologist to learn more about the career path. This line of work can give you the confidence that you are helping others improve their quality of life, and your skills can be used to connect families and communities through better communication, as well.