If you want a healthcare career that enables you to help patients with hearing problems then a career as an audiologist would be something you want to consider. In this profession, you’ll have the chance to examine and diagnose patients who have auditory and balance problems. You’ll be administering the most appropriate form of treatment as well as fitting them with hearing aids so they can cope with their disability.
As in any healthcare career, you need to have patience and compassion in working with patients. You also need to have excellent communication skills so that you can help your patient understand the procedures you will be doing as well as obtain the information you want to get from them. Having problem solving skills is a must since you need to figure out what is making a patient lose his hearing or his balance.
Just like in any healthcare profession, the passion to help patients is the primary motive behind becoming an audiologist. In this case, you put a prime importance on hearing and want to aid those who are suffering from hearing loss or other ear disorders so they can regain their normal hearing faculties, if it is medically possible. It’s also an occupation that’s set to provide more job opportunities in the coming years. It also pays well.
Audiologist Work Environment
Audiologists typically work fulltime in hospitals, physician’s offices and audiology clinics. Although they work regular hours, there are some who might extend their schedule in the evenings to accommodate patients. Audiologists may also work for schools. They may also work for school districts where travel from one school to another may be necessary to give children the services they need.
The May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of audiologists is $74,360. The agency revealed in May 2012 that the top 10 percent of audiologists were paid over $101,130 while the lowest 10 percent got less than $43,820. In that year, the medial annual wage was $69,720.
Audiologist Career Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the job outlook for audiologists is bright for the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022. This is because the employment rate of audiologists is set to grow 34 percent for that time span, a rate that is faster than the average for all job types. The demand will come mostly from the baby boomers since hearing deteriorates as people age. However, the fast growth is only estimated to result to 4,300 new jobs inasmuch as this is a small profession. Since there are places where seniors like to spend their retirement, the audiologists who are willing to make a move to these places are going to find the best job opportunities.
An aspiring audiologist needs to finish a doctoral degree in audiology (Au.D.) which will include classes in anatomy, physiology, genetics, physics, communication development, diagnosis and treatment, pharmacology and ethics. In addition, students must also complete supervised clinical practice. Before one can get into this four-year program, however, a bachelor’s degree is required.
An audiology graduate must obtain a license before being able to practice. Although the requirements vary by state, one common requirement is for the audiologist must obtain his audiology degree from a Council on Academic Accreditation-accredited program. In addition to a license, audiologists can also get certified through the American Board of Audiology. They may also opt to get a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.