Audiologists work with people who have hearing problems and other health issues associated with the ear such as balance, and other sensory or neural problems. These health issues span all ages, so audiologists are employed both in schools and in nursing homes. Generally, audiologists assess the problem and development treatment plans that essentially teach the patient how to live with whatever the impairment is. Many times there is no curative treatment for hearing problems or sensitivity to noise levels. Sometimes there may be an ear infection or blockage that is contributing to the problem and those sorts of physical problems can be treated. Balance problems may require the audiologist to consult a physician or occupational therapist.
A master's degree in audiology is the minimum educational requirement in this field. The doctor of audiology degree (Au.D) is becoming more common in the profession. Eight years of graduate study and field work is generally required to complete the doctoral requirements. Currently, eight states require a doctorate from audiologists. All states require either licensure or registration; forty one of them require continuing education.
There were about twelve thousand audiologists working in the U.S. in 2006. Approximately half of them worked in health care facilities; another 13% were employed in educational institutions.
Job growth in the field is projected to be about the same as the average rate of overall job growth over the next several years. It is not a large professional field; for that reason a doctorate is probably going to be important for a serious audiology job search.
Lowest 10% $40,360
Median Salary $62,030
Highest 10% $98,880
Source: U.S. Department of Labor