Audiologists held about 13,000 jobs in 2012. Most audiologists work in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, physicians' offices, and audiology clinics. Some work in schools or for school districts and travel between facilities. Audiologists work closely with registered nurses, audiology assistants, and other healthcare professionals.
Most audiologists work full time. Some work weekends and evenings to meet patients’ needs. Those who work on a contract basis may spend a lot of time traveling between facilities. For example, an audiologist who is contracted by a school system may have to travel between different schools to provide services.
Audiologists need a doctoral degree and must be licensed in all states; requirements vary by state.
The doctoral degree in audiology (Au.D.) is a graduate program typically lasting 4 years. A bachelor’s degree in any field is needed to enter one of these programs.
Graduate coursework includes anatomy, physiology, physics, genetics, normal and abnormal communication development, diagnosis and treatment, pharmacology, and ethics. Graduate programs also include supervised clinical practice. Graduation from a program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation is required to get a license in most states.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Audiologists must be licensed in all states; requirements vary by state. For specific requirements, contact your state’s licensing board for audiologists.
Audiologists can earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A), offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. They also may be credentialed through the American Board of Audiology. Although it is not required in all cases, certification is required by some states or employers.
Audiologists typically have an interest in the Thinking and Helping interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws. The Helping interest area indicates a focus on assisting, serving, counseling, or teaching other people.
If you are not sure whether you have a Thinking or Helping interest which might fit with a career as a audiologist, you can take a career test to measure your interests.
Audiologists should also possess the following specific qualities:
Communication skills. Audiologists need to communicate test results, diagnoses, and proposed treatments, so patients clearly understand the situation and options. They also may need to work with other healthcare providers and education specialists regarding patient care.
Compassion. Audiologists work with people who are having problems with hearing or balance. They should be supportive of patients and their families.
Critical-thinking skills. Audiologists must concentrate when testing a patient’s hearing and be able to analyze each patient's situation, to offer the best treatment. They must also be able to provide alternative plans, when patients do not respond to initial treatment.
Patience. Audiologists must work with patients who may need a lot of time and special attention.
Problem-solving skills. Audiologists must figure out the causes of problems with hearing and balance and the appropriate treatment or treatments to address them.
The median annual wage for audiologists was $69,720 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,820, and the top 10 percent earned more than $101,130.
Most audiologists work full time. Some may work weekends and evenings to meet patients’ needs. Those who work on a contract basis may spend a lot of time traveling between facilities.
Employment of audiologists is projected to grow 34 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 4,300 new jobs over the 10-year period.
An aging baby-boom population will continue to increase the demand for most healthcare services. Hearing loss increases as people age, so an aging population is likely to increase demand for audiologists. The early identification and diagnosis of hearing disorders in infants also will spur employment growth. Advances in hearing aid design, such as smaller size and the reduction of feedback, may make such devices more appealing as a means to minimize hearing loss. This may lead to more demand for audiologists.
Demand may be greater in areas with large numbers of retirees, so audiologists who are willing to relocate may have the best job prospects.
For information on state-specific licensing requirements, contact the state's licensing board.
For more information about audiologists, including requirements for certification and state licensure, visit
For information on doctoral programs in audiology, visit