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How to Become an Audiologist

New audiologists must earn a doctoral degree to enter the practice. All audiologists must be licensed; 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 doctoral programs.

Graduate coursework in audiology 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 some states.

Licenses and Certification

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, certification may satisfy some or all of the requirements for licensure and may be required by some employers.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Audiologists work with people who are having problems with hearing or balance. They must be supportive of patients and their families.

Communication skills. Audiologists need to communicate test results, diagnoses, and proposed treatments so that patients clearly understand the situation and options. They also may need to work with other healthcare providers and education specialists regarding patient care.

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 open to providing alternatives 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 to address them.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition