Are Audiologists Considered Doctors?
If you have seen the abbreviations for the audiology profession, you may be wondering why they do not carry the M.D. after their name. The abbreviations used for audiologists are as follows:
- M.S.P.A. (Master's of Speech Pathology and Audiology)
- AuD (Doctor of Audiology) CCC-A (Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology)
Here, I will explain what the abbreviations mean and what audiologists earn instead of a medical doctorate degree.
Are Audiologists Medical Doctors?
The short answer is no, audiologists are not medical doctors. Audiologists do not have to earn a doctorate degree to practice audiology. All audiologists earn a master's degree in their field. Some audiologists go on to earn a doctor of audiology degree, which is the equivalent of a PhD, but it is not a medical degree. They are a doctor in the sense that they have a doctorate. But, they do not undergo full medical training.
In addition to their degree, audiologists can earn certificates in their field or specialize in certain areas. For instance, an audiologist who has earned his master's degree may go on to earn his doctorate and specialize in pediatric audiology.
What Clinical Experience Must Audiologists Have?
The American Academy of Audiology oversees the requirements of the AuD degree, accepting AuD programs based on academic and clinical experience standards. All students who are pursuing a degree in audiology must complete a rotation of clinical experience which includes working with experience audiology professionals and a variety of patients and clinical settings.
Audiologists generally need to have clinical experience in all or most of these areas:
- Private practices
- Audiology/medical practices
- Community clinics
- Industrial hearing services
- Universities and/or college clinics
- Educational agencies
- Schools for the hearing-impaired
Clinical experience is meant to give future audiologists exposure of what it's like to work in different environments, with people of several different demographics. Clinical experience is meant to challenge the student to grow and learn in real-life situations, learning how to problem solve and make decisions as a knowledgeable professional. Essentially, an audiologists clinical experience is what prepares them to be “on their own” as doctor of audiology.
What Are Audiologists Trained to Do?
The extensive training it takes to become an audiologist prepares them to do their job well, which includes identifying hearing and balance disorders, providing rehabilitative services for the hearing-impaired, assessing hearing devices and helping patients to understand and use those devices, and educating patients concerning hearing loss and hearing protection issues.
Doctors of audiology can become professors at a college or university in order to teach students of audiology and help them become well-educated future professionals in the field. Some audiologists even consult with government agencies or private companies and corporations on issues related to noise-induced and occupational hearing loss.
So, next time you are looking at a business card or website of an audiologist, you will know exactly what credentials that audiologists has. Knowing the credentials can also help you to find the right audiologist for your needs.