In the field of audiology, the minimum educational requirement is a master’s degree; however, students may start off by enrolling into and completing an associate degree program. Read and learn more about the entry-level job opportunities to graduates of associate degree programs in communication disorders and hearing instrument science.
A.A. Programs in Hearing Instrument Science
Students enrolled in Associate Degree Programs in Hearing Instrument Science are taught about ear physiology and anatomy as well as about how hearing loss commonly occurs. Other coursework, in these programs, is focused on imparting knowledge to students about hearing instrument components. Students are also taught about ways of fitting or adjusting hearing aids, measuring the ear and performing hearing assessments.
High school transcripts are required to be submitted by program applicants; some schools may insist on the passage of placement tests testing the problem-solving and reasoning skills of students.
Coursework, which comprises of 60 credit hours, takes about two years to complete. Apart from lecture courses, lab sessions and clinical experiences are employed to impart hands-on training. Coursework may include topic areas such as:
•Hearing aid fitting methods
•Hearing and auditory disorders
•Hearing aid evaluation
Those who successfully complete hearing instrument specialist associate degree programs can seek entry-level jobs with outpatient care centers, private practices and hospitals and aim for job titles such as:
•Hearing instrument technician
•Hearing aid fitter
•Hearing instrument dispenser
•Hearing aid specialist
Job and Wage Outlook
According to the BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), in May 2012, hearing aid specialists earned a median annual income of $41,430. Considering the increased automation within manufacturing industries, job growth for these specialists is predicted to be slow. The BLS states that medical appliance technicians are predicted an employment growth by 4%, from 2010 to 2020.
Continuing Education and Licensing Choices
The practice of hearing instrument technicians is regulated by some states. Licensing norms typically require candidates to hold an associate degree in hearing instrument science and pass practical and written exams. Additionally, some states require applicants to have gained supervised work experience of up to 98 hours.
Those who complete hearing instrument science programs may pursue continued education by earning a bachelor’s degree in speech language audiology or pathology. However, audiologists need at least a master’s degree in audiology to be able to practice (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). A doctorate is also required in many states.