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Audiology Degrees by Degree Program Level

Find out what degree programs provide studies in audiology. Read about degrees earned, prerequisites and required courses at each level of study. Get detailed information about continuing education and career options, as well as employment outlook and salary statistics.

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Essential Information

Audiology is a scientific field concerned with the study of hearing. People who work in the field diagnose and treat issues like hearing loss and run tests to assess patients' ability to hear sounds of all frequencies. While degree programs specifically in audiology are offered only at the graduate level, many schools offer bachelor's degree programs in related fields like speech and hearing science.

Those interested in entry-level work as an audiologist assistant would pursue a bachelor's degree. At this level, courses are mainly taken in speech, voice and communication disorders. Master's and doctoral studies explore more advanced topics, such as hearing physiology, acoustics, auditory neurology and audiology clinical practices. Graduate degree programs prepare students for licensure and professional certifications. Clinical experiences are a common aspect of studies at every level.


Bachelor's Degree in Speech and Hearing Science

While earning a bachelor's degree in a subject like speech and hearing science isn't adequate preparation for a career as an audiologist, it is preparation for a graduate degree program in the subject. Bachelor's degree programs in speech and hearing science teach students concepts related to hearing, language, speaking and swallowing. Students learn to recognize the symptoms of various disorders and pathologies that affect people ability to speak or hear.

Educational Prerequisites

Applicants to speech and hearing science bachelor's degree programs should be sure to do well in their mathematics and science courses in high school. Interested students should also have strong oral and written communication skills, so excelling in English classes is a good idea.

Program Coursework

Students in speech and hearing science bachelor's degree programs take classes about speech and language, language disorders, and hearing. Some offer classes with clinical components, giving students hands-on experience working with patients. The topics noted below are often offered:

  • American sign language
  • Phonetics
  • Pediatric speech disorders
  • Communication disorder statistics
  • Voice disorders

Popular Career Options

People who enter the workforce after earning a bachelor's degree in speech and hearing science are qualified for a number of entry-level jobs in the field. Graduates often hold the job titles listed below:

  • Speech language pathologist assistant
  • Audiologist assistant
  • Direct care staff

Master's Degree in Speech and Hearing Science

Master's degree programs in speech and hearing science combine advanced theoretical discussion with basic clinical instruction. Programs emphasize concepts in speech language pathology and audiology. Students can often choose between clinical and non-clinical tracks, depending on their career goals after graduation. Additionally, some programs offer students the option of either completing a thesis or extra coursework.

Educational Prerequisites

People interested in applying to speech and hearing science master's degree programs need to submit official transcripts from their undergraduate school and their score on the graduate records examination (GRE). Many schools also ask that students submit letters of recommendation attesting to their research and academic abilities. Some programs look for students with a background in disciplines like psychology or linguistics.

Program Coursework

The coursework in speech and hearing science master's degree programs varies depending on the track a student chooses. People interested in becoming audiologists usually take more hands-on courses than those who want to enter more theoretical areas of the field. Students often take courses in the subjects mentioned below:

  • Cultural communication differences
  • Neurological aspects of oral communication
  • Biology of oral communication
  • Hearing physiology
  • Language acquisition

Popular Career Options

People who earn a master's degree in speech and hearing science often continue their education at the doctorate level. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov, notes that all new audiologists must earn an Au.D. to practice, which is the doctoral degree in audiology. Those who enter a career after earning a master's degree often hold the following positions:

  • Licensed speech language pathologist
  • Hearing assessment specialist

Professional Licensure and Continuing Education Info

All new audiologists must hold a doctoral degree in audiology to become licensed audiologists. Requirements vary by state, but most ask that audiologists pass a written exam, complete a supervised internship and participate in continuing education classes periodically.

Clinical Doctorate Degree in Audiology

People interested in working with patients as audiologists earn a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree. Au.D. programs build on students' previous coursework in speech and hearing science to teach advanced concepts related to assessing and assisting people with aural and communication disorders. Programs take four years to complete and usually include a clinical internship in the final year.

Educational Prerequisites

Some programs admit as few as 12 students a year, so competition can be strong. Applicants who have completed previous coursework in speech and hearing science often have an advantage over those with no previous experience. Typically, though, Au.D. programs will accept students with degrees in a myriad of fields. In any case, applicants' undergraduate transcripts should reflect good grades, and students should earn a high score on the GRE.

Program Coursework

Au.D. program coursework emphasizes practical methods used to assist patients. Some programs allow students to choose an emphasis in particular areas of audiology. Students are exposed to the topics below:

  • Psychoacoustics
  • Human auditory electrophysiology
  • Peripheral hearing studies
  • Vestibular disorders
  • Auditory system physiology

Employment Outlook and Earnings Information

The BLS predicts job growth of about 37% for audiologists between 2010 and 2020, partly due to the increase in the number of people reaching old age during that time. The BLS notes that the average annual salary for audiologists in 2012 was $72,890.

Continuing Education Options

In addition to state licensure, audiologists can earn a voluntary Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The American Board of Audiology also offers professional credentials.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Audiology

People interested in the theoretical aspects of audiology often earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in the subject. Ph.D. programs in audiology emphasize the research methodology and statistical analyses used to gather and interpret data related to hearing. Students in audiology Ph.D. programs are required to complete a dissertation before earning their degree.

Educational Prerequisites

Many programs require Ph.D. students to hold a master's degree in speech and hearing science or an Au.D. before enrolling. Programs also require students to submit letters of academic reference and a personal statement.

Program Coursework

The coursework in audiology Ph.D. programs emphasizes a theoretical approach to hearing science through applied research and data analysis. Students conduct extensive work investigating the causes and symptoms of hearing disorders. The following subjects are often covered:

  • Neurology of auditory perception
  • Audiology research methods
  • Statistics for audiology
  • Audiology theory
  • Clinical techniques in audiology

Popular Career Options

Audiology Ph.D. programs provide students with a knowledge base applicable to many advanced careers in the field. Graduates often choose the careers listed below:

  • University professor
  • Audiology researcher
  • Audiology consultant
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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (16)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (6)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (3)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (7)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Currently not accepting applications from Texas residents
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    Which subject are you interested in?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    When are you looking to start?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants to master's programs at the University of Kansas must have already earned a bachelor's degree.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Master
        • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must have completed 12 college credits
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • California (19 campuses)
    • Washington (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Master
        • MA - Special Education (Applied Behavior Analyst)
    • Non-Degree
        • Certificate - Health Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
        • Audiology and Hearing Sciences
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
        • Audiology and Hearing Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences

Popular Schools

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics