Bureau of Labor Statistics

Audiologists

audiologists image
Audiologists fit and dispense hearing aids.
Quick Facts: Audiologists
2020 Median Pay $81,030 per year
$38.95 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Doctoral or professional degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2020 13,700
Job Outlook, 2020-30 16% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 2,100

Summary

What Audiologists Do

Audiologists diagnose, manage, and treat a patient’s hearing, balance, or ear problems.

Work Environment

Most audiologists work in healthcare facilities, such as physicians’ offices, audiology clinics, and hospitals. Some work in schools or for school districts, and travel between facilities. Others work in health and personal care stores.

How to Become an Audiologist

Audiologists need a doctoral degree and must be licensed in all states. Requirements for licensure vary by state.

Pay

The median annual wage for audiologists was $81,030 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of audiologists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 800 openings for audiologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for audiologists.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of audiologists with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about audiologists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Audiologists Do

Audiologists
Audiologists diagnose and treat a patient’s hearing, balance, or related ear problems.

Audiologists diagnose, manage, and treat a patient’s hearing, balance, or related ear problems.

Duties

Audiologists typically do the following:

  • Examine patients who have hearing, balance, or related ear problems
  • Assess the results of the examination and diagnose problems
  • Determine and administer treatment to meet patients’ goals
  • Provide treatment for tinnitus, a condition that causes ringing in the ear
  • Fit and dispense hearing aids
  • Counsel patients and their families on ways to listen and communicate, such as lip reading or through technology
  • Evaluate patients regularly to check on hearing and balance and to continue or change treatment plans
  • Record patient progress
  • Research the causes and treatment of hearing and balance disorders
  • Educate patients on ways to prevent hearing loss

Audiologists use audiometers, computers, and other devices to test patients’ hearing ability and balance. They work to determine the extent of hearing damage and identify the underlying cause. Audiologists measure the loudness at which a person begins to hear sounds and the person’s ability to distinguish between sounds and understand speech.

Before determining treatment options, audiologists evaluate psychological information to measure the impact of hearing loss on a patient. Treatment may include cleaning wax out of ear canals, fitting and checking hearing aids, or working with physicians to fit the patient with cochlear implants to improve hearing. Cochlear implants are tiny devices that are placed under the skin near the ear and deliver electrical impulses directly to the auditory nerve in the brain. This allows a person with certain types of deafness to be able to hear.

Audiologists also counsel patients on other ways to cope with profound hearing loss, such as lip reading or using technology.

Audiologists can help a patient suffering from vertigo or other balance problems. They work with patients and provide them with exercises involving head movement or positioning that might relieve some of their symptoms.

Some audiologists specialize in working with the elderly or with children. Others educate the public on hearing loss prevention. Audiologists may design products to help protect the hearing of workers on the job. Audiologists who are self-employed hire employees, keep records, order equipment and supplies, and complete other tasks related to running a business.

Work Environment

Audiologists
Audiologists identify symptoms of hearing loss and other auditory, balance, and related sensory and neural disorders.

Audiologists held about 13,700 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of audiologists were as follows:

Offices of physicians 26%
Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists 24
Hospitals; state, local, and private 15
Educational services; state, local, and private 10

Some audiologists travel between multiple facilities. Audiologists work closely with registered nurses, audiology assistants (a type of medical assistant), and other healthcare workers.

Work Schedules

Most audiologists work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week. Some work weekends and evenings to meet patients’ needs. Those who work on a contract basis may spend 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.

How to Become an Audiologist

Audiologists
Audiologists must be licensed in all states.

Audiologists need a doctoral degree and must be licensed in all states. Requirements for licensure vary by state.

Education

The doctoral degree in audiology (Au.D.) is a graduate program that typically takes 4 years to complete. 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. 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. Certification can be earned by graduating from an accredited doctoral program and passing a standardized exam. Certification may be required by some states or employers. Some states may allow certification in place of some education or training requirements needed for licensure.

Important 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 on teams with other healthcare providers and education specialists regarding patient care.

Compassion. Audiologists work with patients who may be frustrated or emotional because of their hearing or balance problems. They should be empathetic and 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, in order 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 determine the appropriate treatment or treatments to address them.

Pay

Audiologists

Median annual wages, May 2020

Healthcare diagnosing or treating practitioners

$84,430

Audiologists

$81,030

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for audiologists was $81,030 in May 2020. 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 $56,550, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $128,160.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for audiologists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private $86,940
Educational services; state, local, and private 83,500
Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists 80,230
Offices of physicians 78,680

Most audiologists work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week. Some may work weekends and evenings to meet patients’ needs. Those who work on a contract basis may spend time traveling between facilities.

Job Outlook

Audiologists

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Audiologists

16%

Healthcare diagnosing or treating practitioners

12%

Total, all occupations

8%

 

Employment of audiologists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 800 openings for audiologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Because audiologists is a small occupation, the fast growth is expected to result in only about 2,100 new jobs over the decade.

An aging baby-boom population and growing life expectancies will continue to increase the demand for most healthcare services. Hearing loss and balance disorders become more prevalent as people age, so the aging population is likely to increase demand for audiologists.

The early identification and diagnosis of hearing disorders in infants also may 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 the effects of hearing loss. This may lead to more demand for audiologists.

Employment projections data for audiologists, 2020-30

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Audiologists

SOC Code29-1181
Employment, 202013,700
Projected Employment, 203015,800
Percent Change, 2020-3016
Numeric Change, 2020-302,100
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of audiologists.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
nurse anesthetists nurse midwives and nurse practitioners image Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners coordinate patient care and may provide primary and specialty healthcare.

Master's degree $117,670
Optometrists Optometrists

Optometrists diagnose and treat visual problems and manage diseases, injuries, and other disorders of the eyes.

Doctoral or professional degree $118,050
Physical therapists Physical Therapists

Physical therapists help injured or ill people improve movement and manage pain.

Doctoral or professional degree $91,010
Physicians and surgeons Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses and address health maintenance.

Doctoral or professional degree This wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year.
Psychologists Psychologists

Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how individuals relate to one another and to their environments.

See How to Become One $82,180
Speech-language pathologists Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults.

Master's degree $80,480

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Audiologists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/audiologists.htm (visited October 01, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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