Online PhD programs in audiology prepare future audiologists to become full-fledged practitioners. Designed for students who have some background in audiology, speech pathology, physiology, or related fields, these programs focus on giving students the skills they need to diagnose and treat hearing loss. While enrolled, students will learn about auditory learning, hearing aids, and speech. They will also conduct research and gain hands-on experience in clinical settings. Finally, students will also hone their communication skills.
Because technology is playing an increasingly important role in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing and speech disorders, many programs have components that encourage students to familiarize themselves with medical equipment. For students that wish to open their own practices, some universities provide classes in management, legal studies, and practice management. Students also have the option of learning about marketing, human resources, and risk management. However, even programs that include courses on the business side of operating an audiology practice require students to learn about hearing loss, auditory pathology, rehabilitation, and treatment methods.
About Online PhD Programs in Audiology
Audiology doctorate programs online consist of classes that build upon students' knowledge of health. They are structured to teach students about the structure of the ear, auditory neurology, the diseases and disorders that affect hearing, and ways to manage pathological programs. The best audiology doctorate online programs include classes in ethics, professional responsibility, and hearing technology. In addition, students will conduct research, write papers, and practice in clinical environments under the supervision of professional audiologists. Specific examples of classes are provided in the list below, which is derived from A.T. Still University‘s Doctor of Audiology transitional distance program.
- Auditory and Vestibular Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology. An advanced look at the diagnostic and treatment measures used in audiology, this course teaches students about the physiology and function of the nervous system and the audiovestibular system.
- Infection Control. This class addresses the ways in which audiologists can practice in a clean and safe environment, while maintaining health standards and preventing the transfer of infection.
- Treatment of Central Auditory Processing Disorders. By exploring the central auditory nervous system, this course instructs students on how to identify and analyze disorders. They will also learn about how hearing aids can help alleviate some disorders.
- Cochlear Implants. This class serves as an introduction to the function and use of cochlear implants for treating hearing impairment. Students will learn about evaluating cases, programming the implants, and performing follow-up assessments.
- Pediatric Audiology. This class specifically addresses auditory development of children from the embryonic state onwards.
- Corporate and Legal Aspects of Practice. This course serves as a guide to the legal aspects of acting as an audiology practitioner, as well as an introduction to the corporate side of health care.
While some online PhD programs for audiology may require students to complete a dissertation, others require students to conduct a clinical research project instead. During these clinical research projects, students will investigate and research a topic relevant to current audiology practices. They will then develop ideas, which they will write in the form of a research paper. Before graduating, students will also need to participate in clinical rotations, where they will practice what they have learned under the supervision of a practicing audiologist. For online students, these rotations may take place in their current locations.
Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Audiology
Audiology doctorate programs online are a good choice for students who want to become full-fledged practitioners. Students who are comfortable working with patients and who enjoy learning about physiology and pathology can also benefit from an audiology degree. Interest in research is important, as the audiology doctoral program requires students to conduct research frequently. Students who only want to work as audiology assistants may want to consider pursuing a master's degree, rather than a doctorate. The doctorate degree is primarily geared toward students who want to become audiologists or post secondary instructors.
When it comes to completing audiology course work online, students have the opportunity to set their own schedules and complete assignments on their own time. However, classes do have deadlines, so it's important for students to be self-motivated and organized without the aid of structured class times. And as many online audiology programs require clinical hours as part of the curriculum, it's important for online students to look into whether or not they have access to clinics or hospitals in their area. Students who do not live close to audiology clinics may want to consider contacting their university's admissions office to learn about the options they have for completing clinical rotations.
Application & Admission Requirements
Online audiology graduate programs require students to have at least a bachelor's degree before they are eligible to apply. Some programs also require students to hold master's degrees within the field. Typically, students must have maintained at least a 3.0 GPA during their previous course work, and many programs require students to have taken specific undergraduate or graduate course work. In addition, students may also be required to complete the Graduate Record Exam. Other application components may include personal statements, resumes, essays, and interviews. Previous health care experience is beneficial as well.
Career Options & Job Market
Graduates from auditory programs typically go on to become audiologists. Audiologists have the option of opening their own practices or working for clinics, hospitals, and other health care facilities. They earn an average annual salary of $66,660, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the field is growing faster than the average career. By 2020, it should expand by approximately 37%. Graduates who enjoy audiology but who do not wish to become practitioners can become college-level instructors. The BLS reports that postsecondary teachers earn an average of $62,050 annually.
Where to Find Information
- American Academy of Audiology A professional association that promotes research and professional development within the field of audiology.
- Education Audiology Association An association that brings professionals from across the board together for advocacy and continuing education. It is primarily geared toward pediatric audiologists.
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association For professionals within audiology, speech, and language fields, this association provides resources, networking opportunities, and publications.
How to Get Funding
Many professional associations like the ones listed above hold seasonal opportunities for aid for up-and-coming audiology professionals. They provide fellowship programs, grant programs, and scholarship opportunities. In addition, there are often local and city-wide financial aid opportunities that students can utilize. The federal government also provides loan and grant programs, as indicated below.
- Federal Direct Stafford Loan. This is a federally-issued loan that provides up to $20,500 years for graduate students. It has a fixed interest rate of 6.8%.
- Federal Perkins Loan. Another loan option, the Federal Perkins Loan is awarded based on financial need. Students can acquire up to $3,500 annually at a fixed interest rate of 5%.
- Campus-Based Aid. All accredited institutions participate in federal aid programs, but many of them also have their own financial aid programs available to students.
- Take health classes as an undergraduate student. In particular, try to take course work pertaining to the central nervous system and audiology. This will help prepare you for graduate-level course work within the field.
- Try to get some work or internship experience in health care. This will make your resume stand out among other candidates, and will show admissions officers that you are well-prepared for an audiology Ph.D. program.
- If you run into any problems during the application process, don't be afraid to contact admissions departments. They want to help you with any questions you may have.
- If you are having trouble picking a program, try contacting professors to learn more about their qualifications and research interests. That way you'll know if a program will meet your needs and wants.