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Audiologists - What They Do

How to Advance (Advancement)
With experience, audiologists can advance to open their own private practice. Audiologists working in hospitals and clinics can advance to management or supervisory positions.

Audiologists held about 12,800 jobs in 2008. About 64 percent of all jobs were in healthcare facilities—offices of physicians or other health practitioners, including audiologists; hospitals; and outpatient care centers. About 14 percent of jobs were in educational services. Other jobs for audiologists were in health and personal care stores and in State and local governments.

Job Outlook
Much faster than average employment growth is projected. However, because of the small size of the occupation, few job openings are expected. Job prospects will be favorable for those possessing the Au.D. degree.

Job Growth
Employment of audiologists is expected to grow 25 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than average for all occupations. Hearing loss is strongly associated with aging, so increased growth in older population groups will cause the number of people with hearing and balance impairments to increase markedly.

Medical advances also are improving the survival rate of premature infants and trauma victims, who then need assessment and sometimes treatment. Greater awareness of the importance of early identification and diagnosis of hearing disorders in infants also will increase employment. In addition to medical advances, technological advances in hearing aids may drive demand. Digital hearing aids have become smaller in size and also have quality improving technologies like reducing feedback. Demand may be spurred by those who switch from analog to digital hearing aids, as well as those who will desire new or first-time hearing aids because they are becoming less visible.

Employment in educational services will increase along with growth in elementary and secondary school enrollments, including enrollment of special education students.

Growth in employment of audiologists will be moderated by limitations on reimbursements made by third-party payers for the tests and services they provide.

Job prospects will be favorable for those possessing the Au.D. degree. Only a few job openings for audiologists will arise from the need to replace those who leave the occupation, because the occupation is relatively small and workers tend to stay in this occupation until they retire. Demand may be greater in areas with large numbers of retirees, so audiologists who are willing to relocate may have the best job prospects.

Median annual wages of audiologists were $62,030 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $50,470 and $78,380. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $40,360, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $98,880. Some employers may pay for continuing education courses. About 15 percent of audiologists were union members or covered under union contracts in 2008.

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