An audiologist is a healthcare professional that works at identifying, assessing, and managing disorders of hearing, balance and other neural systems in patients of all ages. Part of their work can involve the selection, fit, and dispensation of hearing aids and other listening devices. Furthermore, audiologists can educate patients on the effects of noise on hearing and conduct research that helps to advance the identification, prevention, and management of hearing-related disorders. 

Job Settings

Most audiologists work in healthcare settings such as physicians’ offices, specific audiology clinics, or hospitals (73.5%).1 Some work in educational settings (15.6%)1 which may require commuting between multiple facilities. Others work in health care or personal care stores.

Daily Responsibilities

A clinical audiologist will usually begin by performing diagnostic testing (checking a patient's hearing using a variety of tools and methods). Based on the results, a patient will usually go on to meet with a medical doctor who will evaluate or treat their concerns. They may also troubleshoot hearing devices or take a patient through an educational hearing aid evaluation. Additionally, they may counsel patients and their families on a number of related matters.

Important Skills

An audiologist should be collaborative and willing to work on interdisciplinary medical teams. Optimal care involves a high level of cultural competence and respect towards patients and their families. Effective communication skills are also necessary, as the occupation often involves communicating on behalf of patients as a referral agent. A more complete description of an Audiologist’s Roles and Responsibilities can be found here.

Specialty Areas

Some specialization areas within audiology include Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Balance, Cochlear implants, Hearing aids, Tinnitus, and Auditory processing.2 


The 2020 median pay for an audiologist was $81,030 per year. With audiologists in North Dakota making an average of $123,870 per year, while an audiologist in Mississippi or New Hampshire makes an average of $70,000 per year, it is true that salary is highly variable by location.3

Job Outlook

The projected percent change in employment from 2019 to 2029 is 13%, which means that the career is growing much faster than average. In 2019, there were estimated to be around 13,800 total audiologists in the United States. However, because it is a small field, this will result in around 1,800 jobs in the next 10 years.3

Pros and Cons


  • High earning potential
  • Fast-growing field
  • Great employment benefits: health insurance, sick leave, pension plan, paid vacation
  • Rewarding: Audiologists help patients better understand their hearing


  • Licensure and Advanced Degree is required (see below)
  • May require working with challenging patients
  • Continuing education during the job is also required

Career Paths

To become an audiologist, undergraduate coursework in communication science and disorders is usually required, but generally it is not necessary to have majored in it. Some additional prerequisites may have to be completed before applying to graduate school. It is standard for new audiologists to earn a doctoral degree before practicing, the degree is usually referred to as the Au.D. Typically, it takes four years to complete the doctorate. Currently, there are around 75 programs in the United States. All states require some form of licensing in addition to a doctorate (usually a written and/or practical exam), and most require continuing education credits. There are several other forms of certification that can be obtained to improve your standing in the profession. 

Preparing for Graduate School

There are lots of different Au.D. programs, many of which require very different prerequisites. Therefore, it is best to consult each program’s prerequisites individually. For example, the University of Connecticut’s program requires at least one life science course (such as anatomy and physiology, human biology, or other similar courses), at least one physical science course (physics, general chemistry, etc.), at least one social science course (psychology, sociology, or human development), at least one college-level algebra course or higher or statistics. Students with non-traditional backgrounds (i.e. without undergraduate coursework in communication disorders) are advised to seek additional coursework in the Au.D. program or carry out independent research or study. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, it is required that students who do not have a background in Communication Disorders enter the Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Clinical Program in Communication Disorders. See here for a complete list of programs. Programs usually look at students' academic records, performance on the GRE, and letters of recommendation. 

Application Timeline

According to the Student Academy of Audiology, all programs require an application, personal statements, transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation from academic or clinical faculty. The timeline below is a general timeline for most programs, but it’s important to check each program for deadlines and required materials. 

  • Research/Application process: June – December
  • Application process: September – December
  • Applications due: December 1 – February 15
  • Interviews (if applicable): February – March
  • Offers made by graduate programs to students: March 15
  • Offers accepted/declined by students: April 15
  • Graduate school begins: August/September

Many schools use the CSDCAS (Communication Science and Disorders Centralized Application Service) which is specifically designed for audiology and speech language pathology graduate school. This application does require fees. 

Financing Your Education

According to the Student Academy of Audiology, in 2017 the average program cost was around $100,0003. There is not much information on national average costs, so it is best to seek out each individual program for more specific details.

Additional Resources

Planning Your Applications

Audiology programs have different requirements and application timelines. To plan for your application, it's a good idea to put together a spreadsheet to track each school's requirements including prerequisite courses, entrance exam, letter of recommendation, observation hours, timeline, and any other requirements. A template spreadsheet can be found here. Feel free to download and adapt to your purposes.