An educational audiologist is a specialist who works in a school environment with children and adolescents who have hearing loss. According to a 2008 poll, around 14% of audiologists in the United States are educational audiologists. To become an educational audiologist, you should take the prerequisite undergraduate courses, apply to and enroll in a graduate-level audiology program, and gain the licensure that is necessary in your state or country.
Before deciding to become an educational audiologist, you should determine whether you have the necessary skills and interests. An educational audiologist should be very patient, because students with hearing loss may make progress more slowly than others. You should also be good with children and be able to communicate well with them, and with their teachers and parents.
Next, you should research and enroll in an appropriate undergraduate program. Recommended undergraduate majors include communication, communication disorders or life sciences. If you already have a bachelor's degree, you may need to take a few prerequisite courses, such as communication, biology or psychology before enrolling in graduate courses.
In order to become an educational audiologist, you must have at least a master's degree in audiology. A doctorate degree of audiology (Au.D.), however, is usually preferred and will give you a competitive edge. An Au.D. program usually takes about four years to complete. Either a master's or an Au.D. will help prepare you for a career in educational audiology by providing knowledge and research opportunities. An educational audiologist must understand different types of hearing loss and how hearing loss effects linguistic, cognitive and social development in children.
In addition to completing academic programs, you must become licensed in your state or country as a audiologist. Requirements for this licensure vary by location, but generally require passing a test and completing a period of supervised practice in audiology. Some states in the US honor a national certification standard, available through the American Board of Audiology. You should research the requirements to become an educational audiologist in the state or country where you wish to practice.
Once you have completed the necessary training and certification, you are ready to seek employment in a school or school district. Some large schools may have an audiologist on staff. In other situations, a single audiologist may serve a group of schools or an entire district.