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What is Audiology?

Audiology was born out of the armed forces rehabilitation programs during and following World War II. Academics from disciplines such as deaf education, speech pathology, psychology, and other scientific backgrounds invented the early testing, auditory training, and amplification protocols needed to meet the needs of thousands of WWII veterans with hearing loss. These events, combined with the concurrent development of the equipment necessary to evaluate hearing, formed the early seeds of the profession we know today as audiology.

Since the 1950s, audiology has evolved from a combination of disciplines (mostly within the domain of speech pathology) to an independent profession consisting of approximately 12,000 audiologists in the US. Today's audiology profession is defined by:

  • a desire for autonomous practice

  • doctoral-level academic training programs

  • the formation of an independent credentialing entity

  • a greatly expanded scope of practice

  • legislation to allow direct patient access to audiologists

Audiology has been largely influenced by the inclusion of hearing aid dispensing in the scope of practice. Originally, audiologists could recommend amplification, but could not dispense. In the early days of the profession, academic societies questioned the ethics of audiology practitioners who chose to combine hearing evaluation and hearing aid dispensing in their practices. The Academy of Doctors of Audiology was formed in 1976 as the Academy of Dispensing Audiologists to support those early pioneers who both recommended and fit hearing aids. The result was that audiologists moved beyond technician status; practices expanded to include both diagnosis and treatment.

The additional revenue provided by hearing aid sales resulted in more opportunities for independent practice. The trend continues to this day with more and more audiologists seeking autonomous professional status.

About the Audiology Degree

Occupational Therapy (OT) Program Search:​​

  • Degree Options Offered:

    • To become an occupational therapist, you must first receive a Master’s (MOT) or Doctoral degree (OTD) from an accredited program. If money or time is a constraint, consider getting an associate’s degree and become an occupational therapy assistant (OTA). 

  • Entry Requirements:

    • Most MOT and OTD programs require the GRE (Graduate Record Examination). If you struggle with taking standardized exams consider only applying to schools that don’t require this of their applicants. Universities abroad mostly do not require this exam for entry into the program, visit the Occupational Therapy Program Search Abroad section for more information.

  • Accreditation:

    • Accreditation is a system for recognizing educational institutions and professional programs affiliated with those institutions for a level of performance and quality which entitles them to the confidence of the educational community and the public they serve. If your Master’s (MOT), Doctoral degree (OTD), occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program is not accredited you will not be eligible to sit for the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam and obtain your license to practice post-graduation.  

  • OTCAS:

    • The Occupational Therapy and Occupational Therapy Assistant Centralized Application Service (OTCAS & OTACAS) is a program of the American Occupational Therapy Association. This online system allows prospective students to use one application to apply to multiple participating OT and OTA programs through a single application process. Many programs utilize OTCAS, however, some schools do not so do your research beforehand. 

  • Diversity & Inclusion:

    • Although numerous programs will emphasize diversity and inclusion, it is important to understand what that means. During your search of OT programs, don’t be afraid to ask “what does diversity look like within this program?”, “what efforts has this program made in the last 5 years to show their commitment to a diversified student body and administration?”, “what resources are in place to maintain a diverse academic environment, both inside and outside of the classroom (workshops/lectures on diversity-related topics, community outreach, clinical rotations, inter- and intra-disciplinary collaborations, etc.)?” OT is a rigorous program, so make sure that you are selecting a program that is committed to your success, supports you, and provides you with the resources and tools you need for retention. 

  • Cost:

    • Significant factors to consider in regards to cost include expected tuition increase based on the yearly budget, scholarship opportunities, as well as living expenses and cost of living. Some institutions offer merit scholarships as well as need-based scholarships that will cover some portion of tuition, inquire about this with the school's Office of Registrar. 

  • Facilities:

    • You should look for the facilities provided by the OT school, the different labs (for example - Biomechanics labs, anatomy lab, smart simulation lab, assistive technology lab, and an activities-of-daily-living area containing a real kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and laundry space.)

    • Does the OT program offer a wide range of interprofessional academic and clinical experiences, including an on-campus OT clinic, clinical outreach activities, and fieldwork opportunities?

  • Other Factors:

    • It is also important to explore the structure of the curriculum, national ranking, accreditation, and class-size. In addition to the program overview, the program’s website may also have a student ambassador-run blog addressing various topics for prospective students. Questions to consider in evaluating program curriculum:

      • Does the curriculum seem innovative and/or progressive? When was the last time there was a change in curriculum?

        • Do you prefer traditional lectures, online learning, break-out workshops, case studies, or another method? Does this curriculum offer a learning style that works for you? (Keep in mind that your learning style may change throughout pharmacy school, as this is a rigorous program.)

          • Do you prefer to work/study independently or to work with classmates on projects? (Programs aim to distribute learning evenly among both methods, but ultimately utilize one more than the other at various stages in the curriculum.)

      • Weekend/hybrid or part-time option

        • Some OT schools offer part-time, weekend classes, or hybrid classes (campus + online teaching). These are great options for those who need to be able to work while in graduate school.  

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