Audiology Doctoral Student Conquers First Year Challenge

Over my years at Gardner Audiology, I’ve had many patients ask what it takes to become an Audiologist. Many are surprised to learn how extensive our education is, so I am giving you the scoop as a current Audiology doctoral student.

Currently, most students begin with a four-year Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences & Disorders, although it is not required to apply to the graduate program. Once you have received this degree, you can apply to a four-year graduate program. Within the past ten years, Audiology has moved from a Master’s degree to a Doctorate of Audiology. In the state of Florida, there are only three schools that offer an Audiology graduate program: University of South Florida (go Bulls!), University of Florida, and Nova Southeastern University. They are all very competitive programs. As I attend University of South Florida (USF), I will focus on their requirements. In order to apply, you should have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, a letter of intent, three letters of recommendation, and high GRE scores (a standardized test). On average, there are between 90 and 120 applications per year and typically only 15 are accepted.

If you are accepted, your grueling first year is spent mastering the fundamentals and practicing skills on fellow classmates. We are required to obtain B’s or higher; a C is considered failing. At the end of the year, you take a comprehensive exam covering all of the material you have learned. If you pass the exam, you are able to enter your second year and begin seeing patients in the USF clinic. Through your second year, you continue seeing patients, taking classes, and typically begin your doctoral project. This is an extensive research project you must complete in order to graduate that can take anywhere from one to three years. Once your second year is complete, you again take a comprehensive exam in order to move on to your third year. Then, you begin what’s called a clerkship, where you spend each semester at an Audiology clinic off campus learning from practicing Audiologists as well as continuing classes at USF. At this point, many begin taking the national exam you must pass to become an Audiologist. Fourth year, we have an externship at one placement to gain experience and independence before graduating and earning our Doctorate of Audiology (AuD).

I have currently just finished my first year and passed my first-year exam! Next week, my class and I will begin seeing patients, which is as scary as it is exciting! This is something we have been working hard for, and will continue to work hard for the next three years so that when we graduate, we can be the Audiologists you need us to be.

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