I have been an audiologist for 31 years. When I graduated from the University of South Florida in 1985, the degree earned was a Masters Degree. Along the way, audiology transitioned into a doctorate degree. Those of us already practicing were grandfathered in and were not required to obtain the degree, but could do so if desired. Several distance-learning programs were developed across the country to enable established audiologists to return to school while working and earn the Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree.
Two years ago I decided to apply to A. T. Still University, Arizona School of Health Sciences, in Mesa, AZ. I was accepted and started March 1, 2015. Over the next 18 months I took continuous classes, sometimes 2 at a time, while working. Class chats were held at 9:00pm (one time per week, per class) over the Internet. Chapters were read, papers written, PowerPoint’s developed in the evenings, over lunch, and on the weekends. Quizzes, tests, and exams completed. I enjoyed the learning (not the exams!) and was able to connect with audiologists from all over the world in my classes. It was interesting to learn how things are done in Canada, or Australia, or South Africa. Similarities, for sure, but also some differences. Having such a worldwide melting pot in our classes provided new ideas and opinions to consider.
Finally, last month, I completed my last two classes and attended graduation ceremonies in Mesa! At last I was able to meet my classmates face-to-face! I was even able to meet one of my Australian classmates who traveled to the US for graduation. It was a great experience, from the day I interviewed for the program until the day I graduated. I was recently asked if I would do it over again, knowing now what was involved. I absolutely would, but I am glad I do not have to! I am enjoying having evenings and weekends back again!