Air Force Audiologist?

Discussion in 'Audiology [ Au.D ]' started by TheAuDfather, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. TheAuDfather

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    I'm a 2nd year AuD student and have recently starting thinking about joining the air force. Here's what I know so far:

    1. Air Force does offer a 4th year externship
    2. Joining the AF as an AuD, you start with a commission as an O-3, with all the pay, benefits and responsibilities thereof.
    3. The 4th year externship is located in Lackland AFB, TX
    4. After graduating, the AF requires 3 additional years of Active Duty Service
    5. Most AuD duty rotations are in the US, but there are four locations overseas where an AF AuD can be stationed (England, Italy, Germany & Japan).

    So i'm wondering if there are any audiologists who are currently serving in the Air Force that would be willing to chat to answer some other questions that I have. Before pursuing the AF, I'd like to know about things like deployment schedule/duration, advancement opportunities/requirements etc. I would love to hear from anyone who can give me the inside scoop!
     
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  3. cmc271

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    Check your PMs
     
  4. Remibelle

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    I also have been wondering about this as well. If you find any info would you mind emailing it to me as well? It would be greatly appreciated!
     
  5. sierradawn0

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    Having grown up in the Air Force, I've definitely put some thought into eventually joining as an audiologist. I'd love to be able to combine two things I love so much, and it helps that the benefits you'd receive as an officer in the AF are pretty great.

    I'd love to hear about anything you manage to find out! :)
     
  6. TheEarDoc

    TheEarDoc Audiologist
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    The air force is a great audiology gig. One of my colleagues is currently stationed overseas and loves it! In the beginning it was very boring they said because they were really slow in letting them take over in clinic (this person was a full fledged AuD. who was done with her 4th year before joining up). She does a lot of hearing conservation work and also does a lot of screenings, but does get to do hearing aids if needed and other electrophys testing such as ECOG, ABR, and ASSR. She also does a little balance with VNG's.

    In the navy a 4th year starts out I believe at the grade below an officer then after getting your AuD. you are bumped up to officer pay. In the air force you are an officer during your 4th year from what I've read and heard.

    If you don't have a significant other or don't mind being away from your family it's an awesome gig in either the Navy or Air Force, plus you will get priority hiring over anyone else if you plan on joining the VA.

    If I could do my career in Audiology all over again, I would have done the Air Force for 3 years (including my 4th year) and then joined up with the VA. I was lucky enough to slide into a VA spot after some years in the private hospital sector, but I love the VA and everyone I've talked to who has done military Audiology has loved it and used it as a way to a VA career.
     
  7. sierradawn0

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    I can't attest to the Navy's dependent situation, but in the Air Force, your family/dependents travel with you (or at least have the option to, I guess). The AF is a very family-focused branch. I've lived all over the place growing up with a parent in the AF. Don't know that I'd seriously consider going in otherwise!
     
  8. TheAuDfather

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    For those who have also expressed interest: I'm replying to my own post.

    I recently spoke w/the Air Force Audiology coordinator. His answer to my biggest question was that Audiologists in the Air Force are not deployment eligible. He did say, however, that if you plan to make the AF a long-term career, at some point you will have to do CBE's (Career Broadening Experience), which will involve working in something outside of audiology for a couple of years.

    The AF appears to offer the highest paygrade (rank & money), compared to the Navy and Army... so, like a few others have said, the AF appears to be the best option, unless you are specifically interested in the ship-life (Navy).

    I don't have any info re: audiology in the Army, though. In any case, based on what the coordinator told me, I am definitely going to apply for the AF as soon as I'm eligible.

    *p.s. All three (AF, Navy, Army) allow you to join as a 4th year extern during which you will receive a paycheck; and from what I can tell, it's more money than you would see in just about any civilian 4th year placement so if that matters to you, that's something to think about.
     
  9. EdemaKNN

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    I was just curious if you knew what the time agreement is after the 4th year extern, what is the minimum amount of years you need to put if you join? I have thrown this idea back and forth for awhile but am still undecided. Never mind, I just read the answer in your first post.
     
    #8 EdemaKNN, Sep 19, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  10. GJ78

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    Does anybody know what the age requirement is to join the Air Force Audiology Fellowship Program?

    Audfather, since you spoke to the Air Force person in charge of the fellowship program, do you happen to know the answer to this question?

    Your reply will be greatly appreciated!
     
  11. AuDacity

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    I wanted to pay this one forward, as someone helped me with this information.

    I recently had the pleasure to travel to San Antonio and I made the trek to Wilford Hall (calling ahead to get through the gate at Lackland, of course!) to speak with the 4th year Externship coordinator for the Air Force. I received his permission to talk about our discussion and to provide his name for anyone who wants to ask questions, though I'd recommend asking only questions that aren't readily available on the Internet. It so happens that is a lot of information. His name is down at the bottom of the post.

    Everything that was previously stated was re-confirmed, however he had a bit more information about the other branches. The military in general is heavily invested in hearing conservation, however the AF is one of the few that also does diagnostics. I got to see the Wilford Hall clinic and there was a full suite of vestib. testing, including something I had never heard of, and can't remember either. The majority of your clinical population are the 18-30 somethings who either had a red flag during other physicals (as Lackland is the AF ensign 'boot camp' if you will), or as a result of public health officers responding to complaints about noise levels.

    I previously said the AF does more diagnostics than the other branches, however he was adamant that the military's primary goal is hearing conservation, not diagnostics, as finding out something is wrong doesn't help the mission of putting boots on the ground, or in the air as it were. As such, he heavily emphasized the importance of the army (mentioning possible deployments at FOBs and the like) and the navy (boat life) missions and wanted to heavily emphasize the importance of those branches. He even off-handedly mentioned that the Army seemed to have more money for audiology.

    After the externship, you are almost certainly guaranteed to be sent off somewhere. He listed about 3-4 bases that have more than one audiologists, but for the rest, you would be the singular audiologist and clinic head.

    A brief overview of the process: After getting in contact with an Allied Health officer, you are put in a pool of candidates. This candidate pool can range from 10 to 50 or more, depending on the year. However, the AF chronically only has 1-3 spots for externships, with this year having 2 and the previous year having 1. In addition, the government can decide to reduce some funding and consequently remove additional externship spots (not specifically, but the result is the same).

    The AF will interview folks regardless of how many spots they have (this was my impression) and that will factor into your candidacy along with GPA (less important) and extracurriculars (presented as very important). They will also ask you questions concerning how many of your hours were hands-on, so it would be good to keep track of that. They will be interested in your hearing aid time, vestib. time, and time spent with industrial/hearing conservation. Any extra curriculars that are focused on this will also be highly helpful.

    Finally, they will tap the highest ranking candidates (determined by a group of air force audiologists) and extend an offer to them. The highest ranking candidates may have agreed to another commitment during this time, much like college, so those on the wait list may be those who are given the offer instead. You will then spend 5 weeks at COT in Alabama and then, after graduation, have 2 days to report to duty at Lackland. All information about COT can be located here (http://www.afoats.af.mil/ots/)

    I will post more when I get my thoughts together, but hopefully this has provided some help.

    All thanks go to Dr. Sierra-Irizarry for providing this information. He said he would be fine with people asking questions or e-mailing him, and I intend to still do so throughout my Audiology schooling. I will furnish his e-mail upon request, but don't want to put it out where it can be easily viewed so he doesn't get inundated with spam.
     
    #10 AuDacity, Jun 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
  12. sierradawn0

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    Thanks for sharing all that info, AuDacity!
     
  13. arrowgirlie

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    I second sierradawn.
    I've been very interested in pursuing the Air Force externship, so it's definitely helpful to get a description of the process. The amount of applicants vs. available externships make it a long shot, but it never hurts to try. :)
     
  14. TheEarDoc

    TheEarDoc Audiologist
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    If you are wanting to get into the VA system then my suggestion would be go Airforce for your 4th year and do your tour, then you get first preference as a veteran for any VA job listings. You practically will get just about any VA gig that is open provided another veteran audiologist isn't applying with more experience.

    If I could do it over again as an Audiologist (if I could do it all over again I wouldn't be an audiologist, but that's been listed here in previous posts so look them up if you want to know why) I would have went Air Force, then went to the VA right after my tour.

    Being a veteran has a lot of great perks from loan repayment to mortgages and other perks in the VA system.

    Good luck to all of you and for those of you who sign up to serve, thank you for your service to our country!:thumbup:
     
  15. CDLissa

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    I am already a veteran of the Army. So needless to say I will not being doing the Air Force externship program. I do think it is an amazing opportunity. After schooling (or even for my 4th year) my dream is to work for the VA. Will my Veteran's status help or no since I was not an audiologist when I was in the military?
     
  16. WBrown999

    WBrown999 Texas Native Son
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    I appreciate the information, AuDacity. I am looking into the AF externship as well. Presently, I am going into my third year of my AuD. Having worked in the main VA in Houston for the past year has interested me greatly in military audiology and culture.

    Do you have Dr. Sierra-Irizarry's contact information by chance? I would be interested in talking.
     
  17. TheAuDfather

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    Hey AuDacity, thanks for sharing the information you got from Colonel Sierra. I just wanted to update everyone. I started my Air Force application, and earlier this week, the Air Force recruiter contacted me and informed me that the Air Force has pulled the plug for the upcoming year and will not be taking any externs for the year 2014. There may still be opportunities to join up upon graduation, but as far as externships go, the Air Force is not going to offer any for the upcoming year. At this point, best bet for military externships would be Army or Navy.
     
  18. WBrown999

    WBrown999 Texas Native Son
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    TheAuDfather,

    Did the recruiter specifically say they have pulled the plug altogether, or would they still allow a volunteer?
     
  19. TheEarDoc

    TheEarDoc Audiologist
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    You will be given veteran preference and placed at the top of the applicants. The application system works on a points system. Veterans get a huge amount of points for veteran status in the hiring process. So it will work in your favor even if you weren't an audiologist in the military.
     
  20. CDLissa

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    Great! That is what I was hoping for.
     
  21. 2017AuD

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    You will get veteran's preference points. You get twice as many points if you have a documented service related disability.
     
  22. AuDacity

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    Just to update folks - the Air Force is NOT taking applicants again for the 4th Yr Fellowship for 2015-2016.

    Because of the force draw down, this may be the way of things for the foreseeable future.
     
  23. TheEarDoc

    TheEarDoc Audiologist
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    Yep. luckily my friend wasn't forced out yet. I would have been if I had went through with joining the Air Force in 2010 because I would have been low man on the totem pole.

    Quite sad that Audiologists are being forced out by the military. Kind of a step in the wrong direction if you ask me, but oh well.
     
  24. AuDacity

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    Ancient revival-bump.

    Now an Air Force Audiologist, after having spent time in the VA as well, so I can answer questions that individuals may have about the process from the AF side. I have been through most pitfalls that you can have during the process, so there is a high likelihood I can answer most questions - at least related to the process. It is not likely that I can answer every question, but feel free to PM for more info. It's an interesting process, to be certain!
     
  25. Ukefish

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    Hi AuDacity,

    I'm very interested and would like to contact you with some questions about the application process but I wasn't able to start a private conversation with you for some reason. Would you mind enabling the feature for private conversations or perhaps sending me a quick PM?
     

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