Audiology & Salary

Discussion in 'Audiology [ Au.D ]' started by lvlv, Dec 25, 2017.

  1. lvlv

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    Greetings :)

    I'm a sophomore female undergraduate majoring in Speech & Hearing Science with a concentration in audiology, also pursuing a minor in psychology. Being an audiologist is my dream! I am hearing impaired myself, so I've had plenty of exposure to audiologists and have seen what they do and how they do it up close. I know this would be the field for me! However, I am admittedly concerned about the salary in the profession. I plan on applying to AuD and joint AuD/PhD programs and I've heard from various sources that after the completion of either graduate program, you can expect to be in about $100K worth of debt. This, of course, is not something I am happy to hear (no pun intended) considering I'm already going to be in about $35K debt from my undergraduate degree. Furthermore, the average audiologist salary is between 60K-75K and I've heard of some starting audiologists making only $25K~yikes!

    So I was wondering:
    -Is the salary of an audiologist solely dependant on experience?
    -Does the type of degree (AuD or PhD) and/or number of degrees (AuD & PhD) you have impact your salary?
    -Does where you work impact your salary? (I personally would prefer to work in a hospital setting).

    As much as I love audiology, I don't want to financially struggle when I get older. Financial stability is a must for me, and I want to be able to keep up with my loan payments. Perhaps, do you think that audiologists may potentially earn more in the future? (I won't officially be an audiologist until 6 or 7 years from now).

    I am not "money-hungry" (so please no negative comments) but I do care about being able to financially provide for myself, and possibly a family one day, while living comfortably.

    With that being said, should I stop now, while I have the chance, and give up on my dream? :( Or should I move forward in hopes that things change for the better in the profession?

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! :) Thank you!

    Sent from my [device_name] using SDN mobile
     
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  3. DefEarRing

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    Hi :wave: I’m also a sophomore undergrad and am hard of hearing. I’m deaf in my right ear due to an Acoustic Neuroma. Which I’ve had for about a decade and recently removed, but it has put me on my path to Audiologist. I won’t give up my dream for any amount of debt, honestly. I am applying to schools that offer in-state tuition and some out of state schools but they have great assistantship as and grants available form Au.D students. I also plan to get dual degrees but we will have to see. :)

    Best of luck to you! My best advice is to research grad schools in which you’d like to attend, how much is their tuition, what kind of grants do they offer, etc.
     
    #2 DefEarRing, Dec 25, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
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  4. lvlv

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    Thank you very much for your response!
    I'm deaf in my left ear due to meningitis. I've had my hearing loss since I was six months old. Best of luck to you as well! :)

    Sent from my [device_name] using SDN mobile
     
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  5. DefEarRing

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    You’re very welcome!

    Do you wearing a hearing aid for your SSD? I’m still on the fence about it. My cochlear nerve was cut during surgery so a cochlear implant is not an option for me but, I can have the BAHA. Not sure about another surgery though.

    The Audiologist I am shadowing mainly works with military folks, and she is making a pretty good income. Roughly 90000. So, there are options to make good money, but it depends on where you’re willing to live. We reside in or near Maryland.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  6. lvlv

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    Yes it did, thanks a ton! And yes, I use an assistive listening device for my SSD when I'm in academic settings. Otherwise, I do not wear anything for it (which is really not all that bad).

    Best of luck to you!

    Sent from my LGMP450 using SDN mobile
     
  7. AuDacity

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    Hello there,
    There are some others who may be able to elaborate a bit more on the typical Audiologist who is in the average salary range. I want to make it clear that your salary is going to be HIGHLY dependent on a few things, so there are some options available to lessen the blow:

    1. Not solely, no. Your salary is much more dependent on your career path than your years of experience. Many fields are going to start out similarly, but the area of Audiology you engage in, plus your years in the field (or energy to accept a lot of responsibility early-on) are what will vector you to very, very different mid-career salaries. For example: Manufacturing - Audiologists who start in Manufacturing (working for a Hearing aid company) who decide to be a field rep are going to likely start out as an associate overseen by a regional rep. They can get bonuses that pull in a pretty good salary, but it's the regional rep who is typically pulling in six-figures.

    It's a pretty different job than what you will learn in the majority of your university coursework, as most reps are going to take in-house training to become experts on one particular manufacturer's brand.

    A hospital Audiologist may never break six-figures unless they become a clinic manager.

    A school Audiologist may never get anywhere close to that unless there are extenuating circumstances, or they are in a district flush with cash, because they are salaried.

    A private practice owner may oscillate between lows and highs until they establish a respectable client-base, and then if they become a multi-practice owner, may make a very comfortable life for his or herself.

    2. PhD Audiologists will, on average, make more than AuDs. PhD-AuDs are not necessarily going to make any more than PhDs, unless a research hospital will have some sort of profit-share for clinical staff for hearing aid sales. It is a typical pathway to get you AuD and PhD versus solely a PhD, however.

    3, See #1. I thought I wanted to work in a hospital setting as well. I do in a technical sense, but what i deal with versus a traditional hospital audiologist is very, very different. I am not sure how well I would work in a traditional hospital setting now because of the push towards hospital mergers into large healthcare management groups with in-house insurance departments and the like. A traditional hospital audiologist would be able to provide a better imagination of what that looks like.

    Be greedy. The fact that so many people in this field say they don't care about the money is very well received by groups that want to cut costs. If the field acted more with its self-interest at heart, realizing that we could do more as providers with more compensation, baseline salaries would increase. Every field needs people who want to work pro-bono, or for the betterment of humanity, but just think of the longterm: lobbyists are necessary to get things done, and if you can barely provide for yourself, how are you going to improve access to care through PAC donations?
     
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  8. DefEarRing

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    I also wanted to add that since shadowing a few audiologist’s around my town and near the city, where I reside, I have notice that their annual income is very nice. One is a clinic director and has only been practicing audiology for four years! She works for the military, though, and holds a GS position. Another one works for the VA and makes close to 100,000 and she’s only practiced for two years! One works for a manufacturer in the research department and makes over 100,000 no PhD required. So I know the pay is possible. You will have to search and you may have to move. Whatever needs to be done to pay down those bills.

    I also, wouldn’t accept an offer unless it came with some sort of funding. To me, that’s just crazy. I hear some people do not have the choice of where they apply, and to me that’s crazy. I’m applying all over the US. Which one can offer me more funding and has a great program, will be my choice. I’m not going to leave school and be in a massive amount of debt. That’s crazy!
     
  9. TheEarDoc

    TheEarDoc Audiologist

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    If you are not geographically bound for schools then I always tell interested students find a decent ranked state school that will give you full funding and go there.

    There are tons of great paying jobs in audiology if you aren't geographically bound. That's when you run into problems. I agree with AuDacity that too many people in our profession are willing to take low salaries and never fight for just compensation or benefits and most will never contribute a dollar to PAC or donate time to their state or national organizations to improve things for our field.

    Personally (steps up onto soapbox) I feel our scope of practice needs expanded so we are more marketable. We should be able to take some pharmacology courses and diagnose outer and middle ear infections, and prescribe antibiotics. If we don't increase our scope of practice our salaries will remain stagnant. Why? Because hearing aid dispensers can do the same job we do with no formal education. They will never go away because had dispensing rights before audiologists did and they have a better lobby that their members actively donate to (hence my complaint of people in our profession not contributing money or time, but happy to complain about the way things are) so we will never get their dispensing rights removed. So right now each year we see the reimbursement rates for our diagnostic tests falling and others are moving in on our turf for hearing aid dispensing (dispensers, big box stores, etc.) which was the cash cow for private practices.

    Optometry was smart. Yes big box retailers and the internet have really encroached on their turf in terms of dispensing glasses and contacts and opticians can do these things without the specialized training an optometrist has, but they still hold the gateway to glasses and contacts. To get glasses or contacts you must see a licensed optometrist and obtain an eye exam with a prescription for your vision correction. So they are never going to be out of the loop. They also can diagnose and treat minor eye issues and prescribe limited antibiotics. Our field was supposed to mirror optometry, but the problem is we never stopped the dispensers from being able to do the basic core of our job; evaluating, diagnosing, and giving a prescription for amplification.

    I think AAA is doing a good job by pushing forward with board certification in audiology for CI's, vestibular, pediatrics, student trainings, etc.. I am hoping they will create a board certification where they require pharmacology courses (similar to those NP's take) and you could test and have the ability to prescribe antibiotics. I know this is decades down the road because the AMA and the nurse practitioners will fight it tooth and nail because they will see it as encroachment into their field.

    I think our profession missed a lot of important things when it was born and we cannot go back and change those so we are forced to adapt and expand our scope of practice and move away from making our bank from hearing aids and actually make our money based on our diagnostic abilities and counseling abilities.

    Ok I will step down off my soapbox now.
     
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  10. DefEarRing

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    Lol. I agree! A professional who holds a doctoral degree in Audiology should have the ability prescribe antibiotics-what’s needed within their scope of practice (I.e. middle and outer ear infections). Just like an MRI. I don’t see much of a difference. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    I will be one of those that advocate. Anything that pertains to the ear, middle ear, inner ear/Vestibular system is OUR field.

    I’m kind of possessive about it. :Shrug:
     
  11. TheEarDoc

    TheEarDoc Audiologist

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    That's going to be an uphill battle pulling a sled of rocks and dead bodies before audiology would ever get prescribing rights. The physicians have learned from the nurse practitioners how prescribing horns in on their scope of practice and business. I don't foresee it happening in my lifetime if ever. I will keep pushing for it, but audiology lobbying is tiny vs. physician lobbying and in the end money and numbers win when it comes to legislation.

    Now things like MRI's is sometimes facility independent. I know some facilities if I saw a whopping asymmetry I could just put an order in for an MRI and most of the ENT's never batted an eye at it. Other facilities if I even spoke the phrase "they might do an MRI" I would have a physician chewing me out on the phone within 10 minutes after seeing the patient. They would usually just say "you need to do an ABR and then if it's abnormal we will order an MRI"
     

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