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Can a Felon Become an Audiologist?

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Many felons find it challenging to find a job after being released from prison. There are resources available even though felons may not believe they can find a job. Those who have hired felons have learned that they make good employees, but it might be in a different career from one felons had previously.

This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can become an audiologist.

  • What is an Audiologist?
  • What Education/Training Does an Audiologist Need?
  • How Much Does an Audiologist Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action


What is an Audiologist?

An audiologist is a medical professional trained to diagnose hearing problems and establish a course of treatment for those problems. An audiologist typically does the following:

  • Examines patients with hearing, balance, or other ear problems
  • Assesses exam results and diagnoses problems
  • Determines and administers treatment
  • Provides treatment for tinnitus, a condition that causes ringing in the ear
  • Fits hearing aids
  • Counsels patients and their families on hearing difficulties
  • Evaluates patients regularly to check on hearing and balance and to change treatment plans
  • Records patient progress
  • Educates patients on ways to prevent hearing loss

There are many skills essential to become a successful audiologist, including:

  • Communication skills to relay test results, diagnoses, and treatments so patients clearly understand
  • Compassion to work with patients who may be frustrated or emotional because of their hearing problems
  • Critical-thinking skills to test a patient’s hearing and be able to analyze each patient’s situation in order to offer the best treatment
  • Patience to work with patients who may need a lot of time and special attention
  • Problem-solving skills to figure out the causes of problems with hearing and determine the appropriate treatment or treatments to address them

An audiologist may work in a variety of settings, including hospitals and rehabilitation centers, private practice, audiology clinics, and schools.

What Education/Training Does an Audiologist Need?

An audiologist is required to hold a doctoral degree in audiology (Au.D.). To earn this degree, a candidate must have a high school diploma or equivalent, a bachelor’s degree, and a doctoral degree in audiology. A bachelor’s degree in any field with an emphasis on speech and hearing, biology or linguistics is typical.

A doctoral degree in audiology is a graduate program that typically takes four years to complete. Graduate coursework includes anatomy, physiology, physics, genetics, normal and abnormal communication development, diagnosis and treatment, pharmacology, and ethics. Programs also include supervised clinical practice. Graduation from a program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation is required to get a license in most states. Audiologists must be licensed in all states.

An audiologist can earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A), offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. He or she also may be credentialed through the American Board of Audiology. Certification can be earned by graduating from an accredited doctoral program and passing a standardized exam.

Some states may allow certification in place of some education or training requirements needed for licensure. The audiology board in each state can answer this type of question.

How Much Does an Audiologist Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there are approximately 14,600 practicing audiologists in the U.S. This occupation is expected to show a 10% growth by 2031 which is well above average. The reason for the increase in expected job opportunities is due to the general aging population in the United States. The likelihood of hearing loss increases as a person ages, which will lead to a need for more audiologists.

The median annual salary for audiologists was $78,950 in May 2021. The median wage is the salary at which half the audiologists earned more than that and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $50,490 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $123,540.

Experience will make a difference in how much an audiologist earns annually. The area of the country in which a biologist works also makes a difference in their earnings. Those on the East or West coast typically earn more than an audiologist that works elsewhere.

An Opportunity for Felons?

A felon can pursue any degree he or she wants. Approximately 60% of colleges consider criminal history in their admissions process, although there is no standard policy regarding a background check. Any felon that wants to get a degree can find a college that will accept him or her. The challenge is in obtaining a job after graduating.

It is important to be honest in filling out an application for a job or when applying for certification as an audiologist. If a felony isn’t disclosed but is found on a background check, this constitutes fraud and is punishable. It is a crime to falsify an application, which could result in being sent back to prison.

In order to be successful as an audiologist, it is essential for felons to be honest about their background. They are already viewed with negative perceptions of being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

Having their record expunged can give them the chance needed to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming an audiologist. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that he or she has not been convicted of a crime.

Recommended Action

It is a big challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon wanting to become an audiologist. Giving him or herself the best chance for success by having his or her record expunged and also documenting any training programs or additional education could make the essential difference.

Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest life no matter how difficult it might seem.

What do you think about this blog post? Are you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become an audiologist with a felony? What was that like for them, and how did they achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.

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