10 Things You Didn’t Know About Audiology Assisting
We believe in Audiology Assistants at Audiology Academy. We helped train the first Audiology Assistant in Washington State in 2007 and in 2017, we’re proud to offer the most affordable, most well-rounded on-line, self-paced Audiology Assistant training program available. Since the idea of hiring an Audiology Assistant is relatively new to the field of Audiology, there are some misconceptions about what an Audiology Assistant actually is, not to mention what to call them. If you’re interested in becoming an Audiology Assistant, here are 10 things you probably didn’t know.
1. Audiology Assisting is a career.
On one hand, that’s obvious. On the other hand, many people perceive Audiology Assisting as just a stepping stone toward other things. But it truly is a bonafide profession; a career choice in and of itself. The clinic that hires an Audiology Assistant believes strongly in patient care and patient retention and those that become Audiology Assistants are care-giving professionals who are focused on improving the lives of those with hearing loss and balance challenges.
2. The Audiology Assisting specialties are limitless.
One of the attractive things about Audiology Assisting is the variety of work. Audiology Assistants work with private practice Audiology clinics, corporate Audiology clinics, or medical specialty practices. They can work with audiologists who have a retail model of patient care or those that focus on the medical model. There are Audiology Assistant positions in large hospitals and small, one-practitioner offices. And, Audiology Assistants can work with a variety of patients – adult and geriatric care, balance, rehab and tinnitus care, as well as in pediatrics.
3. There are many career tracks.
Audiology Assisting is young. Those Assistants in the field have gotten in on the ground floor! The career path is yet to be written. What a great time to become an Audiology Assistant! What will the career path look like for the Audiology Assistant? Will she branch out to experience work in larger or smaller or different specialty clinics? Will she become a hearing instrument specialist or go back to school to pursue her Au.D.? Or, could she become the office manager of the practice? The career options for Audiology Assistants are as limitless as the specialty tracks that audiology affords.
4. Audiology Assistants work under an Au.D.
Audiology Assistants work directly under a doctor of audiology, and so are under their authority. This means that in most states, an Audiology Assistant can perform any duties their direct supervisor has trained them to do competently. Beyond marketing duties, helping in the lab and patient preparation, Audiology Assistants may assist with pediatric diagnostics, work as the audiologist’s Scribe, see walk-in patients and assist during hearing aid deliveries, depending on their practice. The variety is limitless!
5. Who runs the office? Audiology Assistants do.
Patient Care Coordinators and the front office have a lot of control in how things operate. But ultimately, patient flow depends on the Audiology Assistant. They communicate between the front and back offices and so, are responsible for moving patients through both. Depending on the size of the practice, it may be that the Audiology Assistant runs the front office all by themselves, responsible for scheduling and patient care and providing care for patients on a walk-in basis.
6. The field is changing.
Because the field of Audiology Assisting is new to Audiology, the scope of practice, certification requirements and job functionality is still being defined. American Academy of Audiology (AAA), Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) are working tirelessly to shore up the definition of an Audiology Assistant and the requirements for membership, education and skill set. And, each state will come to define the same. One thing is clear: an Audiology Assistant position will always require learning and adaptation, because new innovations arise constantly.
7. Audiology Assistants don’t sell hearing aids.
Audiology Assistants are trained to work in a variety of clinics. All clinic types will perform diagnostic testing but the scope of practice of an Audiology Assistant will never include performing diagnostic tests or prescribing or fitting hearing aids. The great part of what an Audiology Assistant can do is to help people understand how to use their hearing aids and hearing assistance technology more effectively. And, every part of what an Audiology Assistant does each day will improve the efficiency of the practice, improving patient care and the clinic’s bottom line.
8. The work is meaningful.
Some Audiology Assistants enter the field because they just need a job, but most are interested in finding something more than just a paycheck. Audiology Assisting, like all work in healthcare, can have a great impact on those we serve. It’s a profession that requires nurturing and compassion, which makes it a rewarding career that has purpose for nearly everyone who chooses it.
9. In clinics, Audiology Assistants are the front-line of patient care.
Very often, the Audiology Assistant will be performing triage for emergent care. This means that patients come to rely on Audiology Assistants as a primary Provider. This can and should be empowering to anyone entering the field. Audiology Assistants are healthcare professionals, just as audiologists are. Yes, the scope of practice is very different but, just like audiologists, in the eyes of the clinic, they are integral in their contribution to the business of patient care.
10. Education matters.
While it’s true you can become an Audiology Assistant through on-the-job-training, the gold standard for becoming an Audiology Assistant requires education—and for good reason. Studying what Audiology Assisting is and what the job requires doesn’t just improve your resumé. It makes you better at your work, improves your manner of patient care, and gives you the stepping stone for advancing your career. Every Audiology Assistant should have both hands-on, Audiologist-lead, collaborative training and independent, textbook-lead study for the best benefit and outcome.
At Audiology Academy, we’re committed to strengthening the field of Audiology by committing to the well-rounded education of Audiology Assistant students. Our on-line and workbook curriculum is built around that conviction. If you’re interested in becoming an Audiology Assistant, you can earn a Certificate of Completion with our program in as little as 10 weeks. Contact us for more information. And, check our website for your State Requirements for becoming an Audiology Assistant.