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Local and regional laws usually determine what is required for someone to become an audiologist assistant. These requirements varied considerably in 2011, with most countries having no regulations over the position, while others, such as some states in the United States, require enrollment in a master’s degree program. In addition, some state laws required either licensure or registration; others had oversight regarding the role, but instead left it up to the audiologist to determine qualifications for his or her assistant. Generally, some formal training and experience as an audiology assistant appeared to give potential candidates a competitive position when applying for jobs.
Determining where to begin when looking to become an audiologist assistant will require researching state laws if you are in the United States. Educational and oversight requirements vary considerably in that country. For example, the state of Texas will require a bachelor’s degree in communicative science and disorders and will require completion of a practicum. As well, the program must have accreditation from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Council on Academic Accreditation or hold regional accreditation status. Upon completion of academic qualifications and a successful practicum, candidates must also pass an examination to obtain a state license and take a continuing educational course to renew that license.
Six states in the USA only require an associate’s degree in a speech-language discipline for candidates who want to become an audiologist assistant. These states include Alaska, North Carolina, Missouri, Maryland, Illinois and California. Of those states, California and Missouri will require registration, but not licensure. Additionally, there are no practicum or continuing education requirements in those states.
It is important to note, however, that some states have different tiers to become an audiologist assistant. Taking California as an expanded example, having an associate’s degree will qualify candidates for the highest tier jobs. Graduating with a high school diploma and then taking a certificate course or completing on-the-job training as an audiology aide will qualify candidates for lower tier assistant posts.
Regardless of national or regional requirements, if some type of formal or competency based training is required, students can expect the program to be rigorous. All programs will require some supervision by a licensed audiologist, and he or she holds the responsibility to ensure assistants are competent at completion of program requirements. Assistants will need to demonstrate this competency, and the supervising audiologist will document the entire training program. Responsibility for all work performed by the training assistant falls to the supervising audiologist as well. Even in cases where the audiologist can hire an assistant without state oversight, on-the-job training is usually a requirement and often will follow the same standards found in formal academic programs or practicums to protect the audiologist in the event of a legal situation.
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