Doctor of Audiology (AuD) Program
The Doctor of Audiology (AuD) program is a four-year, post-baccalaureate course of study designed to prepare students as clinical audiologists. The program at the University of Northern Colorado emphasizes a clinician-scholar model and is designed to prepare students as independent clinicians, utilizing evidence based-practice along with the latest advances in evaluation and treatment of hearing and balance disorders. The curriculum is based upon a foundation of didactic courses including science and research methods in addition to clinically based classes which allow students to grow as clinicians by providing hands-on experiences. A unique aspect of our program is the opportunity to do some student teaching. We feel this additional opportunity broadens career choices for our students.
The Field of Audiology
Audiology is the science of hearing and the study of auditory and vestibular processes. Students study the development, anatomy, physiology and pathology of the auditory and vestibular systems, as well as the evaluation, rehabilitation and psychological aspects of hearing and balance disorders. Audiologists work with all age populations, from infants to the elderly, in clinical settings, such as hospitals, schools and clinics. They measure hearing ability, identify hearing and balance disorders, provide rehabilitative services, provide auditory training, assist in differential diagnosis of sensory and neurological disorders, assess the need for amplification devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants, and instruct clients in the care of hearing devices. Many audiologists also serve as consultants to industry and government on issues related to environmental, noise-induced hearing loss.
Coursework and Clinical Experiences
Students in the AuD program learn from both classroom-based instruction and hands-on experiences. Beginning with introductory coursework in the first semester and gradually progressing to advanced coursework in later semesters, students gain knowledge in the basic and applied sciences, evaluation and diagnosis practices, and intervention strategies.
Students are also given many opportunities to put into practice what they have studied in the classroom, with observation and practicum experiences beginning in the first semester. The University of Northern Colorado has a full service Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology clinic which services individuals across the lifespan (infants through geriatrics). Practical experiences available at the UNC clinic include basic hearing evaluations, industrial screenings, auditory processing disorders evaluations, hearing aid selection and fitting, aural rehabilitation (group and individual), evoked potentials testing, and vestibular (ENG/VNG) assessments.
Time spent in academic courses and clinical practicum experiences remains relatively constant for the first two and a half years on the program. During the spring semester of the third year, students are placed in two full time 8 week internships, one in the schools, and one in a medical setting. This unique model allows our students to focus completely on clinical practices and hone their skills with a solid foundation of coursework behind them. In the fourth year, students engage in a full time 9-month externship, with opportunities available across the country. Some recent externship placements have included sites in Colorado, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, California, Minnesota, Michigan, and Texas.
The AuD program curriculum was developed in accordance with the recommendations and guidelines of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education (ACAE) and the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD).
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of audiologists is expected to continue to grow 25% through 2018. This is not surprising as nearly 100% of our students secure employment before graduation. Factors such as improved survival rates of premature infants, mandatory newborn hearing screenings, an expanding network of early intervention programs, growth in elementary and secondary school enrollments, an aging population, and an increased demand for services from individuals in private practice have all contributed to the rapid changes in the field and unprecedented demand for highly trained professionals to serve individuals with hearing loss and hearing-related disorders. It is an exciting time to enter the field of audiology.
Accreditation and Certification
The doctoral program in audiology at the University of Northern Colorado is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Audiology and Speech- Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), 2200 Research Blvd. #310, Rockville MD 20850. (800) 498-2071 or (301) 296-5700.