While it is not always an exciting topic for students, certification is always a hot one. As an audiology student, it is important to know what your options are, even from early on in your academic career. In audiology, there are two main certifications: Board Certification in Audiology and the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A).
What is certification?
Certification is a voluntary process. It certifies, through a governing body, that one has met specific national standards in the profession of audiology. There are two certifying bodies in audiology: the American Board of Audiology (ABA) and the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). The American Board of Audiology awards Board Certification in Audiology and the American Speech-Language Hearing Association awards the Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A).
What are the differences between the two audiology certifications?
While the two certifications fundamentally do the same thing, they have a different means of getting to the same end goal. The requirements for the two certifications are:
Board Certification in Audiology:
- Successful completion of a course of graduate study in audiology from a regionally accredited college or university
- Earned a master’s or Doctoral degree in audiology from a regionally accredited college or university (beginning in 2007, all applicants must have earned a Doctoral degree in audiology
- Completed a minimum of 2000 hours of mentored professional practice in a two-year period
- The mentor must be a state licensed or ABA certified audiologist
- To maintain certification, must earn 60 hours of approved continuing education within the three-year period
Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology:
- Must hold a graduate degree
- Completed at least 30 semester hours of professional course work
- Taken at least 27 semester hours in the basic sciences
- Earned at least 21 graduate credits
- Completed a minimum of 350 clock-hours of clinical practicum under a certified supervisor (holding his or her CCC-A)
- Completed 36 weeks of supervised clinical fellowship, and
- Passed a national examination (Praxis)
- To maintain certification, must complete 30 contact hours of professional development every three years
If I become certified, do I still need to obtain state licensure?
YES! The profession of audiology is regulated at the state level and each state maintains different standards for licensure. Licensure is granted by individual states and is usually valid within that state alone. Certification is voluntary and is a nationally recognized standard of practice that spans across all state lines.
Are there options if I want to specialize?
Yes. The American Board of Audiology offers options for Cochlear Implant Specialty Certification and Pediatric Audiology Specialty Certification. The American Speech-Language Hearing Association offers specialty certification through the American Audiology Board of Intraoperative Monitoring. These specialty certifications require further expertise and often require sitting for an exam to become certified. The American Board of Audiology also has a new Preceptor Training Program to assist in standardizing clinical education and assisting audiologists to better educate and shape the profession’s future.
How do I know which certification is right for me?
Obtaining certification in any profession is important as it shows that one has attained a certain level of professional excellence. In audiology, it is important to know the differences between the two certifications and their organizations. While the American Board of Audiology is a partner of the American Academy of Audiology, membership in the organization is not a requirement to become Board Certified in Audiology. Also, anyone can be a preceptor for Board Certification as long as he or she has a current state license to practice audiology.
The Certificate of Clinical Competence is awarded through the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. Many state licensure laws are based on the requirements laid out for certification through ASHA. Certification through ASHA has been around longer than Board Certification and it is important to know that even if a job lists a specific certification as a requirement, they have the same fundamental requirements; however, Board Certification requires more supervised hours and more continuing education hours.
When deciding which certification is right for you, it is important to learn more about the organizations awarding the certification and to find the organization in which you find your professional home. Certification is voluntary and it is important to do your research when pursuing certification.
Sarah Crow is a fourth year Doctor of Audiology Student at the Northeast Ohio Au.D. Consortium. She is currently finishing up her fourth-year externship at the Cleveland Clinic.