If you had to describe your job in one word, what's the first word that you'd choose? Boring? Stressful? Unfulfilling? Great? High-paying? How about your overall satisfaction with your job? If you're looking for something more fulfilling, check out the least stressful job from CareerCast.com's list that might be unexpected: audiologist.
Audiologist Responsibilities and Training
Audiologists solve problems. They identify, diagnose, treat, and further monitor hearing, balance, or related ear conditions and disorders. They also fit and dispense hearing aids to patients who want to improve their hearing. In addition to those responsibilities, audiologists counsel patients and family members on listening and communication techniques, such as American Sign Language (ASL). Due to the extensive training necessary to perform these responsibilities, audiologists must hold a doctorate degree and become state licensed (requirements differ from state to state).
Audiologists get to work one-on-one with patients by testing and diagnosing problems that have been disrupting patients' everyday lives. After hearing aids or another solution is applied, audiologists help acclimate patients to a broader spectrum of sounds than they previously experienced. Follow-up appointments become an important part of the overall solution for a patient. In the end, audiologists have the pleasure of knowing they've helped improve someone’s life as well as the lives of that person's family members and friends.
Where do audiologists work? You can find them working in hospitals, physician offices, and their own private practices. In the U.S., audiologists have an important role in newborn hearing screenings to detect possible hearing issues early. Untreated hearing loss in children can lead to delays in speech and language development. Schools also employ audiologists to help maximize the educational experiences of children who have hearing loss.
In 2012, there were about 13,000 audiology jobs held in the U.S. That number is expected to increase by 4,300 jobs by 2022 (about a 34% increase). If you take into account how many audiologists will retire in that time frame, that's a nice chunk of job additions!
The average median salary for an audiologist in 2012 was $69,720. Combine that with low stress levels and helping people, and you could make a great career move. Well, it is as long as you don't mind earwax.
If you're interested in helping people with their hearing difficulties but don't want to go the audiologist route, a hearing aid specialist is another equally satisfying career path. Hearing aid specialists fit and dispense hearing aids. Be sure to check the specific licensing requirements with your state, as they also vary for this job.
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Last Updated: February 17, 2014