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Completing a Degree in Communicative Disorders, Deaf Education, or Audiology

If you have a passion for helping people to communicate effectively but are unsure about which field of study to pursue, you might consider studying communicative disorders, deaf education, or audiology. By becoming an expert in any of these areas, you will facilitate expression and understanding between people who would otherwise have difficulty communicating. Furthermore, you will enjoy the opportunity to learn about deaf culture.

Begin by immersing yourself in this culture. Throughout your education, attend the related seminars that the university offers. Finally, check the university’s online listing of jobs and internships frequently to find ways to get more experience. This will help you determine exactly what you want to achieve.

Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders

Some universities, such as Utah State University, offer an undergraduate degree in communicative disorders that may be completed either on campus or online. If you choose to pursue your degree online, it is important to research the licensing laws and job market for your individual location before entering the program, as they vary widely by area. Entry into a communicative disorders degree will likely require a minimum GPA, so watch all of your grades carefully.

Although a BA or BS will be adequate education to work as a clinical aide, many undergraduate degrees are largely designed to prepare you for graduate work in audiology or speech-language pathology. Due to the clinical nature of these fields, you will need to study anatomy and physiology, so be sure you have a firm grasp of life sciences.

Bachelor’s in Deaf Education

A BA or BS in deaf education prepares you to be a teacher, not a clinician. Therefore, you must emphasize sign language skills to effectively instruct your students. In addition, you will need to take classes about teaching methods.

Doctorate of Audiology

The field of audiology is expected to grow by 34% over the next decade, so it is a wise goal if you feel it is a good fit for you. You can choose between earning a regular PhD or an AuD. An AuD will emphasize the use of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other listening devices. You will learn about these exciting advances in science through practical experience, where you will get a firsthand view of the immensely positive impact your work in this field can do.

This was a guest post by Heather Jensen from Utah State University. Heather is an Audiologist and Clinical Assistant Professor for Utah state University.  She received her Doctorate of Audiology from Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2004.  She has been an adviser for the student academy of audiology organization at USU for 11 years.  Before coming to USU, she owned her own private practice, but decided she wanted to give back to the field of audiology by teaching students.  When she’s not working she spends time with her four children, she also enjoys doing hearing related humanitarian missions.