RE: Turner, R. (1993). Editorial. American Journal of Audiology, 2(2), 2. Thornton, A. (1993). One Audiologist Too Many. American Journal of Audiology, 2(2), 5. Humes, L., & Diefendorf, A. (1993). Chaos or order? Some thoughts on the transition to a professional doctorate in audiology. American Journal of Audiology, 2(2), 7–16 From a training program perspective, several thoughts come to mind in response to the recent articles on the AuD. First, the suggestions by Turner and Thornton are intriguing. Turner emphasized the success of students from other undergraduate majors who start with us at the graduate level, and Thornton discussed getting ... Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor  |   March 01, 1994
RE: Turner, R. (1993). Editorial. American Journal of Audiology, 2(2), 2. Thornton, A. (1993). One Audiologist Too Many. American Journal of Audiology, 2(2), 5. Humes, L., & Diefendorf, A. (1993). Chaos or order? Some thoughts on the transition to a professional doctorate in audiology. American Journal of Audiology, 2(2), 7–16
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ronald L. Schow
    Idaho State University, Pocatello
  • Thayne C. Smedley
    Idaho State University, Pocatello
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Letters to the Editor
Letter to the Editor   |   March 01, 1994
RE: Turner, R. (1993). Editorial. American Journal of Audiology, 2(2), 2. Thornton, A. (1993). One Audiologist Too Many. American Journal of Audiology, 2(2), 5. Humes, L., & Diefendorf, A. (1993). Chaos or order? Some thoughts on the transition to a professional doctorate in audiology. American Journal of Audiology, 2(2), 7–16
American Journal of Audiology, March 1994, Vol. 3, 84-86. doi:10.1044/1059-0889.0301.84b
 
American Journal of Audiology, March 1994, Vol. 3, 84-86. doi:10.1044/1059-0889.0301.84b
From a training program perspective, several thoughts come to mind in response to the recent articles on the AuD. First, the suggestions by Turner and Thornton are intriguing. Turner emphasized the success of students from other undergraduate majors who start with us at the graduate level, and Thornton discussed getting rid of audiologists in small speech-language pathology programs. These ideas on training issues come into sharper focus when considered in connection with the longer article by Humes and Diefendorf. These two introduce the awesome prospect of a program with 50 seats and 200 graduate students in audiology. That is a lot of IAC booths and/or clinical practicum sites. Our hat goes off to the audiology pioneers and/or wizards who can develop and bring to life such programs. It certainly seems that programs of that size will not spring up overnight, which gives credence to the 40+ year time periods for doctoral upgrading of other professions, as mentioned in the article. Also, programs of this size will, as indicated, need to be established in large medical and metropolitan centers. Because of strong PhD programs, up to this time we have generally seen little inclination for the development of AuD programs in such locations. The idea of undergraduate training that will include everything we do now at the graduate level is also awe-inspiring. Just how to move from our current largely graduate offerings to a situation in which we recruit a critical mass of students at the freshman level and repackage all our current training to an undergraduate approach sounds pretty overwhelming. It appears we will have a transition period during which master’s and AuD graduates will both be entering the marketplace until we have sufficient doctoral programs in place to produce an adequate number of new professionals exclusively at the AuD level. Instead of trying to teach our current graduate work at the undergraduate level and then put a 2-year AuD on top of that in a 4+2 program, we wonder why Humes and Diefendorf did not suggest a 4+2+2 program in which our current master’s programs could continue to provide what they do at the graduate level in a 2-year period and then allow the master’s graduates to either earn their Cs (which at some point would be impossible to do) or go on to AuD training as the programs for this become available. This would have several worthwhile features during the upcoming transition period.
  1. We can move toward a time when all master’s graduates will have to get the AuD in order to practice above the technician level. When there are enough AuD programs available to produce the number of audiologists needed, we can set the date for the last master’s-only certified graduates and from that time on master’s programs would convert to feeder programs for the AuD or would train students at the technician level.

  2. As the AuD programs develop, they can look to current master’s programs to provide the first 2 years of AuD training while they provide the last 2 years. This would make it easier to put new AuD programs in place, since they would not need to do all the training.

  3. It would allow us to explore the concept of general training during the first 2 graduate years, with specialization in the last 2 years. This way we could prepare AuD graduates in at least four different specialty areas. Students could obtain their advanced training in medical audiology, dispensing audiology/AR, deaf education/cochlear implants/AR, or pediatric/school audiology (or some combination of the above four). We continue to feel that the last two options are not receiving much emphasis in the AuD programs that are more into medical and dispensing preparation. A really enlightened advancement in our training will need to be more broadly based than in just these two areas, and we suspect most AuDs cannot be fully trained in every aspect of audiology work. For instance, it is increasingly clear that audiologists working with the deaf and with cochlear implants really ought to have much more training in speech-language pathology and deaf education than is included in any of the current AuD proposals.

  4. We can maintain our good master’s programs and faculties in place while the AuD comes on line. In this way we have a transition role for our current master’s-accredited training programs, instead of trying to shut them down while we wait for the preeminent AuD programs to surface. Furthermore, these programs would not need to wrench themselves around to do at the undergraduate level what we are now doing at the graduate level, and we could continue to accept many fine students into audiology who have other undergraduate majors. The current master’s programs could increasingly adjust their curricula to provide generalist training and to prepare students for the specialty work at the AuD level. Finally, we could avoid the proposals to strip audiologists out of the speech-language pathology programs where they have an important role to perform, but those who are so employed can either prepare technicians at the bachelor’s level or continue training students at the master’s level who will move into the AuD training programs. If there are no academic audiologists except in 11 superprograms around the country, how do we provide any upgraded training to those who wish to improve on their certification to maintain their Cs in the face of stricter requirements and yet not leave their place of employment? Are we to believe in the simultaneous need to have much better, intensive training for audiologists while at the same time saying that we can cobble together the needed upgrading in Cs by a miniseminar here and a 1-day workshop there (the “equivalence” dilemma)?

  5. Frankly, it is difficult to see how resolutions forecasting the certain end of master’s training in less than 10 years will enhance our ability to recruit quality students into what is left of “antiquated” master’s programs or to convince administrators that we have a profession (and therefore a training program) with a bright future. Clearly, most current programs are not destined to become one of the 11 superprograms of the future. So what is the role of such programs? The systematic undermining of accredited master’s programs and the faculties who run those programs may not actually advance the AuD cause. Perhaps current academicians have a role in creating the new AuD world, and we can use their skills instead of entirely dismantling the training programs they have created. Making a plan for using the current master’s programs as feeder programs for the coming AuD programs and as places for master’s audiologists to maintain their Cs during the transition may be that role.

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