The American Board of Audiology (ABA) continues its expansion of services to meet the needs and requests of audiologists. Based on feedback obtained from the profession, the ABA Board of Governors had identified a purpose for targeted assessment-based certificate training for audiologists interested in bridging gaps in their education. Needs assessment surveys of audiologists further revealed the greatest demand for training as preceptors, and also focused training in specialty areas of clinical management. Within a few short years of idea conception for ABA certificate training programs, we completed the preceptor training program and have started our first clinical specialty-focused program. These programs have a strong foundation of high standards and involve a level of expert engagement and validation that is beyond reproach.

CH-AP™

In a previous article (September/October issue of Audiology Today), we discussed the successful 2016 launch of the Certificate Holder-Audiology Preceptor (CH-AP) Training Program. At the time of this writing, 64 audiologists have completed the CH-AP program in full and are now listed in the electronic National Registry of Audiology Preceptors. Achieving the CH-AP designation and being on the National Registry signifies to consumers, students, educators, and other stakeholders that the audiologist is well-trained in the critical role of preceptor. More audiologists are in the CH-AP pipeline, and we anticipate a rapid increase of the National Registry as more audiologists complete all four modules. The National Registry is an invaluable resource to students and educators seeking preeminent preceptors for clinical experiences.

CH-AP is a unique program. No other comprehensive preceptor training program exists for audiologists, let alone for many other health disciplines. The range of material covered in the ABA CH-AP Training Program prepares the individual for the multiple facets of the preceptor role: educator, mentor, coach, and role model. Being a highly competent clinician does not inherently translate to being a good preceptor; instead, any clinician who serve as a preceptor should secure additional training and orientation to the responsibilities of the preceptor.

Although the introductory pricing for CH-AP registration ended on December 31, the regular pricing structure is still very reasonable. For less than the cost of conference registrations or an educational program, someone can complete all four modules of the program without any travel, be added to the National Registry, and have ongoing access to a toolbox of additional resources. Volume discounting for registration is available if organizations enroll multiple people at the same time. The fee is a modest investment in a commitment to having the knowledge to be—and recognition as—an exemplary preceptor for audiology students.

CH-TM

Building on the successful model of the CH-AP Training Program, the ABA has begun development of the Certificate Holder-Tinnitus Management (CH-TM) Program. Our earlier needs assessment survey revealed tinnitus management as a priority subject area for post-graduate training. Audiologists have reported receiving less than adequate instruction on tinnitus management in their degree programs. With the expanding body of knowledge on tinnitus, even those audiologists who did receive some content in the past could benefit from an in-depth program. Through the generous support of Phonak, LLC, and Plural Publishing, we were able to move forward with developing this important program.

In a parallel process to that used in creating the CH-AP Training Program, the ABA is engaging leaders in the field to develop the CH-TM Program. We have a distinguished panel of subject matter experts (SMEs) tasked with identifying the content for the program modules. We are very pleased with the SME Working Group's broad representation of research and practice management by leaders in the field:

  • Courtney Abel, AuD
  • Debra Abel, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology 
  • Gail B. Brenner, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology 
  • John A. Coverstone, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology
  • Lisa Evans-Smith, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology
  • James A. Henry, PhD 
  • Melanie Herzfeld, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology 
  • Norma R. Mraz, AuD
  • Paula Myers, PhD
  • Stephen M. Nagler, MD
  • Cory D.F. Portnuff, PhD, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology, PASC
  • Paula L. Schwartz, AuD

More content experts will be available on the Verification Task Force to review the learning objectives, modules, and curriculum developed by the SME Working Group. A professional facilitator and instructional designer will support the process and translation of the work to an e-learning platform. The infusion of expert and technical expertise in the process is an optimal model.

As we celebrate the success of CH-AP and look forward to launching CH-TM later this year, the ABA Board of Governors recognizes that these programs would not have been possible without the vision and dedication of Torryn Brazell. Torryn has moved on from her role as managing director of the ABA, but her contributions will continue on as CH-AP and CH-TM continue to progress.