In November 2018, the board of the American Board of Audiology (ABA) developed a "certification reboot" for its programs that was reported in the November/December 2018 ABA Sounding Board in Audiology Today. The goal is to enhance the certification programs to maximize their value and impact for the profession of audiology. Our renewed vision going forward in 2019 focuses on identifying changes and additional efforts needed for our reboot with the goal of announcing major changes at AAA 2019, the Academy's annual conference in Columbus, Ohio, in late March. The ABA will report more on this work in the future. The following is a brief update:
ABA Offerings at a Glance
Certification by the American Board of Audiology
Rigorous credential verification recognized by many states and employers as documentation of qualifications as an audiologist.
Signifies recognition of knowledge and professional experience verified by a comprehensive exam in a specialty area such as pediatric practice in audiology.
Awarded to audiologists completing an in-depth training program in a specialty practice area such as tinnitus management or audiology precepting.
- The ABA is developing a model for the board certification credential to enhance the benefit to Academy members. Adjustments to the credential cycle and fee structure are intended to make the credential more accessible to a greater number of Academy members.
- ABA is looking at the criteria for Tier 1 continuing education and considering ways to increase the Tier 1 opportunities available to credential holders.
- The next Pediatric Audiology Specialty Certification (PASC) examination will be on March 27, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio, at AAA 2019. The ABA board revised policy so that candidates who pass the exam will no longer be required to pay an additional initial certification fee of $345, thus reducing the costs to the new PASC certificant.
- The ABA board approved an extension of the PASC exam eligibility period from one year to five years. This enables candidates who do not pass the PASC exam on their first try to retake the exam without paying additional application fees on top of exam fees.
- The ABA board approved a policy change that allows degree candidates in their externship year to participate in the Certificate Holder-Tinnitus Management (CH-TM) and to receive the certificate provided they attain their state license within their one-year access to the course and submit their completion only after they have their license in hand.
More recent additions to the credential programs offered by ABA are the two certificate programs. Unlike board certification or the specialty certifications for which ABA determines minimum qualifications that candidates must meet to qualify but does not provide any training to attain those qualifications, the certificate programs provide content to help the participant to assess mastery of intended learning outcomes. Assessment-based certificate programs build capacity and recognition of a specialty area of practice or a set of skills.
The ABA is committed to promoting rigorous credentialing programs that elevate professional practice and advance patient care. One key way to do this is to elevate and standardize the training that AuD students get in their externship experience. Certificate Holder-Audiology Preceptor (CH-AP) is an online self-study program that teaches preceptors how to facilitate an AuD student's transition from novice clinician to competent, independent professional. CH-AP advances a pathway for an individual to become recognized as an audiology preceptor with the goal of building a greater pool of trained audiology preceptors who can provide critically important opportunities for students to apply classroom learning in authentic clinical settings. Since the program was introduced in 2017, more than 400 audiology preceptors earned the certificate.
Another way to elevate professional practice and advance patient care is to focus in greater depth on topics that were not covered in detail in school. The Certificate Holder-Tinnitus Management (CH-TM) was developed to bridge the gap between formal audiology education and tinnitus-focused training. By creating a comprehensive and unbiased tinnitus management program, ABA seeks to develop a larger pool of tinnitus-trained audiologists to care for the significant tinnitus population. CH-TM is a two-part, comprehensive program with seven modules overall. Part 1 focuses on Foundations of Tinnitus Management and Part 2 focuses on Tinnitus Management Principles in Practice. With nearly 50 audiologists who earned the certificate and more in the pipeline, the CH-TM program is expanding the workforce of audiologists having the requisite knowledge for effective management of the high number of patients with tinnitus.
As a reminder, both CH-AP and CH-TM also qualify as Tier 1 continuing education for meeting recertification requirements for ABA certifications.
The ABA looks forward to an active role in AAA 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. We will offer a learning module on tinnitus, this year providing participants more practice management experience through interactive case studies. We will again offer the SpeedUpdating session from 3:00 to 5:00 pm on Thursday, March 28, followed by our certificant mixer. Stop by Academy Central at the conference to pick up your ABA lanyard to display proudly that you are an ABA certificant!