In an economy that necessitates careful consideration of expenses, it is understandable that health care professionals need to question the value of obtaining credentials. What is the value-added benefit for spending extra money to obtain a certification credential beyond a professional degree? If someone is in private practice and does not have to prove anything to employers, why should he or she worry about being board certified? Why does it really matter to have the privilege of listing Board Certified in Audiology after my name? 

Board Certification Makes Good Sense

The dismissive nature of these very questions suggests a lack of understanding of the business of health care in society today. Health care is business, and to thrive in it the clinician must possess a synergy of strong business and clinical skills. The needed business acumen includes attention to the practicalities of operations and strategic management. Moreover, it necessitates demonstration of strategic leadership (BE Smith Team, 2017) and emotional intelligence (Warren, 2013). As well, it is an appreciation of a core element of business: public relations.  

At a time when they face huge competition, professionals across the health disciplines must further define and distinguish themselves. Unskilled workers across the health-care disciplines have assumed increasing numbers of tasks once limited only to professionals. (Nancarrow and Borthwick, 2005). As the lines blur within the health-care workforce, it becomes all the more essential for the qualified providers of hearing health care to take steps to define his or her professional role…and to actively promote it. 

In the world of hearing and balance care, audiologists must distinguish what makes them the provider of choice. Other providers and workers may provide similar services, but the audiologist uniquely offers the full spectrum of services for hearing and balance care. The audiologist has the formal education and clinical experience to benefit the patient. Through the board certification designation, audiologists both elevate their role and personal dedication. The credential offers credibility within and beyond the profession. 

Credibility with Peers

Board certified status represents to others that the individual is compliant with the American Academy of Audiology’s Standards of Practice (2012) relative to licensure and adheres to the most stringent standard of continuing education requirements. Each health-care discipline monitors itself for quality assurance, notably meeting professional standards. Although it may be defined differently across disciplines, the board certified credential has a common denotation of the highest level of quality assurance. 

Obtaining the Board Certified in Audiology designation offers reassurance to peers within the profession, and in other disciplines, that the individual meets the highest standards for practice and continuous practice improvement. As well, the credential distinguishes the audiologist as a role model for colleagues and for students.

Credibility with Employers

Many employers use certification as a way to assess whether an individual possesses the skills and knowledge required for successful clinical performance. They are seeking the most qualified individuals for their audiology positions, and the ABA board certified credential offers unparalleled quality assurance, suggesting that this individual can advance positive patient outcomes. The message that employers derive from seeing the certification credential is that a third party has verified that the individual has met higher standards. As well, the credential conveys a commitment by the individual to continuous learning, professional development, and maintaining quality work. Being Board Certified in Audiology may improve career opportunities and advancement.

Credibility with Patients

Perhaps above everything, the audiologist needs to consider the value of the credential to the patient. Most patients do not have the knowledge or skill to assess providers. The board certified credential resonates with the patients as a quality measure. Making the investment into attaining and maintaining the board certified credential demonstrates to patients a commitment to professionalism and quality hearing and balance care. Additionally, the credential can be helpful in marketing to the public by distinguishing the practitioner from other audiologists and differentiating this practice from others in the market.

Credibility with One’s Self

The professional audiologist deserves recognition and appreciation. Like most professionals, the audiologist embraces lifelong learning and seeks the opportunities for ongoing, meaningful professional development. By becoming Board Certified in Audiology, audiologists set themselves apart from others in the profession, as well as the technicians involved with hearing and balance health care. The successful attainment of the credential serves as an impartial third-party endorsement of preparation, experience, and continuing education. 

Why the ABA?

While offering another method of differentiation for a practice or securing a new position, the ABA’s Board Certified credential has only been adopted by 10 percent of the members of the American Academy of Audiology. In today’s highly competitive environment for independent audiology practice, as well as competition for those coveted positions in other area of the field, Board Certification, developed by and for audiologists, can be the credential that allows an individual to stand out from the crowd of practices or applications. Beyond any other audiology certification credential, board certification in audiology by the American Board of Audiology is the highest level of recognition that can be attained within our field. Stand out in the crowd, make your practice different: meet the challenge of Board Certification in Audiology!