In December 2017, the American Board of Audiology (ABA) met with a consultant for a “certification reboot” retreat. Our intention was to look at the programs we offer and develop a roadmap for the future. After several days of intense discussions, the group concluded that business as usual is not optimal. We want, instead, to enhance the certification programs to maximize their value and impact for the profession of audiology. Our renewed vision this year focused on identifying changes and additional efforts needed for our “reboot.” The ABA will report more on this work in future columns. The following is an update in brief:
- In April 2017, the ABA changed the eligibility criteria to allow “license-eligible” individuals to apply for the Board Certified credential (and to attain licensure within a year). Ultimately, this means that newly graduated audiologists now have the ability to obtain their certification credential before obtaining licensure! Several seasoned audiologists also shared with us how this change allowed them portability when moving to a new state.
- The ABA is developing a model for the Board Certified credential to enhance the benefit to Academy members. Adjustments to the credential cycle and fee structure hopefully will make the credential more accessible to a greater number of Academy members.
- The ABA hosted a standard-setting workshop in late September to finalize questions for the PASC exam. The test bank of new items will allow the PASC exam to continue to be current, relevant, and robust. The next PASC examination will be in March 2019 in Columbus, Ohio.
- The ABA will work on marketing of the certification programs, with emphasis on the value to individuals, employers, and licensing boards. We have some exciting new ideas that include leveraging digital and social media to increase our visibility.
- The ABA convened a task force to evaluate the sustainability of the CISC exam. Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, including low exam uptake, the CISC exam is not viable and the costs of maintaining a current and relevant exam outweigh the demand. While the CISC credential will remain active, the ABA plans to discontinue delivery of the CISC exam in its current form. Instead, the ABA will assess market demands and needs to determine a model for possible future expansion of the credential.
A key strength of the ABA is its leadership to advance our initiatives. We have been fortunate to have esteemed leaders of the profession join us and share their commitment to audiology certification. Each of us chose to dedicate our volunteer service to this important Academy program. We are pleased to welcome new members of the ABA governance committee whose terms begin January 1.
Jennifer Drohosky, AuD, PASC, CISC, is the Cochlear Implant Program coordinator and pediatric audiologist at the Children’s Hospital Colorado. She leads a large multidisciplinary team of specialists and provides patient care to a medically and socially complex pediatric population. Dr. Drohosky has served on the ABA since November 2017.
Cheryl Edwards, AuD, PASC, is the audiology site manager for Boston Children’s Hospital, where she provides diagnostic services to complex pediatric patients and coordinates the clinic’s function. She has more than 20 years of experience in pediatric audiology and teaching.
Sandra Gabbard, PhD, is the president/CEO and clinical audiologist at Marion Downs Center (MDC). For more than 35 years, she has been on the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Medicine and is an adjunct associate professor in the Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences Department at the University of Colorado Boulder. She served two terms as president of the Colorado Academy of Audiology.
The ABA also confirmed the appointment of Anna Leach, MA, as a public member. Ms. Leach has had hearing loss since the age of three and has been a long-time advocate of audiology. She earned a master’s degree in education/higher education administration from George Washington University, where she is employed in the Disability Support Services department.
Another new face to ABA is Andrew Stafford, the Academy’s director of professional standards and credentialing. Andrew provides staff leadership to the ABA’s certification activities. Bringing to the position his experience in managing certification for the interior design industry and his astute perceptions of future opportunities in credentialing, Andrew is well qualified to provide invaluable guidance to the ABA as we advance our certification reboot to maintain a strong and relevant program.
The infusion of new perspectives and the experience and wisdom of continuing members of the ABA leadership position the ABA for a bright path forward. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the ABA with questions, comments, concerns or ideas. After all, we are here to represent our certificants!