How Many Audiology Programs and Students?
Windmill (2013) reports that over the last 25 years the profession has gone from 140 programs offering master’s degrees to 74 accredited programs offering the AuD. Jerger (2008) determined the "ideal" number of audiology programs based on the quantity of audiologists in the United States as compared to the number of practitioners in medicine, optometry, dentistry, and more, and the number of their [respective] programs and determined the ideal number of audiology programs is five.
Professional organizations (Academy, ASHA, etc.) cannot open or close audiology programs, nor can accrediting bodies. The opening of new programs or the closing of established programs is a function of the university system. Pharmacy and medicine have more U.S. programs than does audiology. Dentistry, optometry, chiropractic, and osteopathic medicine each have fewer programs than does audiology. Indeed, optometry has more than twice as many students enrolled (5,800), as do audiology programs (2,400) in the United States, while optometry has one-forth as many programs as does audiology. Dentistry as 10 times as many students as does audiology, while offering only 56 programs.
With regard to class size, the other professions (typically) have between 76 and 145 students, while the average audiology class is comprised of 8 students (some have fewer than 8, some have more). Of note, if the average annual number of audiology graduates is ideally presumed to be 1,000, and if we had 75 programs, the average class size would have to be 14 students. If we had 50 programs, each program would need 20 students per class, and of course, if we had 5 programs, we would need some 200 students per class, to yield 1,000 new doctors of audiology annually. Thus, clearly "it would be professional suicide to reduce the number of programs without increasing the class sizes in the remaining programs."
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Jerger J. (2008): An Exercise in Mathematics. Audiology Today 19(1):42-43.
Windmill IM.(2013) Academic Programs, Class Sizes and Obstacles to Growth in Audiology. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 24:417-424.