The American Academy of Audiology, at its formation, embraced the principle of a doctoral level entry to the practice of audiology (Audiology Today, 1:1988). The Academy recognized that extensive consideration was required regarding both the feasibility and the impact of such a concept on the profession of audiology. In particular, the Academy desired to examine the implications of doctoral-level entry on training programs, public and private institutions, and on those individuals presently practicing in the field.
Thus, a Task Force was appointed by President James Jerger in 1989. The Task Force was charged to study the concept of a professional doctorate in audiology and to make recommendations regarding implementation of the degree. The Task Force was requested to provide a report of its deliberations and recommendations to the Academy's Executive Committee. The members of the Task Force, Lucille Beck, Carl Binnie, Alan Feldman, Barry Freeman, Susan Jerger, Richard Talbott, Chair, and Richard Wilson, met in Houston, Texas on January 26 and 27, 1990.
In their deliberations, the Task Force:
- considered open-ended input received directly from the membership of the Academy
- examined existing plans on professional doctorates acquired from other organizations
- received input based on the experience and expertise of the Task Force members
he report of the Task Force was submitted to and accepted by the Executive Committee of the Academy on February 3, 1990. A writing group (Judy Gravel, Linda Hood, and Rick Talbott) synthesized the Task Force report into a Position Statement for presentation to the Membership at the Academy's Annual Meeting in New Orleans, April 1990.
The American Academy of Audiology endorses the doctoral degree as the appropriate minimal entry level degree for the practice of audiology. This level of training is necessary to ensure the provision of the highest standards of service delivery to individuals with auditory and other related communications disorders. The professional doctorate degree establishes the audiologist in a clearly-defined and prominent role within the health-care delivery system and supports the professional autonomy of the audiologist in the practice of audiology.
To this end, the Academy shall actively seek to influence training institutions, federal and state regulatory agencies, fiscal intermediaries, professional organizations and the general public toward the acceptance of the doctorate as the minimum degree required for the practice of audiology.
Several basic principles are hereby adopted by the Academy to guide its advocacy in this regard, as follows:
- The Academy shall foster and seek cooperative efforts between itself and other professional organizations and academic institutions pursuant to the development of recommended programs of study for the professional doctorate. The purpose of these recommendations will be to establish academic and clinical requirements for the professional doctorate degree. Such requirements should be sufficiently flexible to facilitate individual university/college variance in the models under which doctoral level education in audiology is provided.
- The Au.D. is an appropriate designator for the professional doctorate in audiology.
- A baccalaureate degree from an accredited university/college is recommended for entrance into a professional doctorate program.
- The Academy does not endorse the grandfathering or entitlement of any degree or title.
- The Academy will actively encourage university/college programs to modify entrance requirements, provide credit for demonstrated competence in the field, and allow matriculation on a full or part-time basis for audiologists desiring to complete the professional doctorate requirements.
Originally published in Audiology Today, Volume 2, Number 5, September–October, 1990, p. 10