Statement by the Ethical Practice
Board: Use of the AuD Designation by Members and
It has come to the Ethical Practice Board's (EPB)
attention that a credentialing designation known as the
"AuD" can be obtained through a method called
The designation is awarded through a portfolio review process
with main emphasis on the review of the documentation of tasks
previously performed, time in practice, additional educational
courses taken, awards received, and publications written by the
As a result, the question has been posed to the EPB as to
whether an AuD designation obtained through "earned
entitlement" which is used in professional and commercial
communications is in violation of ASHA's Code of Ethics.
In 1987, the Ethical Practice Board of the American
Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) published an Issues in
Ethics Statement entitled: "Use of Graduate Degrees by
Members and Certificate Holders."
This Statement was issued to provide guidance to ASHA members
and certificate holders on how to utilize college and university
degrees in business and professional communications.
The 1987 Statement was based upon ASHA's Code of Ethics,
specifically Principle of Ethics III, Rules A and E, which
- Individuals shall not misrepresent their credentials,
competence, education, training, or experience (Rule A).
- Individuals' statements to the public-advertising,
announcing, and marketing their professional services,
reporting research results, and promoting products-shall adhere
to prevailing professional standards and shall not contain
misrepresentations (Rule E).
In further clarifying the use of graduate degrees in light of
the wording of Principle of Ethics III, Rules A and E, the EPB
stated: "When members or certificate holders use the
graduate degree in connection with any aspect of the professions
or disciplines of speech-language pathology, audiology, or the
speech-language-hearing sciences, those provisions of the Code of
Ethics require that the graduate degree (a) be granted by a
regionally accredited institution or (b) be determined to meet
equivalent standards. Any determination of equivalence must be
made prior to the use of the degree."
The Statement further declared, "ASHA members and
certificate holders may use only graduate degrees from accredited
institutions or their equivalent on stationery, business cards,
catalogs, advertisements, listings, directories, programs,
announcements, or any publication in which members or certificate
holders are identified for some professional purpose."
Degrees from accredited institutions were defined "as
those awarded by postsecondary educational institutions that are
accredited by regional accrediting agencies recognized by the
United States Department of Education or the Council on
Post-Secondary Accreditation" (currently, the Commission on
Recognition of Post-Secondary Accreditation/Council on Higher
Therefore, it is the opinion of the Ethical Practice Board
that, in any form of communication in connection with the
professional practice of audiology, the use of an AuD designation
obtained by "earned entitlement" from any organization
or institution that is not regionally accredited (or that has not
shown that it meets equivalent standards) may be
in violation of ASHA's Code of Ethics.
The use of the AuD designator creates the impression that it
represents a doctoral-level degree awarded by a regionally
accredited institution, usually a university.
An AuD designator obtained through "earned
entitlement' from an organization or institution not
regionally accredited, or has not been determined to meet the
standards of regional accreditation, and is not a degree granting
institution, will cause considerable confusion in the profession
and the public.
Use of this designator implies that the audiologist has
completed a doctoral-level program and obtained a doctorate
degree in audiology.
It also implies that the services offered by the person using
the designation "AuD" through "earned
entitlement" originate from a person who possesses an AuD
The EPB believes that the use of an "earned
entitlement" AuD designation in professional and commercial
communications misrepresents the actual educational training and
experience of the user and the source of the services being
offered, and causes a significant likelihood of confusion with
AuD degrees awarded to individuals by regionally accredited
postsecondary educational institutions.
Violations of ASHA's Code of Ethics may result in the
revocation of certification and/or membership for those
professionals who are ASHA members and/or holders of ASHA's
Certificate of Clinical Competence.
EPB's position on this matter is being published in the
interest of the welfare of those people who are served by the
members of the audiology profession and by the members of the
See the Executive Board
ASHA's Code of Ethics