American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Information About Clinical Doctoral Programs in Audiology

A number of universities are currently accepting students into clinical doctoral education programs in audiology. Some offer post-baccalaureate degree programs; others offer post-master's programs; and a few offer opportunities for both. The following information is provided to answer some frequently asked questions about these programs.

What is the difference between a post-baccalaureate and post-master's program?

Post-baccalaureate and post-master's programs in audiology differ in their duration and the goals of the program toward ASHA certification and state licensure. Post-baccalaureate programs, culminating in either a master's or doctoral degree and designed to educate students for entry-level professional practice are eligible for review and programmatic accreditation through ASHA's Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology's (CAA).

  • Post-baccalaureate programs are for individuals who hold an undergraduate degree and usually are 4 years in duration with a residency year that will allow them to be eligible for ASHA certification upon graduation.
  • Post-master's programs are designed for individuals who hold a degree in audiology and have gained at least 3-4 years of clinical experience.

PhD programs and other degree programs that require a conferred master's degree for matriculation into the program are not eligible for review and accreditation through CAA. Because this type of program's purpose is not to prepare individuals to enter professional practice, but to obtain an advanced degree, CAA cannot review this type of program as it goes beyond the jurisdiction of the CAA's scope of recognition by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Post-master's degree programs, sometimes referred to as professional degree programs, therefore, do not need to be accredited through the CAA. Students enrolled in these programs should remain eligible for federal financial aid and other federal funding programs, provided the institution of higher education holds accreditation through a USDE-recognized institutional accreditor.

Does the degree designator make a difference?

Entry-level doctoral programs in audiology often referred to as clinical doctoral programs, have typically used the degree designators of AuD or ScD. Although some professional degree programs utilize the same degree designator as entry-level degree programs, i.e., AuD, it is important to determine the program's requirements for admission/enrollment. If it requires a prospective student to have a master's degree and already be licensed and/or ASHA certified, this type of program would be offering a professional degree program. If the educational requirements for admission/enrollment are completion of a baccalaureate degree, the program may be distinguishable as offering an entry-level program.

How will I know if a program has received accreditation by the CAA?

As stated above, only post-baccalaureate (PB) programs are eligible for review and accreditation by the CAA. ASHA publishes a list of clinical doctoral programs and identifies those that have submitted accreditation materials to the CAA for its review. Accredited programs are designated "CAA"; approved Candidacy programs are designated "CAA-C"; and programs whose application materials are in process, pending a final accreditation decision are marked "IP." Candidacy programs are newly developed graduate education programs that have not, in the past five years, granted a graduate level degree in the areas for which it seeks accreditation.

Clinical doctoral programs in audiology that developed out of an existing masters-level program are not automatically accredited by the CAA. The Council's Policy on Substantive Changes requires all programs to submit information regarding their plan for continued compliance with the accreditation standards, which must be approved. Clinical doctoral programs that have been reviewed and approved by the CAA are so noted in this list.

If I attend an audiology program that holds candicacy with the CAA, can I still apply for ASHA certification?

Yes. The Council For Clinical Certification (CFCC) will consider applications for the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from students who were enrolled in an education program while it held candidacy status for CAA accreditation. Students enrolled during the candidacy period will be required to complete the entire certification application form, which the CFCC will evaluate to determine if all requirements have been met for certification.

Candidacy status is not retroactive; students who initiate graduate course work in their professional area before candidacy status is awarded to the program where such work is done may not apply those graduate professional credits toward meeting the certification standards.

Graduate professional course work and practicum may be counted for purposes of certification beginning with the academic term (semester or quarter) that candidacy is awarded. If the CAA withdraws candidacy from a program, students enrolled in the program are protected under this agreement only until the end of the semester in which the CAA takes such action.

How can I find a clinical doctoral program?

The listing of Doctoral Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders that are currently accepting students into doctoral education programs, includes clinical doctoral programs accredited by CAA, as well as programs not eligible for CAA accreditation.

The listing of all CAA-Accredited Graduate Programs includes master's degree programs and clinical doctoral programs accredited by the CAA.

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