You walk into your drop-dead gorgeous audiologist’s office and she’s so hot, you pop a boner, ready to plink down $7000 for any new hearing aids she hangs on your ears. However, you need to disconnect her beauty from her brains, and we at The Evil Audiologist are here to assist you.
For starters, look at her diploma on the wall: How do you know that she was actually trained at a real school, and not some mail-order diploma mill… Or worse? We’ll give you our first hint here in the lede: If the school on the sheepskin says Lamar, Missouri State, Texas Tech, Gallaudet or Louisiana Tech, then Run Like Hell!
Fortunately, the people over at US News & World Report rank the various Au.D. clinical doctorate programs out of the 73 in the U.S.; and from our dealings with their alumni, these 3 pages of rankings are surprisingly accurate, especially the bottom-of-the-barrel programs on page 3. In addition, ASHA/CAA accreditation status can tell a story, with the Auburn program having been on probation and the Missouri State program actually — and deservedly — unaccredited.
When you look at the listings, they are somewhat skewed, as part of the ranking methodology is numbers of papers published by their faculty dinosaurs — That is what pushed Vanderbilt’s program to the very top of the pile. Vandy’s an excellent school, and their CI program & clinic are outstanding, but it’s certainly not any better than the others in the Top 8, such as Northwestern, UNC-Chapel Hill, Ohio State, or UT-Dallas. Basically, if the school on your audie’s sheepskin is on the first page, there’s a high probability she’s reasonably competent.
Sometimes lack of publishing can push an otherwise-good program down in the rankings, such as what happened to University of North Texas and University of Oklahoma.
Published papers by faculty can also move a truly rotten audiology school to ratings mediocrity: Several experienced audies who supervise interns have told us that Gallaudet’s Au.D. students have the weakest clinical skills of any they have hired, as fluency in ASL is not a clinical skill — But we bet they masturbate really good! 😀
So-called “transitional AuD” (tAuD) programs are highly variable: These were online programs in which master’s level audiologists enrolled to plump up their credentials after all of the masters’ level programs were decertified (accreditation history here). Some, like University of Florida, are somewhat good; while puppy mills like Pennsylvania College of Optometry (Salus) and AT Still are dubious. In any event, if you see sheepskins for both an older masters & newer doctorate of audiology, you can get a pretty good reading based on where she earned her master’s.
In our next article, we’ll expose the sorry state of pediatric audiology with actual case histories, but to give you a preview — and with only a couple of notable exceptions ♥ — the audiology & CI programs at “Children’s Hospital of [insert city here]” and “[insert Big Donor Name here] Children’s Hospital” are universally rotten to the core.
♥ The notable exceptions that have outstanding pediatric audiology programs are Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago, and All Children’s in St. Pete~