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Academic Programs, Class Sizes, and Obstacles to Growth in Audiology
06 August 2020 (online)
Background: Over the past 25 yr, the number of academic programs in audiology has been cut by half, yet there continue to be calls for further reductions in the number of programs. Reducing the number of programs potentially affects the number of graduates and therefore could impact the availability of audiologists in the future. There is a question as to whether academic programs in audiology could accommodate more students.
Purpose: To examine the impact of closure of programs on the number of graduates and to identify obstacles to programs growing class sizes.
Data Collection and Analysis: An analysis of audiology class sizes over time based on data available from the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and a comparison of audiology class sizes with other health professions, to identify trends that affect growth in program size.
Results: The key obstacles to growth of academic programs are (1) the availability of sufficient clinical experiences to meet the licensure and certification requirements and (2) financial resources to expand didactic and clinical teaching needs associated with larger class sizes.
Conclusions: (1) Certification regulations and licensure laws should be revised to eliminate requirements that directly impact on academic programs or students prior to graduation. (2) The profession should undertake the effort designed to change Medicare regulations to allow alternative supervision models. (3) Academic programs need freedom to be creative in their approaches to teaching and financing programs. (4) A concerted and coordinated effort needs to be undertaken to increase the number of persons interested in audiology as a career.