In medicine, family doctors and general practitioners often defer to specialists to treat patients with complex health problems. Audiologists are medical specialists who identify and treat hearing disorders and other ear-related health issues like vertigo and balance problems. A bachelor's degree and completion of a four-year doctoral program in audiology are required to enter the occupation.
Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that audiologists earned $71,000 a year on average in May 2011. Audiologists earned an average hourly income of $34.13. The workers in the top 10th of the pay scale made more than $101,200 a year and the workers in the bottom 10 percent made less than $43,000. Fifty percent of audiologists had annual incomes between $55,080 and $83,540.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that California employed the most audiologists of any state in May 2011 and that workers in California made $75,830 a year on average. Texas ranked second in total employment and workers in the state made $68,660 on average. Audiologists in New Jersey led the nation in terms of annual pay, making $90,850 a year, followed by Kentucky at $88,350 and Hawaii at $87,220.
Similar to other medical specialists, audiologists work for a variety of health care providers and the employer a worker chooses can influence pay. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says audiologists working in offices of physicians made $70,250 on average, workers at general hospitals made $73,620 and workers employed at outpatient care centers made $80,810. Audiologists working for health and personal care stores made $66,920 on average and workers at elementary and secondary schools earned $66,380.
The need for health care is linked to the overall size of the population and the number of elderly people who need extra care. Steady population growth and the aging of the baby boomer generation are likely to drive job growth for audiologists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of audiologists will grow by 37 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is more than twice the national average of 14 percent for all occupations. Job prospects should be good for new graduates from doctoral programs.