The importance of audiology is becoming better recognized with each passing year. Whereas in the recent past, one may have only associated an audiologist with a medical position, the need for audiologists in a wide array of fields is becoming more salient.
Whether it is consulting manufacturing, construction, or other high-noise work environments with workplace safety, or working in schools to aid students with hearing issues, audiologists are needed everywhere.
For this reason and others, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 21% increase in audiology-related jobs by the year 2026.
Furthermore, audiologists discuss their careers with high praise. To quote an audiologist directly, “I find tremendous joy working with people long term, connecting with them, hearing their stories, and sharing their lives all through sound.”
With the audiology career being so rewarding, it is no surprise that the jobs platform CareerCast ranked an audiologist’s career as the 4th least stressful career in the country.
As audiology is a rewarding profession, growing in need with a robust return on investment for the cost of education, many will be seeking out an audiology career in the near future.
But before they enter into an official audiology position, they’ll want to consider the options available to them for schooling carefully.
As such, this article will break down the 10 of the best audiology schools in the country.
In doing so, we’ll break down some of the unique aspects of each institution and why a student might choose that school over its competitors.
Hopefully, this article will serve as a first step toward finding your perfect fit for audiology schooling. So, without further adieu, here are our picks for 10 of the best audiology colleges in the US.
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
In 2005, Vanderbilt’s audiology program moved into a facility that is, perhaps, the finest of its kind in the nation. And the rankings agree that Vanderbilt’s hospital, in which audiology students study, is among the nation’s best.
The specific location of audiology within this larger hospital is the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center. This institution tends to a community with a high need for audiologists, evidenced by the Wilkerson Center’s expansion in 2022 into the suburb of Franklin.
Vanderbilt’s audiology doctorate is considered a generalist degree, and as such, students will study the full range of audiology sciences as opposed to one specific area of audiology.
Graduates not yet in a formal audiology program will be in good hands at Vanderbilt, as it was ranked #6 in the country for its undergraduate, pre-med affordances by The Savvy Pre-med.
University of Nebraska – Lincoln (Lincoln, NE)
If one is looking for evidence of the good Nebraska’s audiology program does, they need only look at their year-in-review data, which Nebraska shares on National Hearing Day.
Alongside having aided in the hearing needs of over 1,000 patients per year, Nebraska also runs multiple world-class hearing aid banks. Through these banks, over 300 hearing aids are provided to patients in any given year.
And the care Nebraska provides to patients is constantly expanding. More and more, audiology students at Nebraska have been studying and practicing abroad to provide hearing medicine to patients outside the U.S.
For example, audiology faculty and students regularly travel to Nicaragua on service trips. This location was chosen because, according to Nebraska, there is only one known audiologist in Nicaragua.
As such, Nebraska provides ample opportunities to both study audiology and engage in one of audiology’s most important components: doing good.
University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)
Unlike many top audiology schools, the University of Iowa offers undergraduate students the chance to study within their audiology department while attaining a bachelor’s in speech and hearing science.
Iowa also has a combined Au.D./Ph.D. in speech and hearing science, thus making it an ideal choice for students who want to straddle the line between medical practice and medical research in the realm of audiology.
The U of I audiology program brings together all sorts of audiology students across all levels of education. Despite the broadness of this community, the group is still close knit, with very active audiology student groups.
One such group is their chapter of the Student Academy of Audiology. This group has over 200 students and alumni dedicated to providing community and support to audiology students.
Rush University Medical Center (Chicago, IL)
Rush University Medical Center is known for its audiology program. This is the case in part because Rush’s audiology teaching methods have a tradition of providing results.
Rush operates under the teacher-practitioner model of instruction, in which students will combine coursework, patient care, and research to develop a nuanced understanding of the subject.
At Rush’s audiology department, they maintain an impressive 100% pass rate on the national Praxis examination for audiologists over the past five years.
As such, studying audiology at Rush is likely to set a hopeful audiologist up for success, both as a student and as a practitioner after graduation.
With an ever-expanding and robust strategic plan that hopes to best realize the mission of Rush’s audiology program and the university writ large, Rush’s audiology program is on track to become even greater in the coming years.
Gallaudet University (Washington, DC)
The audiology program at Gallaudet is the second most popular graduate program across the entire university, even more popular than psychology or social work.
And what is the first most popular graduate program at Gallaudet? Sign language—a discipline that is incredibly important for many of the patients audiologists see.
Considering most Au.D. programs require a student to know or learn sign language, the popularity and dedication Gallaudet gives to sign language makes their program stand out. Courses in sign language are required for a doctorate in audiology at Gallaudet.
The curriculum at Gallaudet is nuanced and thorough, as it was developed alongside recommendations from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), and the Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology (ARA).
As such, the course design at Gallaudet meets the highest standards in the field.
Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
The average undergraduate GPA for students admitted at Ohio’s Au.D program sits around 3.8. This speaks to the competitiveness of the program and its dedication to excellence.
It doesn’t take long to find examples of Ohio graduates who have started incredibly successful private practices or advanced the field in meaningful ways.
For example, 3 Ohio State alumni founded Hearing Innovations—a center for hearing medicine that has grown in size to two separate locations in recent years.
Ohio State University offers 3 degrees and a graduate minor. These include a PhD, AuD, and a masters in speech-language pathology. Alongside this, Ohio also has a sizable Student Academy of Audiology, with over 400 members.
This organization plans events and serves as a hub for Ohio’s audiology students at any level.
James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA)
James Madison University boasts impressive statistics.
Compared to other major audiology programs in the country, JMU stands apart via its small class sizes. Typically, there will only be about 7 students per class.
Furthermore, JMU students will have the option to transition from an AuD program to an AuD/PhD program after they begin their studies.
Many medical programs require students to make the choice between PhD and medical degree prior to applying, but the flexibility of JMU’s AuD/PhD program will be particularly useful for students unsure if medicine or research—or both—is the right choice for them.
University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)
The University of Utah is home to one of the best hospitals in the nation. University Hospital at Utah was nationally ranked 14th out of all university hospitals thanks to its robust selection of over 200 medical specialties and over 1,100 board-certified physicians.
Located within the College of Health, the University of Utah takes advantage of this robust health infrastructure to the fullest extent. As another program that offers a AuD/PhD, Utah degrees are designed to equip students to tackle a wide range of audiology careers.
A specific program that will be of great appeal to many students is Utah’s Project ASSIST specialty track. This specialty track allows students to collaborate with school teachers and school-age children who have hearing impairments.
As such, for audiologists with a particular interest in working with school-age patients with hearing difficulty, there may be no better school in the nation to gain hands-on experience in this field than Utah.
University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
Pitt doesn’t only have an evidence-focused outlook to aiding patients with hearing impairments—but in instruction as well.
With a focus on using evidence-based teaching methods to equip their students with the highest quality education possible, Pitt’s students will experience the finest audiology education anywhere in the world.
From day one, Pitt students will receive clinical training at one of Pitt’s more than 40 clinical sites. All the while, they will receive instruction from professors trained both as educators and audiologists.
One of the stand-apart aspects of Pitt’s program is its Brain and Communication Science Research Initiative. Combining the best in neuroscience research with audiology research, students have a chance to investigate the neural underpinnings of hearing, balance, and more.
Students spend their first year of clinical training in a cross-discipline clinical network at the UPMC Eye & Ear Institute, VA Medical Center of Pittsburgh, and the UPMC Center for Assistive Technology.
Then, they will transition to outplacement clinics, where they will choose between the 40 sites working with Pitt.
In this way, this program is ideal for those who want to both explore the range of audiology fields and come to specialize in one of them.
Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)
The audiology program at Washington University in St. Louis is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious. With an impressive 100% Praxis test success rate, and a 100% employment rate despite its relatively large class size of around 40 students, WashU has the statistics to back up its claims of excellence.
Alongside a PhD in speech and hearing sciences and a doctorate in audiology, WashU offers a master’s of science in deaf education as a part of its audiology and communication science program.
Not only does WashU excel on the graduate level, but undergraduate as well. One can receive a minor in audiology from the audiology department and participate in events hosted by the Students’ Association of Speech and Hearing Sciences.
Whether as an undergraduate or graduate student, an educator, researcher, or medical practitioner, WashU is sure to provide an ideal experience for any student interested in any facet of audiology.