On today’s show, Chris Cox Au.D., and Riley Bass Au.D. are back from the holidays for a special episode of The pAuDcast. The crew talks about the differences between being licensed and being certified, the various professional membership available to audiologists, as well as understanding CEUs (continuing education). This episode is sure to thrill, so don’t miss it!
Listen to the Episode Below
Read the transcript:
CHRIS COX: Hey, Riley.
RILEY BASS: Hey, Chris.
CHRIS COX: We’re back.
RILEY BASS: We are back and better than ever.
CHRIS COX: Happy New Year.
RILEY BASS: Happy New Year. It is 2017. I can’t believe it’s already here.
CHRIS COX: 2017. Good grief.
RILEY BASS: I know.
CHRIS COX: You know, it’s been 17 years since the year 2000?
RILEY BASS: That is what 2017 means, exactly.
CHRIS COX: Can you believe that? That’s so crazy.
RILEY BASS: I can’t. I remember shooting fireworks off in the street on New Year’s Eve 2000.
CHRIS COX: Wow. OK
RILEY BASS: I was in middle school at the time, so.
CHRIS COX: We’ve got a great next couple episodes coming up for you. We did take a little bit of break in December. We had some things come up, like Christmas and–
RILEY BASS: Hanukkah.
CHRIS COX: Festivus.
RILEY BASS: Kwanzaa.
CHRIS COX: New Year’s.
RILEY BASS: All those things.
CHRIS COX: So all those things. We were just partying so hard, we just couldn’t make it into the studio and record a pAuDcast for you. So we’re going to make it up to you now. Today’s topic is–
RILEY BASS: Licensure and–
CHRIS COX: Credentialing.
RILEY BASS: And–
CHRIS COX: Memberships.
RILEY BASS: And CEUs.
CHRIS COX: That’s a lot of topics, but we’re going to try to cinch them all together. Do you have your license, Riley?
RILEY BASS: I have a license to thrill.
CHRIS COX: Ohhh.[TIRES SCREECHING]
RILEY BASS: I have my driver’s license.
CHRIS COX: Yeah.[CAR CRASHING]
Me, too. How long have you had a driver’s license?
RILEY BASS: Since I was 16, so–
CHRIS COX: Wow. You’re one of–
RILEY BASS: –14 years.
CHRIS COX: –those rich kids, huh?
RILEY BASS: Doesn’t everyone get their license at 16?
CHRIS COX: I didn’t. I had to wait.
RILEY BASS: But that doesn’t have to do with money. Just has to–
CHRIS COX: You don’t know me.
RILEY BASS: It just has to–
CHRIS COX: You don’t know my parents’ life.
RILEY BASS: It has to do with being able to drive a car. You can borrow a car to drive.
CHRIS COX: This is one of those things that we get a lot of questions on from students and from new graduates. And it’s something that a lot of people aren’t very clear on. I wasn’t very clear on it.
RILEY BASS: It’s super confusing. And I’ve been out in the field for a few years, and I’ve done some research on it even. And I still have questions and don’t know everything.
So it’s definitely something that we see that is a struggle for students and new graduates as you are coming into your professional career, knowing what license you need, what you need to get it, and any credentialling, anything else that you may need to go along with it. So it’s something that’s very important.
CHRIS COX: And credentialing is an important thing for professionals of any sort. Credentials– if we break that down, credential, cred comes from the same root word as credit, which is like believability or credibility. So it’s belief. And then dentials has to do with teeth, so you have to have truth teeth to be professional. That’s where this comes from.
RILEY BASS: Right.
CHRIS COX: I think that’s how it breaks down.
RILEY BASS: That’s exactly how it–
CHRIS COX: Latin and Greek, [INAUDIBLE].
RILEY BASS: Chris Cox actually prefers it if you call him Dr. Chris Cox, because he’s a doctor.
CHRIS COX: What is it about licensing that is so important?
RILEY BASS: Well, it’s mandatory. You have to have it.
CHRIS COX: OK. Isn’t that the same thing?[BELL RINGING]
RILEY BASS: Yeah. Technically, yeah.
CHRIS COX: All right, so mandatory. This is the bare minimum that you need to be able to practice as an audiologist right?
RILEY BASS: Right. And every state, including Washington, D.C., requires a license to practice audiology. Any type of medical profession, and even some that aren’t medical, you have to have a license to practice. So that’s just part of it. So accept it.
CHRIS COX: This is it. This is it. The only thing you need to practice, to be able to practice in your state, is the state license. Like you said, it’s maintained through the state and governed by the state. So the requirements are different from state to state. And they’ve been different ever since, what, the late ’60s, when–
RILEY BASS: Right.
CHRIS COX: –the first state decided that they were going to have a–
RILEY BASS: Do you know what the first state to require licensure was?
CHRIS COX: Let me see. Where’s Jamestown? Virginia.
RILEY BASS: Wrong. Think older than that.
CHRIS COX: Rome?
RILEY BASS: St. Augustine.
CHRIS COX: Oh, St. Augustine.
RILEY BASS: Florida. Florida was–
CHRIS COX: Florida.
RILEY BASS: –the first state to require audiology license in 1969 to practice. In the following couple years, 30 states added that, all the way up until the mid-2000s, when every single state, including D.C., required an audiology license to practice.
CHRIS COX: So they’ve all determined that it’s an important thing to have.
RILEY BASS: They have.
CHRIS COX: So what’s the purpose of the license then?
RILEY BASS: Well, there was a story a couple of years ago about a 17-year-old that was doing medical procedures on people down in South Florida and billing insurance and everything. And they found out he was an unlicensed teenager, and he got in a lot of trouble. So that will happen to you, if you don’t have a license, is you can get in trouble.
And when you think about you going to see a doctor yourself, do you want them to have actually had all of the schooling and had all the training that they need to practice? Or do you just want to take them on their word for it? And they might be high school student.
CHRIS COX: Yeah, that guy didn’t have a license. Probably didn’t have a driver’s license either.
RILEY BASS: I don’t even think he–
CHRIS COX: Mom had to–
RILEY BASS: –had a high school diploma.
CHRIS COX: Mom had to drop him off at work.
RILEY BASS: He’s like, mom, drop me off two blocks away so nobody sees you.
CHRIS COX: I’m working at Dairy Queen. So exactly. I mean, the licensure’s there to protect the consumer, to protect the patients that we see. And it’s not a barrier, necessarily. Although, some people find it very cumbersome to get a license, depending on where you are.
But it’s there for a reason. It’s there to protect us, even us, as professionals. Like you said, we don’t want to go to doctor, or work with a contractor, or work with anybody that isn’t credentialed or doesn’t have some sort of license to be able to practice.
RILEY BASS: Right. And it’s no secret that some states are more difficult or easier to get licensed in, based on the requirements. Some of them are pretty strenuous to get all of their requirements. But there’s a few things that every single state requires. Do you know what some of those things are?
CHRIS COX: You need to pay them money.
RILEY BASS: Right, of course. You have to pay everyone money.
CHRIS COX: You got to fill out the application.
RILEY BASS: That is one, too.
CHRIS COX: You usually have to show proof that you have some sort of education. These days, the Au.D. is what covers that.
RILEY BASS: Right. And for me, in most states, it was your signed, sealed transcripts you can request directly from the university, from the registrar’s office. They’ll send them directly for you. So that’s something you usually always have to have.
CHRIS COX: Yeah, so when you are looking to graduate, and you’re trying to figure out where you want to be, as far as geographically goes, you’ll want to start looking at those requirements for that state.
We live here in the state of Washington. I’m credentialed, or I have license in Washington, Oregon, Florida, and Minnesota. And they’ve all been different. Aren’t you– don’t you have licenses in other–
RILEY BASS: I have Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, and Florida.
CHRIS COX: Ooh, New Mexico’s kind of a hard one.
RILEY BASS: It’s actually probably the easiest out of–
CHRIS COX: Is it really?
RILEY BASS: –the ones I have. Yeah.
CHRIS COX: So let me look– let’s look at Oregon’s real quick. Oregon has a pretty quick, pretty easy process. Of course, you have to have the application, you have to have the money. They need to see your transcripts from your university, either from your Au.D. or master’s degree. So you can also be grandfathered in.
If you have your Cs, you can actually have them verify that as well. And we’ll talk about the ASHA certification in just a little bit. But that’s one of the things that you can also use to prove that you’ve completed the schooling requirements.
There also is a professional development requirement. If you just graduated within the last 12 months, you don’t have to have a professional development, otherwise known as class time or CEUs. If you’ve been out for longer than 12 months, though, they need 15 hours for the preceding 12 months– 15 hours of CEUs to prove that you’ve continued that professional development. And then, of course, if you do have licenses in other states, then you have to have that verified through the other states.
RILEY BASS: And one more thing that you’re not mentioning but every state requires.
CHRIS COX: What’s that?
RILEY BASS: A passing Praxis score.
CHRIS COX: That is true. That’s true. Again, if you do not have your Cs, then– your ASHA Cs– then that Praxis score does need to be submitted.
If you do have them, then it’s rolled up through that and accepted through the ASHA Cs. So again, we’re going to talk about that in just a little bit. But just, you’re right. So we need to pass that national exam.
RILEY BASS: You know now, you can take it online, and you get your scores automatically, right when you take it. When I took it, I had to wait eight weeks. But at four weeks, you could call this number and pay $30, and they’d tell you the score. And now you get it instantly.
CHRIS COX: Wow. Back in your day?
RILEY BASS: Back in my day.
CHRIS COX: Do you remember? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
RILEY BASS: Back in 2013. Man, things have changed. They’ve sure evolved.
CHRIS COX: Okay. So there’s Oregon’s. It’s decently simple and streamlined. There’s some things you’ve got to– there’s a lot of legwork with that.
But here’s Washington’s. Again, this is same region, just one state north of Oregon. And they’ve got a couple of other different things that you need. You need all of that.
They don’t have the professional development requirement, but what they do have is you need a bonding requirement. So that is basically you have to get a bond, $10,000 bond, James Bond.
RILEY BASS: I knew it was going to come eventually.
CHRIS COX: This bond is kind of in lieu of the malpractice insurance, and everyone has to have that to be able to get licensed. You have to show proof of it. You also have to have an agent registration or somebody that’s going to be representing you in the case of some sort of violation.
RILEY BASS: Chris is my representing agent.
CHRIS COX: Great. I don’t have any money to help you out with that. You also have to have AIDS training or AIDS/HIV class. I think this is a–
RILEY BASS: Yeah. It’s a four-hour online class.
CHRIS COX: It’s a four-hour online class.
RILEY BASS: And way harder than you think it’s going to be.
CHRIS COX: Yeah. I mean, you’d think, with all the training we’ve had with infectious disease and everything, it’d be kind of easy to do. But it’s–
RILEY BASS: No. It’s way hard.
CHRIS COX: It’s a little bit harder than expected. So you’ve got the AIDS training on that–
RILEY BASS: There’s–
CHRIS COX: –as well.
RILEY BASS: –also an ethics exam in Washington. Some states have different types of exams, Washington having an ethics one. But some states have a physical exam, where you actually have to perform a hearing test. And you have to supply your own equipment, your own patient. It’s–
CHRIS COX: Minnesota’s like that. California’s like that. You have to go to the capital of that state and do a bunch of [INAUDIBLE].
RILEY BASS: Just schlep your audiometer all the way to– who even has their own audiometer? I don’t know anybody that has like their personal audiometer.
CHRIS COX: Yeah, that’s what makes it difficult. And hopefully, we’ll see– those are things that are somewhat barriers for some people. The good thing, especially in Minnesota, you can get a temporary license. They only hold those tests a couple times a year, maybe two or three times a year.
In Minnesota, you may be stuck not being able to take the test for six months. So you can apply for a temporary license, and that will allow you to practice until you can sign up for the next test, the next in-person test. And then once you do that, then you can get it transferred over to a full license.
RILEY BASS: And one thing that’s really varied by state to state is a couple states require you to have an additional licensure to dispense. So you have to have both an audiology license to practice and a dispensing audiology license. Some jobs, you can work without dispensing if you work– I know I have a friend that does intraoperative monitoring, and she does not have a dispensing license.
But if you work somewhere where you’re handling any type of amplification or hearing technology, you have to have that dispensing license as well. So something to keep in mind as you’re looking at state requirements.
CHRIS COX: Again, kind of a holdover from the old days, when it was master’s degree versus hearing aid dispensers.
RILEY BASS: Hearing aid dispensers. Right.
CHRIS COX: It was a way for them to show that we have competence in being able to wield a hearing device. But, again, with the advent of the Au.D., it’s kind of made that obsolete. However, some states are still requiring that. And that will literally take an act of state congress to change for most of those issues or–
RILEY BASS: So write your congressman.
CHRIS COX: And be on the State Board, too. I mean, that can be something you can do as well, is to be involved in your state level to help influence what’s going on at each of the state legislatures.
RILEY BASS: And the long and short of it is every state’s different. And the easiest way to find out is to get on the Google machine and look up whatever state audiology license. It will usually be the first link. It will take you right to their website. They’ll tell you everything you need. Hopefully it’ll give you lots of information and a phone number you can call if you have any questions.
CHRIS COX: OK. So that’s a couple of examples of what licensing can look like. Again, this is what’s required of you as an audiologist to be able to practice. It protects the consumer, and it allows us to be able to prove that we can do what we’ve been trained to do.
RILEY BASS: And keep an eye on it. It’s usually yearly or biyearly. So you either need to do it every year or every two years.
CHRIS COX: Let’s look at certification. We have a big certification that we’ve all been exposed to as students and new professionals. And that one’s through ASHA, those CCC-A, or the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology. Now, where did this come from?
CHRIS COX: Well, Chris, it comes from back in the day, whenever audiology was a master’s level program. And this was what you needed to practice. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, they didn’t always require a state license, but you had to have something in order to practice. So the Cs was the option that you had. In order to practice in each state, you had to have your Cs, so–
CHRIS COX: But now, with the advent of the Au.D., that’s not necessary anymore.
RILEY BASS: Right. Well, yeah. The licensure is the holy grail, I guess, for practicing audiology, more so than a membership or a certification. So you don’t have to have your Cs to practice. That’s not required.
CHRIS COX: So we’ve got the ASHA Cs, and we also have the being board certified through the Academy– I’m sorry– The American Board of Audiology, ABA. Those are both ways to get certified, but they’re different from the licensure.
RILEY BASS: You don’t have to be board certified, and you don’t have to have your Cs. Those are both things that are voluntary. And they are not required to practice in any state at this time
CHRIS COX: It’s almost like with the membership, which we’ll talk about next. It’s where you choose to put your money and how you wish to support your profession. Now, there are a couple of other things, like with the ABA, you can get specialty certification for CIs or for pediatrics.
RILEY BASS: Right. The CISC or the PASC–
CHRIS COX: Mmm. Very nice.
RILEY BASS: –if you need some more letters to put after your name.
CHRIS COX: We use right now the Au.D. after our name. Some people have, when they get their Cs, use the CCC-A after their name. That’s good and well.
But you definitely want to make sure you understand how the designators and your credentials go behind your name, because it’s not exactly what everyone seems to be putting behind their name. We’ll talk about that in just a second, especially with the membership piece of it. Let’s look at memberships. There’s a lot of different groups that we can be a part of. As–
RILEY BASS: Right. Think there’s four big ones.
CHRIS COX: Four big ones, and then there’s a bunch of other smaller ones. Our four big ones, obviously, are–
RILEY BASS: ASHA.
CHRIS COX: AAA.
RILEY BASS: ABA.
CHRIS COX: ADA.
RILEY BASS: Yep. There’s also a lot of smaller, more specific ones, as well as the state level academies.
CHRIS COX: Mm-hmm. There’s some for the vestibular side. There’s some for just that acoustical side.
RILEY BASS: [? EHDI, ?] which is for the education of deaf and hearing individuals or–
CHRIS COX: Right, right, yes.
RILEY BASS: –the educational side.
CHRIS COX: Mm-hmm. So there’s a lot of little smaller memberships you can be a part of, as well as, like you said, our state boards, which are pretty important. So really, these memberships, again, these are voluntary. These are what you do as a professional to align yourself with whatever the purpose or the goals are for the specific entity it is, whatever group that is.
And, of course, as you know, there’s a pretty big thing going on within audiology, where we’ve got the three big ones– ASHA, AAA, and ADA– who all have different goals. And people align with those goals differently. And it’s been seen as kind of fractured, especially for such a small profession as we have. Now, here we’re not trying to side with any one entity because that’s not what we’re here to do.
RILEY BASS: In fact, I think we both belong to all three of those big ones.
CHRIS COX: We do. And there are definitely great things about each one of them, and there’s also some things that we may not align with for each one of them. But that’s what it means to be a discerning, intelligent professional, is to understand where you stand on certain issues and figuring out what you align with the best.
RILEY BASS: Right. And your membership into a different organization is going to give you that voice to be an advocate and to decide where you feel that you want to see the profession going. And that’s going to give you the voice to use that, because we can make a lot bigger impact if we work together. And we really need to do that.
There’s only 13,000 audiologists in the country. And we really need to work on uniting as one industry, and coming together, and really moving it forward, because we’re not going anywhere.
CHRIS COX: It is up to us, as the new professionals, to be able to do that and get on the same page. Again, not trying to politicize anything, not trying to take any sides with anybody, but it’s a truth. And as far as these memberships go, whenever we’d figure out what we align with and who we align with, then we round up the wagons. And we figure out where we’re going to go with it and how we’re going to evolve our own profession.
RILEY BASS: You can be an advocate for a lot of different things, but we all need to be an advocate for audiology. The last topic of the day, Chris. Your favorite–
CHRIS COX: C–
RILEY BASS: –thing.
CHRIS COX: –E U.
RILEY BASS: You later. CEUs.
CHRIS COX: Yes, I would love to. CEUs. They are both the bane of our professional existence and what keeps all of us together.
RILEY BASS: CEUs, or continuing education units, are required in audiology and in every other field as well. Pretty much anything that you have a license in, you have to have CEUs in. But each state is different as far as how many they require. I think ASHA requires 30 CEUs every two years. Some states require as few as 10. Some states require as many as 30.
CHRIS COX: I think there’s a couple that don’t even require any, right?
RILEY BASS: Right, and some don’t. I know, as having a Florida license, Florida requires three of your CEUs to be in ethics courses. So you have to have a wide variety of different types of courses. So it can’t just be hearing aid training after hearing aid training. You have to do some ethical training as well.
So it’s kind of a necessary evil but also a really good thing, because we do need to make sure we’re learning and evolving, especially in such a technology-based field. Technology is changing so quickly that we want to make sure that we’re staying on top of those changes, and we’re able to adapt to the new things.
CHRIS COX: There are different ways that you can manage the CEUs. You can manage them yourself, by keeping track of all the hours for yourself. ASHA also has a CEU tracker that you can sign up for every time you become a member. And if you take courses that are ASHA-certified– or I’m sorry– ASHA-approved, then they’ll be automatically kept track of in the ASHA registry.
AAA also has one where you have your CEU transcript. And if you’ve done anything that– any of the classes or courses that are approved by AAA– as long as you’re connecting your AAA number to that course whenever you submit the–
RILEY BASS: Right. Usually there’s a sign-in sheet. If you go to a live event or online, you’ll enter it, and it’ll automatically register you.
CHRIS COX: If you choose not to do that, because of Big Brother or whatever, you don’t want people looking at what you’ve been taking–
RILEY BASS: I don’t want people knowing what classes I take.
CHRIS COX: I don’t want anybody knowing that I’m taking this wax removal class. But, yeah, if you choose to take care of it yourself, then you have to do that, and keep very good records of it. And in case you get audited, which does happen from time to time, you have to show proof, either by having your certificate that you earned from that specific class or having some other proof that you took the course.
And keeping that handy with you, every time you’ve got to reregister– or, I’m sorry– renew your memberships, your certification, or your licensure. All three of them. Sometimes they all just– they all three of them need them. The thing to remember about your CEUs is there’s different ways to track them. You can even track them in an Excel folder if you want to or Excel file if you want to. But–
RILEY BASS: Pretty much every conference will offer them. Any state level, national level, manufacturer-sponsored, industry-sponsored, anything is going to offer CEUs.
CHRIS COX: Because they know, if they don’t offer it, no one’s going to show up. You’re not going to spend a day out of the office to go to a training of some sort.
RILEY BASS: It’s only a little bit of a bribe.
CHRIS COX: Yeah. Because we need them. So it does take a little bit of getting used to. And the idea of getting a CEU, or earning CEUs over the years, can seem kind of daunting. But as long as you can make it to a state conference or a couple of those live events, usually you can get most of your CEUs wiped– or not wiped– but most of those CEUs earned in that one sitting, if you are diligent about it.
RILEY BASS: And there’s always online courses, too, you can take. If you need those ethics hours or something, you can find those online.
CHRIS COX: And it’s last minute, and you’ve got two weeks left. And you got to do something [INAUDIBLE].
RILEY BASS: It’s December 19. You’re like, I got to finish these.
CHRIS COX: So there’s definitely ways to get those last minute, and–
RILEY BASS: Though, everybody, don’t be like Chris.
CHRIS COX: Don’t be like me. In review, we’ve talked about quite a bit today, especially for one pAuDcast. So let’s get those highlights and the high points. What is required to practice as an audiologist?
RILEY BASS: A license.
CHRIS COX: Okay.[BELL RINGING]
What is a good thing to have, gives you that third party acknowledgement, and shows the clinical competency for doing what you’re doing?
RILEY BASS: Certification.[BELL RINGING}
CHRIS COX: And what is one of those things that you do voluntarily to support your profession?
RILEY BASS: Membership.[BELL RINGING]
CHRIS COX: And then, how do you keep all of that going?
RILEY BASS: CEUs.[BELL RINGING]
CHRIS COX: That’s right. That’s like the ammo that makes it go. Well, that doesn’t really make sense. It’s like the power cells that make everything–
RILEY BASS: The gasoline.
CHRIS COX: Gasoline. That works, too.
RILEY BASS: The coal in the train.
CHRIS COX: Ah, man. You’re going old school. Gas, fossil fuels. Wow.[MUSIC PLAYING]
RILEY BASS: We know this was a lot of information for one pAuDcast. There’s a lot of questions. We had to do some research to be able to deliver this information to you, and we’ve been out in the field for a few years now. Like I said, so much. Each state is different.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can help you at least try to figure out where the information is located. As always, we will see you next time.
CHRIS COX: All right. Thank you, guys.