The Cost of a “Mail Order” Doctor of Audiology Degree

By Ross J. Roeser

Ross Roeser, Ph.D.
Ross Roeser, Ph.D.

Recent posts in Hearing Health Matters have focused on the “costs” associated with the AuD Degree and conclude that transitional programs were less “costly” than non-transitional (residential university) programs.

As stated in one post, one “cheap” and but highly controversial solution was to grandfather working professionals with “earned entitlement.”  Indeed, it was “cheap” and “highly controversial.”  Cheap in that it required less financial investment of those who earned the entitlement to be called a Doctor of Audiology.  Highly controversial, because it wasn’t openly debated on the Audiology Foundation of America (AFA) board, on which I was a member at the time.  In fact, when I (and other AFA board members) were not informed that AFA accepted earned entitlement as a method of attaining an AuD degree, several of us resigned out of principle because the decision did not follow due process.

That is not to say that I am opposed to the Transitional AuD, sometimes referred to as “earned entitlement{{1}}[[1]]Please refer to the HearingEconomics post discussing Transitional AuD vs. Earned Entitlement proposed by the AFA, Here.[[1]],” or that I feel that earned entitlement wasn’t a valid method of upgrading existing practitioners into the AuD.  It is also not to say that programs that offered a Transitional AuD failed to provide good quality didactic education.  In fact, I reviewed the curriculum of several programs and was quite impressed with the information taught and the dedication of the faculty teaching the courses.

All that said, it must be realized that for good reasons our non-audiology colleagues aren’t as enthusiastic about how the process of earned entitlement was carried out, and it “cost” audiology significantly in how we are viewed in the professional community. In a recent conversation with a highly respected and good colleague he kept referring to the AuD as the “mail order” degree.

Of course, I was offended and kept reiterating to this person what our students who spend four years in formal didactic courses and clinical rotations are exposed to.  As well as the requirements and expectations.

All this is to say that we must realize that although earned entitlement accomplished its goal of allowing a significant number of audiology practitioners to upgrade their academic credentials to become “doctors”, and the financial burden was much less than students who are currently in university programs, the cost was a loss of credibility within the professional community in which audiologists operate.  It is fortunate that audiology is beyond the transitional degree period, and that with few exceptions all of those wanting to pursue audiology as a profession will be enrolled in university programs.


Ross Roeser, PhD, is Professor and Head of the Doctor of Audiology Program at the University of Texas at Dallas/Callier Center for Communication Disorders, and Executive Director Emeritus of the Callier Center. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Audiology, and was the founding Editor of Ear & Hearing.


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1 Comment

  1. Well, I think there’s a big difference between a Transitional AuD through a respected university and just apply for an earned entitlement because you have been practicing for 20 years. Thankfully EE was controversial enough that a very limited number of audiologists actually did that.

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