Paediatric Certification Framework

Audiology Australia is currently developing a voluntary paediatric audiology certification framework. 
 

 

Audiology Australia is currently developing a voluntary paediatric audiology certification framework. This will enable Audiologists experienced in the delivery of paediatric audiology services to apply for certification identifying them as having advanced skills working with children, including on complex cases.

 

This is in line with the draft Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists being developed for the Hearing Health Sector Alliance. Funded by the Australian Government, you can read more about the Paediatric Competency Standards project here.

 

Certification will be voluntary with Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologists already considered competent to practise independently (without supervision), regardless of their paediatric certification status.

 

Available for download here, consultation on the first draft of the certification framework is currently underway.

 

Closing 28 November 2021, members are invited to complete the feedback survey to provide comment on all aspects of the framework. Click here.

 

Please also see below FAQs for details of our upcoming interactive online discovery sessions in December - registrations now open!

 

Frequently asked questions

 

Who is on the Paediatric Certification Working Group?

The Working Group comprises experienced paediatric Audiologists and AudA Board members:

Jessica Vitkovic (Chair)

Fiona Duncan

Alison King

Lia Traves

Barbra Timmer

Dani Tomlin

 

Is the draft certification framework in final form?

No. The current survey forms the start of the consultation process to seek feedback on this first draft of the framework. Further consultation and revision of the draft is planned.

 

What are the next consultation steps in the project?

December 2021

We have scheduled two externally facilitated interactive online discovery sessions on 6 and 9 December. These will provide members with a forum to share their views on the first draft of the certification framework. Members of the Working Group will be present to answer any questions.

The draft will be revised as a result of these sessions and feedback gathered during the current survey in preparation for the focus groups planned for February 2022

Register for the sessions here.

 

February 2022

Externally facilitated focus groups are planned in February to ask members for feedback on the revised draft. Members will also be able to submit written feedback to this process.

The draft will be further revised as a result of these sessions before undergoing testing ahead of implementation of the framework in 2022.

The goal is to ensure a full, constructive, and robust consultation process.

 

What is the definition of a paediatric client?

The draft Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists define a child as someone under the age of 18, thereby including infants, children, and young people. The draft certification framework aligns with the competency standards, operating with the same definition.

 

Will it be mandatory for anyone working in paediatric audiology to be certified?

No. The certification framework is a voluntary system. The framework is not a barrier to delivering services to children and their families. In line with the Scope of Practice, AudA Accredited Audiologists are able, and will remain able, to work with all ages, from infants to older adults.

 

Who is the draft certification framework designed for?

The certification framework is designed for those who want to be able to describe themselves as having the competencies of someone at an advanced level working with children, including complex cases - an experienced paediatric Audiologist. This is in line with the draft Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists.

Certification will also be valuable for consumers to understand the level of clinical expertise and the area of practice the Audiologist works in. The emphasis is on up to date clinically related experience, for example including management of a paediatric clinic, rather than purely academic experience.

 

Will those who choose not to apply for certification be able to continue working with children and their families?

Yes. Audiologists who choose not to apply for certification will be able to continue delivering paediatric audiology services.

 

What will distinguish an AudA Accredited Audiologist without certification in paediatric audiology, from one with certification?

Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologists are competent to practise independently with or without paediatric certification, regardless of their paediatric certification status?

 

What are the three systems in the draft certification framework?

  1. Progression towards eligibility - For those AudA Accredited Audiologists who do not yet have the required amount of paediatric audiology experience but are working towards it.
  2. Interim  - For AudA Accredited Audiologists who are experienced in paediatric audiology - a grandfathering arrangement requiring less information to be submitted in the application process. This system will be open until commencement of the permanent system.

  3. Permanent - For AudA Accredited Audiologists who apply after 1 July 2022.

 

What are the eligibility requirements for those wanting to apply for certification, in the draft certification framework (interim and permanent systems)?

Draft eligibility requirements, subject to review following member feedback, are:

  • AudA Accredited Audiologist; and
  • Minimum 400 hours paediatric audiology clinical experience after completion of Clinical Internship, accumulated during a non-consecutive or consecutive period of no less than 6 months, within the 3 years prior to the date the application is received by AudA.

Therefore, these two people in the examples below, with 400 hours accumulated in at least 6 months within the past 3 years, would meet the proposed requirement:

Example 1:

Person 1 is eligible with the hours accumulated over 6 months:

June, August 2019

April, July, October 2020

August 2021.

 

Example 2:

Person 2 is eligible with the hours accumulated over 24 months:

May, June, July, October, November 2019

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November 2020

May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December 2021

 

These two people in the examples below, with 400 hours accumulated in less than 6 months within the past 3 years, would not meet the proposed requirement:

Example 1:

Person 3 is not eligible with the hours accumulated over only 5 months:

September, October, November 2019

July, August 2021.

 

Example 2:

Person 4 is not eligible with the hours accumulated over only 4 months:

August, October, November, December 2021

 

Can the 6 months as specified in the draft eligibility criteria be consecutive?

Yes. As long as a minimum of 400 hours is accumulated during no less than 6 months in the 3 years prior to the date the application is received by Audiology Australia, the months can be either consecutive or non-consecutive. For example:

February, March, April, May, June, July 2020 = 6 months consecutive

February, March, June, August 2020, and January, February 2021 = 6 months non-consecutive

 

Will those who work part time be eligible to apply for certification in the draft framework?

Whether the Audiologist works with paediatric clients on average 2 hours per week, or 20 hours per week, they are eligible if they meet the proposed requirement of a minimum of 400 hours in a period of no less than 6 months, within the 3 years prior to the date the application is received by AudA.

 

In the draft eligibility criteria, does the experience have to be accumulated within one year?

As long as the Audiologist accumulates a minimum of 400 hours during no less than 6 months in the 3 years prior to the date the application is received, the experience can be accumulated during the same or different years.

 

What happens to those who take maternity leave or are unable to build the minimum hours or CPD points required due to personal circumstances and hardship?

The existing policies apply to assist members in those circumstances, including Recency and Resumption of Practice, and the CPD Policy and Procedures. These would also apply in the case of paediatric certification. The requirements would be tailored to the individual as per the policies.

 

What were the models the Working Group considered when developing the draft certification framework?

The Working Group reviewed approaches taken by international audiology bodies as well as other Australian allied health professions. There were a number of models considered:

  • Education: Requires a higher degree qualification to be completed in the area of practice, after the original degree qualifying for the profession itself.

  • Professional development: Undertake a minimum number of Continuing Professional Development activities and/or other short courses, self-directed learning, supervisor led tutorials, etc, in the area of practice.

  • Experience: Requires a term of experience to be completed in the area of practice at some point after completion of the qualification (e.g., Master of Clinical Audiology), or after completion of internship following the qualification.

Exams and/or supervised practice also feature in some systems of certification.

The Working Group selected a model based on experience for the draft certification framework, but with a professional development component as one of the requirements in maintaining certification. These elements, as per all aspects of the draft framework, are in draft form and subject to review based on member feedback.

The experience model seemed most appropriate for the wide variety of circumstances and different workplace settings that Audiologists are in, from rural one-person clinics to large group clinics in capital cities, etc.

 

Why is only recent experience (in the last 3 years) counted in the draft framework?

In drafting a framework designed to assess competence, it was necessary to balance degree of clinically related experience with recency of practice. In line with the approaches taken by some other audiology bodies, it was decided to set a limit on the number of years in which experience could count towards the hours requirements.

 

Is a referee required in the draft certification framework?

If applicants have someone who could act as a referee in order to support their claims as to hours and complexity of experience, they would be encouraged to ask that person to tick a box on the application. Applicants without anyone who might be appropriate to act as a referee are asked to provide more information to substantiate their claims regarding hours and complexity of experience.

A referee should be an AudA Accredited Audiologist.

 

Is the current survey the first time consultation has been sought on this certification framework project?

Yes. The Working Group was formed at the end of 2020. It reviewed other models of certification used by audiology bodies internationally, and by other allied health professions in Australia. As it discussed possibilities for a draft framework, it also reviewed this when the draft Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists were released to ensure alignment.

The Working Group was keen to present members with a draft framework and invite comment on each aspect within, rather than seek comment at a broader level, and the survey was designed to facilitate this.

The survey asks members to identify if they support the details in each aspect of the framework, or if they suggest changes to the details (which could be in the form of anything ranging from minor changes to major redrafting), or if any details are unclear.

All aspects of the draft framework are subject to change based on feedback and input from members. Audiology Australia and the Working Group remain committed to working with members in an open and collaborative process.

 

Will Audiometrists be able to continue delivering paediatric audiology services?

Yes, in line with their Scope of Practice, Audiometrists will be able to continue delivering paediatric audiology services.

 

Contact

For further information about the paediatric certification framework, please contact Georgie Bodman at Audiology Australia via georgie.bodman@audiology.asn.au or 03 9940 3900.