Launching today, Audiology Australia’s (AudA) National Competency Standards for Audiologists (NCS) will provide consumers, audiology students, professionals and the Australian Health and Aged Care sectors greater transparency on contemporary audiology training and practice in Australia.
Coming into effect from 1 January 2022, the NCS describes, for the first time, the minimum attributes, skills, and knowledge needed for entry and ongoing clinical practice of audiology in Australia. Competencies fall under six key domains:
1. Audiological clinical practice
2. Professional communications and collaborations
3. Education and lifelong learning
4. Quality, safety, and compliance
5. Ethical and professional behaviour
Audiology Australia Board President, Dr Barbra Timmer, said the development of the new standards, led by the National Standards Working Group in consultation with AudA’s membership (which, at over 3000 members, represents over 95% of the profession in Australia), provides clarity for practitioners and those who engage with the profession.
“These standards tell the public, audiologists, students, other health providers and clients what being an audiologist looks like, supporting broader understanding of the skills and attributes expected for safe clinical practice,” said Dr Timmer.
A self-regulating profession, AudA accreditation and membership is required for the provision of audiological services that fall under Medicare, the Australian Government’s Hearing Services Program, state, and territory work schemes, as well as many private health insurance funds.
As the profession seeks to boost perception of its alignment with core health services, Dr Timmer said the new standards are a critical step in achieving recognition of the audiology profession’s place as a highly skilled and important component of Australia’s Health and Aged Care sectors.
From next year, knowledge and skills required in the NCS will be reflected across Audiology CPD events and training, replacing the existing Clinical Internship Competencies and Review Standards (2018).
Students will be assessed against each sub-competency of the NCS as part of the completion of their Clinical Internship, a critical step in achieving full Audiology Australia membership and accreditation. The Standards will continue to apply throughout their careers for the life of their accreditation and membership through AudA.
Dr Timmer said this was important for student, professional and consumer confidence in their engagement with the profession.
“Students completing their internship will know exactly which competencies are expected of them as entry level practitioners and consumers can feel confident audiologists who have completed their Clinical Internship are sufficiently experienced and competent to practise without supervision,” said Dr Timmer.
With audiologists required to complete university studies at one of the six providers currently offering tertiary accredited programs in audiology before undertaking their Clinical Internship, a review is underway to align core competency standards applied to tertiary programs to the NCS. This will ensure logical progression for students moving into entry level practice.
The NCS comes into effect from 1 January 2022 and will apply to Student Internships commencing after this date. The standards will undergo regular five-year reviews.
About Development of the National Standards
Commenced in 2019, development of the NCS was led by the National Competency Standards Working Group under the oversight of the Audiology Australia University Accreditation and Competencies Committee. Comprised of experienced Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologists from a range of settings, the Working Group volunteered their time and expertise to the project.
Feedback was sought from Audiology Australia members informing both the domain structure and competencies included within each domain.
About Audiology Australia
Audiology Australia is the peak professional body for audiologists with over 3,000 members. Audiologists are tertiary educated health professionals who work with clients of all ages to help them to preserve, manage and improve their hearing, their ability to process and understand sounds, and their balance.
Audiology Australia provides the highest standard of self-regulation for its members based on the standards set by the National Alliance of Self-Regulating Health Professions (NASRHP). Central to this self-regulation is the clinical certification program which includes:
- completion of an Audiology Australia Accredited Australian Masters-level degree and the intensive one-year Audiology Australia internship
- meeting the rigorous Recency of Practice and Continuing Professional Development Requirements; and
- adhering to the Code of Conduct that all members of Audiology Australia must abide by and that is based on the National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers.
About the National Competency Standards
Available For Interview:
Dr Barbra Timmer, Audiology Australia Board President
Audiology Australia Communications and PR Manager
Ph. 04215 18733 E. firstname.lastname@example.org