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Audiology Australia’s voluntary Advanced Paediatric Audiology Certification is now available

Audiology Australia has developed a voluntary advanced paediatric audiology certification framework.

This enables Audiologists experienced in the delivery of paediatric audiology services at an advanced level of skill to apply for certification as a Certified Advanced Paediatric Audiologist.

Certification identifies them as having advanced audiological skills when working with children, including on complex cases.

This is in line with the Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists developed for the Hearing Health Sector Alliance (HHSA). Funded by the Australian Government, you can access and read more about the Paediatric Competency Standards here. The competency standards have been endorsed by the HHSA, and adopted by Audiology Australia.

The certification framework operates with the same definition of paediatrics and children as the competency standards – a child is defined as someone under the age of 18, thereby including infants, children, and young people. This aligns with the definition most commonly used internationally, reflects the legal definition of the child, and includes the developmental ages of infants, young children and school aged children.

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

The focus of the framework is to provide an avenue for certification as an advanced paediatric Audiologist, keeping the needs of the child at its core.

Advanced paediatric audiology certification framework

The important points to note about certification include the following:

  • It is voluntary – Audiologists providing services to children and their families are not required to be certified
  • It is set at the level of advanced skill
  • It may only be awarded when applicants meet the competencies described in the PCS, and the degree and recency of experience requirements
  • It seeks to provide an option for members who have asked for advanced skills recognition
  • In line with the Scope of Practice, Audiologists (whether with certification or without), are able and remain able to work with all ages, from infants to older adults
  • Certification applies to individuals, not to clinics
  • The framework (including eligibility criteria, application forms and associated processes and policies, etc) will be reviewed in 2025, two years after implementation

Applying for certification as an Advanced Paediatric Audiologist

The framework includes two main eligibility pathways, Pathway A and Pathway B. In instances where neither pathway is applicable, a Case-by-case pathway may be considered. Whatever the eligibility pathway, the certification successful applicants are awarded is identical, as are the requirements to maintain certification each year. For details of the eligibility requirements for each pathway, please refer to the framework.

Applications are now open and can be submitted via the online application form for each pathway.

The document Essential information for applicants (for Pathway A, Pathway B or Case-by-case pathway) must be accessed as you prepare your application, and as you work through each section of the online application form.

The online application forms, the Essential information for applicants documents, and other important documents you will need during the application process, can be accessed here and in our Resources Library.

Frequently asked questions

What is the certification framework built on?

Only Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologists are eligible for certification. The degree and recency of experience as described below can only have been attained after completion of the Clinical Internship.

There are three pillars of eligibility for certification:

1. Competence

Competence is as described by the Paediatric Audiologist area within the Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists (PCS). The PCS describe the knowledge, skills and attributes expected of Audiologists to provide paediatric services at an advanced level to infants, children and young people aged under 18 years. The Paediatric Audiologist area comprises six sections:

  • Fundamental knowledge and principles
  • Legal requirements
  • Communications
  • Cultural
  • Appointment planning, service delivery and environment
  • Paediatric hearing assessment

An Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologist who is successful in an application for certification as an Advanced Paediatric Audiologist has demonstrated that they meet every competency within each of these six sections.

2. Degree of experience

This describes how much experience in paediatric clinical activities the Advanced Paediatric Audiologist has over a specified time frame (either the last 3 or 10 years depending on the Pathway the applicant chooses to apply under).

Degree of experience can be related to any/all of the five areas of practice in the PCS for which the Paediatric Audiologist area is the prerequisite (Diagnostic Neonate/Infant, Intervention – Hearing Aids, Intervention – Hearing Implants, and Auditory Processing Disorder).

3. Recency of experience

This describes how much experience in paediatric clinical activities the Advanced Paediatric Audiologist has in the last year. Recency of experience can be related to any/all of the five areas of practice in the PCS for which the Paediatric Audiologist area is the prerequisite.

Why apply for certification?

An Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologist might apply for certification for any of the following reasons:

  • For recognition of their advanced skills and experience in paediatric audiology
  • For acknowledgement of their professional development
  • For their clinical team leader to recognise their competency
  • To promote their skills to potential clients, or to potential employers
  • To benefit from networking opportunities with fellow Certified Advanced Paediatric Audiologists
  • To point to the Paediatric Audiologist area within the PCS as describing their advanced competence in paediatric audiology
  • To assist in maintaining skills as part of the annual requirements to maintain certification
  • To inspire a family’s confidence in the advanced skills and experience of their Audiologist

What are the fees?

The fees for applying for certification, for appealing an assessment decision, and for renewing certification are as follows:

  • $150 application fee – payable at time of submission of the application.
  • $50 annual renewal fee – after receiving certification, payable at the time of membership renewal. Note that this will commence for the membership year beginning 1 July 2024. The fees may be pro-rata for the first year, depending on when certification was awarded.
  • $100 appeal fee – payable at time of submission of appeal against a decision of certification not awarded.

Fees reflect the time and resources in maintaining the structures that support the certification framework, including those for the application process and for the ongoing maintenance of the system.

The CEO set the fees after reviewing the fees charged by those professional associations with comparative certification systems. The decision was taken to set the fees at a level below that charged by other associations in order to make the certification application process as accessible to as many members as possible, while covering costs.

What steps should I take to maintain my certification?

The requirements to maintain certification are to attain a minimum of 4 CPD points with a focus on paediatrics, and engage in 30 hours of direct paediatric clinical activities within the past year. Please refer to the framework for further details. You will also need to pay an annual renewal fee to maintain your certification.

What consultation was undertaken as the framework was developed?

The Paediatric Certification Working Group was formed at the end of 2020. It reviewed 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 against the Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists  to ensure alignment.

Audiology Australia’s goal was to ensure a full, constructive, and robust consultation process. There were a number of consultation activities with members during the course of the project, and the Working Group greatly appreciated the feedback contributed.

A survey in November 2021 was the first consultation activity. This was followed by online discovery sessions in December 2021, online focus groups and survey in February 2022, a survey in September/October 2022, and online focus groups and survey in December 2022. Parents and their consumer representatives were also invited to attend separate focus groups and survey to contribute their thoughts.

The consultation concluded with a test phase of the framework and application process in May/June 2023 ahead of implementation of the framework in July 2023. A number of members kindly offered their time to test the application process by submitting an application and providing their feedback. Important improvements were made to the framework and the application and assessment process as a result of the test process.

What changes have been made to the framework in the final version?

The main change that has been made is that applicants who demonstrate in their application that they may meet the PCS competencies are asked to attend an online interview of up to 45 minutes with our assessors. The interview allows the assessors to ask for more information about the applicant’s paediatric clinical experience, including examples.  The interview focuses on the competencies and ensures that those awarded certification have demonstrated they have met all the competencies within the Paediatric Audiologist area in the PCS.

The introduction of the interview means that the amount of paperwork applicants are required to prepare is reduced – while a declaration that each individual competency is met is required, a written response to each competency is no longer required. Instead, a response is required for each of the six sections within the Paediatric Audiologist area. The responses require the applicant to include examples from their paediatric clinical experience addressing the competencies in each section.

Further, a case submission is no longer required for submission as part of the application for Pathway B. It is important to note, however, that assessors can request any additional information from applicants for any pathway, and conduct referee checks as needed, at any point during the assessment process to help them assess the application.

How are Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologists assessed for certification?

Applicants submit an application* with the following information:

  • Name, contact details, AudA membership number
  • CV
  • Information on degree and recency of paediatric clinical experience
  • Tickbox declarations that every competency within the six sections in the Paediatric Audiologist area in the PCS is met
  • Written response to each of the six sections within the Paediatric Audiologist area in the PCS
  • Availability for an online interview
  • Referee form 

*Payment details are also required in the application form.

Applicants whose applications demonstrate that the degree and recency of experience are met, and that the competencies may be met, attend an online interview with the assessors. The interview is an opportunity for our assessors to ask the applicant to discuss their paediatric clinical experience and how they meet the competencies in more detail.

The assessors are able to conduct a referee check, or request any further information that would assist them in their assessment, at any time in the assessment process.

WHO WAS ON THE PAEDIATRIC CERTIFICATION WORKING GROUP WHEN CERTIFICATION WAS DEVELOPED?

he Working Group was expanded from its original membership to explicitly include representation from small business, private practice, and rural/remote perspectives. It was comprised of Audiologists with experience in delivering paediatric audiology services, AudA Board members, and a consumer representative:

  • Jessica Vitkovic (Chair)
  • Fiona Duncan
  • Fiona Griffiths 
  • Alison King (member until June 2023)
  • Ann Porter AM
  • Iain Summerlin
  • Lia Traves
  • Barbra Timmer (member until June 2023)
  • Dani Tomlin

What is the definition of paediatric?

The certification framework operates with the same definition of paediatrics and children as the competency standards – a child is defined as someone under the age of 18, thereby including infants, children, and young people. This aligns with the definition most commonly used internationally, reflects the legal definition of the child, and includes the developmental ages of infants, young children and school aged children. A paediatric client includes the child and their family/carer.

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.

Why develop a certification framework?

The certification framework is designed for those who want to be able to describe themselves as having an advanced level of skill in working with children, including complex cases – an experienced paediatric Audiologist. This is in line with the Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists(PCS). Many Audiology Australia members over the years have requested systems for recognition of advanced skill, and a certification framework is designed as one method of meeting this need.

For infants, children and young people (all those aged under 18), and their families, the certification framework, aligned with the PCS, provides a framework for consistency of care, and acts as a form of quality assurance. It seeks to inspire a family’s confidence in the advanced skills and experience of their Audiologist, with a focus on high-quality, child and family-centred practice. The emphasis in the certification framework is on up to date clinically related experience, for example including management of a paediatric clinic, rather than purely academic experience.

The project to develop the PCS was funded by the Commonwealth Government Department of Health. Audiology Australia took the view that proactively developing, in consultation with members, a certification system to align with the PCS would be preferable to possibly having systems developed by others which impact on members at some point in the future.

How will we know that an Audiologist who gains certification has advanced skills?

The certification framework is built around and aligns with the Paediatric Competency Standards (PCS). The PCS are set at the advanced level, describing the knowledge, skills and attributes of experienced and highly skilled Audiologists who provide services to children under the age of 18, and their families.

The PCS were developed in consultation with AudA members and consumers who contributed to a practice analysis exercise. In this exercise, the tasks undertaken by an Audiologist who could be described as working at an advanced level of skill with children and their families were documented. The competencies in the PCS were then formed based on these tasks. Meeting the competencies is an essential part of the process to qualify for certification.

Is the Scope of Practice impacted by the certification?

No. The Scope of Practice is not impacted by the certification framework. The Scope of Practice describes the services that may be offered by appropriately qualified and experienced Audiologists. It applies to the profession of audiology and not to individuals. It is for individuals to determine their own Scope of Practice based on their skills, experience and competency training.

Will the current review of the Scope of Practice impact on certification?

Of the proposed changes to the Scope of Practice, a few relate to overarching knowledge and tasks applicable to all client groups, including those delivering services to children.

One change being considered for inclusion is an understanding of the principles of family/person-centred care as foundational knowledge. Another is provision of psychosocial support to help clients identify and manage the social and emotional impacts of hearing loss. None, however, restrict an Audiologist (whether with or without Advanced Paediatric Audiologist certification) working with children and their families.

Will certification apply to clinics?

Certification will apply to clinicians, not to clinics. Eligible individuals will be able to seek certification, but businesses or clinics will not be able to. Accordingly, conditions will apply to how certification can be advertised, and communications designed for AudA members and for the public will make those points clear.

How were the fees determined?

Fees are required to reflect the time and resources in maintaining the structures that support the certification framework, including those for the application process and for the ongoing maintenance of the system.

The CEO sets the fees after reviewing the fees charged by those professional associations with comparative certification systems. The decision was taken to set the fees at a level below that charged by other associations in order to make the certification application process as accessible to as many members as possible, while covering costs.

The Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists include five areas - will there be separate certification available for each of these areas?

The Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists specifies competencies in the following five areas:

Paediatric Audiologist – Standalone or prerequisite area

Paediatric Audiologist (Diagnostic Neonate/Infant)

Paediatric Audiologist (Intervention – Hearing Aids)

Paediatric Audiologist (Intervention – Hearing Implants)

Paediatric Audiologist (Auditory Processing Disorder)

The first area, Paediatric Audiologist, includes general competencies related to matters such as legal requirements or communications, as well as competencies related to the clinical area of paediatric hearing assessment. All competencies described in the Paediatric Audiologist area are expected of any Audiologist who is also experienced and confident in any of the other four areas. This area, therefore, can operate as a standalone area, or as the prerequisite for the other areas.

The first draft of the certification framework planned for certification for each of the five areas, however the decision was taken to develop certification initially for the Paediatric Audiologist area only. Work will be undertaken in the future to examine certification for the other four areas, with consultation to be conducted at that time.

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 would happen to those who took maternity leave or were unable to demonstrate eligibility according to the criteria in the framework, due to personal circumstances and hardship?

Please refer to the certification framework for details of the Case-by-case eligibility pathway, and for confirmation of the application of existing AudA policies to the framework.

What were the models the Working Group considered when starting work on developing a 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. Experience refers to the degree and recency of paediatric clinical experience, and, most importantly, the competencies the individual demonstrates during this experience. The experience model adopted also includes a professional development component as one of the requirements in maintaining certification. 

Will the framework be reviewed?

The framework will be reviewed in 2025 – two years after implementation. The review will examine all aspects of the framework, including the pathways, the application criteria, the requirements to maintain certification, the proportion of those audited, the assessment process, the fees, and other details. As part of the review, consultation will be conducted to ensure the views of those with certification, and of AudA members more generally, are sought.

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.

The work that Audiometrists perform and the services they offer to children and their families consistent with their Scope of Practice, are not impacted or restricted by the existence of the paediatric competency standards for Audiologists.

HAVE A QUESTION?

For further information about the paediatric certification framework, please contact certification@audiology.asn.au or 03 9940 3900.