Learning from the experience of the doctoral professions of dentistry and optometry, doctors of audiology can build a strong professional future with an acceptable financial return by focusing on these key objectives: Work together to sustain and grow private-practice ownership and en-courage the profession's leaders to set as a goal that half of all audiologists work in private practices by the year 2016. Create a direct professional identity link between the baby boom generation of consumers and audiology, rather than relying on hearing aids. Create direct demand for audiology care. Exploit your unique credentials and skills as a doctor of audiology by the way you structure your practice (including specialization), the way you market, the way you charge for ser vices, and the way you attend to legislative issues. Demand more from your professional associations and academia. It is not enough simply to create the AuD degree. It is necessary also to nurture a resulting career reward sufficient to justify the greater up-front investment of time and money to become a doctor of audiology. Make the "big picture" issues of the audiology profession your issues. Be passionate about your profession's future and do something about it regardless of where you are in your audiology career. As is true with just about any transitional experience, opportunity is what you create, not what is handed to you. Audiology has chosen to create a new and more appropriate educational process/credential. It is now up to all audiologists to learn from other healthcare professions, and work together to nurture a strong profession by insuring an appropriate back-end reward.
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