Continuing Professional Education in Audiology: Who, What, and Why

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The changing health care environment requires that audiologists have a lifelong commitment to professional development. Increasingly, we are challenged to gain new knowledge and skills and to deliver evidence-based care. This article provides a context in which to understand and view the role of continuing professional education in audiology. When continuing education began more than 40 years ago, it was seen primarily as a method for updating physicians and other professionals on new developments in their respective fields. At present, continuing education has evolved into a separate field of study, and it is used increasingly to regulate professional practice and accountability. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association was the first audiology-related organization to provide continuing education. In 1995, the American Academy of Audiology gained recognition as an authorized provider. Audiologists have a professional responsibility to ensure the quality of their own continuing education. Understanding the issues, history, and processes of continuing education leads to better management of this important component of professional education.

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