Technical Standards

The technical standards outlined below are the physical, cognitive and behavioral abilities required for students to successfully complete the Doctor of Audiology Program. These requirements must be met by all students, with or without reasonable accommodations, entering the program.

Students have the responsibility to self-identify as a person with a disability with a need for accommodation(s). Students who have or believe they may have a disability requiring accommodation(s) should contact the UAMS Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator at or 501-526-5641.


Audiologists must communicate in a way that is understood by their patients and others. It is recognized that linguistic, paralinguistic, stylistic, and pragmatic variations are part of every culture, and accent, dialects, idiolects, and communication styles can differ from general American English expectations. Communication may occur in different modalities depending on the joint needs of involved parties and may be supported through various accommodations as deemed reasonable and appropriate to patient needs.

A student must possess adequate communication skills to:

  • Employ oral, written, auditory, and non-verbal communication at a level sufficient to meet academic and clinical competencies.
    • Write discipline-specific papers and clinical reports in English. These must be professional and grammatically correct.
  • Adapt communication style to effectively interact with colleagues, clients, patients, caregivers, and invested parties of diverse backgrounds in various modes such as in person, over the phone, and in electronic format.
    • Listen responsively and empathetically to establish rapport in a way that promotes openness on issues of concern and sensitivity to potential cultural differences.
    • Express their ideas and feelings clearly and demonstrate a willingness and ability to give and receive feedback.
    •  Observe clients accurately and interpret non-verbal communication when performing clinical assessments and treatment activities.

Motor / Physical Health

Clinical practice by audiologists involves a variety of tasks that require manipulation of items and environments. A student must possess adequate motor skills and physical health to:

  • Engage in physical activities at a level required to accurately implement classroom and clinical responsibilities (e.g., manipulating testing and therapeutic equipment and technology, patient equipment, and practice management technology) while retaining the integrity of the process.
  • Respond in a manner that ensures the safety of clients and others.

Intellectual / Cognitive

Audiologists must engage in critical thinking, reasoning, and comprehension and retention of information required in clinical practice. A student must possess adequate intellectual and cognitive skills to:

  • Retain, analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and apply auditory, written, and oral information at a level sufficient to meet curricular and clinical competencies.
    • Demonstrate the mental capacity to learn and assimilate professional information including the ability to read and comprehend professional publications and reports.
    • Maintain attention and concentration for sufficient time to complete clinical activities.
    • Manage time and prioritize activities.
    • Employ informed critical thinking and ethical reasoning to formulate a differential diagnosis and create, implement, and adjust evaluation and treatment plans as appropriate for the patient’s needs.
  • Engage in ongoing self-reflection and evaluation of one’s existing knowledge and skills.
  • Critically examine and apply evidence-based judgment in keeping with best practices for patient care.


Audiologists use auditory, visual, tactile, and olfactory information to guide clinical practice. It is recognized that such information may be accessed through a variety of means, including direct sensory perception and/or adaptive strategies. A student must be able to adequately access sensory information to:

  • Differentiate functional and disordered auditory, oral, written, and visual communication.
  • Correctly differentiate anatomical structures and diagnostic imaging findings.
  • Correctly differentiate and discriminate text, numbers, tables, and graphs associated with diagnostic instruments and tests.


Audiologists must interact with a diverse community of individuals in a manner that is safe, ethical, and supportive. It is recognized that personal interaction styles may vary by individuals and cultures and that good clinical practice honors such diversity while meeting this obligation. A student must possess adequate behavioral, ethical, emotional, and social attributes to:

  • Display compassion, respect, and concern for others during all academic and clinical interactions
  • Adhere to all aspects of relevant professional codes of ethics, privacy, and information management policies.
    • Exhibit professional appearance and demeanor by adhering to appropriate standards of dress, appearance, language, and public behavior, including social media.
    • Uphold the Code of Ethics of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and/or the American Academy of Audiology, the Health Information Privacy and Accountability Act, as well as the departmental Honor Code.
  • Take personal responsibility for maintaining physical and mental health at a level that ensures safe, respectful, and successful participation in didactic and clinical activities.

Cultural Responsiveness

  • Engage in ongoing learning about cultures and belief systems different from one’s own and the impacts of these on healthcare and educational disparities to foster effective provision of services.
  • Demonstrate the application of culturally responsive evidence-based decisions to guide clinical practice.

Audiology Technical Standards / Core Functions Policy

The accredited graduate program in audiology of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology adheres to the standards set by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Within ASHA standards, the Doctor of Audiology Program has the freedom and ultimate responsibility for: the selection of students; the design, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum; the evaluation of student progress; and the determination of who should be awarded a degree.

The Audiology and Speech Pathology faculty have a responsibility for the welfare of clients tested, treated, or otherwise affected by students enrolled in the program. The department has the responsibility to the public to assure that its graduates can become fully competent audiologists, capable of delivering quality care in a timely manner and preserving the well-being of the clients they serve. Thus, it is important that persons admitted, retained, and graduated possess the intelligence, integrity, compassion, humanitarian concern, and the physical and emotional capacity necessary to practice audiology.

The Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, as part of the College of Health Professions, is committed to the principle of equal opportunity. The university, college, and department do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion or creed, sex, gender, gender identity/expression, pregnancy, national or ethnic origin, non-disqualifying disability, age, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, or political beliefs or affiliations. When requested, the university, college, and department will provide reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified students with properly certified disabilities. The faculty has responsibility for the welfare of students in the department. In order to fulfill this responsibility, the department has established academic standards and minimum performance standards (technical standards / core functions) that must be met, with or without reasonable accommodations, in order to participate in the program and graduate.

Within the field of audiology, there are core functions that individuals in these programs are expected to employ in didactic and clinical experiences to acquire the knowledge and demonstrate the competencies that will lead to graduation and successful entry into professional practice. Core functions refers to behavioral or cognitive functions that an individual must be able to perform with or without accommodations to ensure equitable access. These attributes are defined across six areas: Communication, Motor / physical health, Intellectual / Cognitive, Sensory, Interpersonal, and Cultural Responsiveness.

Admission decisions are made on the assumption that each candidate can meet the core functions and fulfill core functions without consideration of disability. Candidates for the Doctor of Audiology degree who have been accepted for admission will be required to verify that they understand and meet these technical standards with or without reasonable accommodation(s) as approved by the ADA/Disability Services office. The documents to be signed can be found in Appendix B of the program handbook.

Students have the responsibility to self-identify as a person with a disability with a need for accommodation(s). The UAMS ADA/Disability Services office will review a student’s request for accommodation and confirm that the stated condition qualifies as a disability under applicable laws.

If an applicant states they can meet the technical standards with accommodation, the department, working with the ADA officer and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, will determine the most appropriate accommodation(s) so that the student can meet the technical standards.  This determination includes a review of whether the accommodation would jeopardize client safety or the educational process of the student or the institution, including all coursework and internships/practicum placements deemed essential to graduation. At any time in the course of a student’s enrollment in the department, should their needs change, the student can request accommodation through the UAMS ADA/Disability Services office. The student will also update the Technical Standards document on file with the department.

Reference:  Adapted from Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (2023). A guide for future practitioners in audiology and speech-language pathology: Core functions. Rev. April 25, 2023