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Occupational Hearing Conservationist

OHC Frequently Asked Questions

If I leave my current employer, does my Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC) certification become my employer's property?

Even if your employer paid for your course and your certification, this number is assigned to you. Only you can use your CAOHC number and signature on audiometric tests. Other technicians, your supervisor or your employer can't share your CAOHC certification number—with or without your permission. If you have concerns, contact the Professional Supervisor (PS) of your Hearing Conservation Program (HCP) (audiologist, physician or otolaryngologist).

Who is responsible for remembering the expiration date of a certification?

You are responsible for maintaining your certification since the CAOHC number is yours and not your employer's. You will receive 1-year and 6-month recertification notification cards from CAOHC.

Does CAOHC offer any extension on certification expiration?

Certification extensions of up to 60 days may be granted beyond the current OHC expiration date. All requests must be received at the CAOHC Administrative Office at least 30 days before the expiration, subject to the approval of the CAOHC Council. This exception is intended for OHCs having difficulty locating a course in a specific geographic area, serious illness or other extenuating circumstances. Email a request to info@caohc.org or fax it to Chris Whiting at 414-276-2146.

What determines my expiration date?

The certification expiration date is 5 years from the date of the completion of the certification course—regardless of whether the OHC renews early or late.

How can I find my CAOHC certificate number and expiration date?

When your CD applies for a certificate on your behalf, you receive a congratulatory letter, certificate for framing, and wallet ID card with your certification number and expiration date. If you have concerns, contact the CAOHC administrative office at info@caohc.org or 414-276-5338. You can also find your certificate number and expiration date above your name and address on your Update newsletter.

You can also get this information by entering your name into the CAOHC website. For a copy of your CAOHC certificate, enter your email address and certification number in the OHC Account and Certificate section.

Do I need a license as an audiometric technician in my state?

It depends on your state. Some state government agencies may claim jurisdiction over your actions as an OHC. For example, the Oregon and Washington Departments of Labor require CAOHC certification for OHCs, while the Department of Health in Texas requires registration of all audiometric technicians, including OHCs.

Your state's audiology board may require licensed audiologists to register an OHC as an audiology aide. Likewise, OHCs operating under the supervision of a physician are typically subject to a state's medical practice laws. To find out about your state's licensure requirements, contact your HCP manager or supervising audiologist or physician.

Where can I find a job in this field, and what can I expect for compensation?

Jobs and wages vary greatly by region; check local resources. CAOHC does not have a job bank.


OHC Courses

Is there a required exam for CAOHC courses?

A standardized written exam is required for the 20-hour certification course. CDs must include a written exam in each 8-hour OHC recertification course and adhere to similar standards pertaining to the exam's content and administration.

Course curriculum

Instituting a standardized written exam for the recertification course is intended to address the same 4 objectives as the 20-hour certification course:

  1. To evaluate the level of course knowledge gained by the OHC student
  2. To help the CD determine whether the OHC student has passed the written exam
  3. To provide an additional learning experience for the OHC student through the reinforcement of course content in the written exam
  4. To further standardize the OHC student's course experience to enhance the credibility and value of CAOHC certification

How can I know that the course I am attending is CAOHC-approved?

Ask the course registrar. A CAOHC certificate of course approval issued to the CD should be displayed at your course. If you do not see this certificate, ask your CD.

How do I get Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by attending a CAOHC course?

CDs may provide CEUs for their courses. Contact your CAOHC CD for information.

Any questions regarding state licensing for registered nurses and possible acceptance of CEUs should be directed to your state licensing offices. Remember that the CAOHC certification process and submission of CEUs are separate. CAOHC does not award or maintain CEUs. Likewise, a course completion certificate from your CD is not your CAOHC certification.

How do I find and register for a CAOHC course in my area? What does it cost?

CAOHC-approved certification and recertification courses are listed on the website and printed in the quarterly Update newsletter. To find a course, visit the OHC Course Search Listings section of the website. To register and ask about the cost, contact the CD.


Issues in Hearing Conservation

What's the difference between the PS of the Audiometric Monitoring Program (PS/A) and the Supervisor of the HCP?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Hearing Conservation Amendment, the PS/A of an HCP must be a licensed or certified audiologist, otolaryngologist or other physician. This professional ensures that audiograms for monitoring noise-exposed workers are correctly performed and interpreted (see Scope of Practice: The Professional Supervisor of the Audiometric Monitoring Program). In this way, the PS advises the OHC.

The supervisor of an HCP is typically a safety professional, human resources administrator or other management-level company personnel. This supervisor is responsible for the HCP's overall management and effectiveness and may also directly supervise the OHC.