Cochlear Implant Specialty Certification (CISC) Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Cochlear Implant Specialty Certification (CISC)?
The CISC recognizes that an audiologist has demonstrated expert knowledge, skills, and experience in the area of cochlear implants. Cochlear implants are complex hearing devices with internal (surgically placed) and external components.


Why should an audiologist obtain CISC?
Some of the many reasons that certification may be valuable to an audiologist include:
  • Verification of professional experience to employers
  • Identification as an expert to consumers and other healthcare providers
  • Promotion of better patient outcomes via standardized knowledge
  • A potential for increased income
  • A basis for career advancement
  • Contribution to the profession by defining its scope of practice

To learn more, click here.

What are the eligibility requirements for obtaining a CISC?
An audiologist seeking a specialty certification must:
  • Have two years post-degree full-time paid professional experience as an audiologist, with
    • 450 direct cochlear implant patient contact hours and 50 hours of CI case management over two consecutive years within the past five years.
  • Be eligible for, pay the fees for, and achieve a passing score on the ABA Cochlear Implant Specialty Examination.
Work history must be documented and include two professional references.
How will I be informed of my exam eligibility?
The ABA will inform a candidate of his/her exam eligibility once its staff has verified the candidate’s other eligibility requirements.
What are the fees associated with attaining the CISC?
Please see the current CI Fee Schedule here.
How often must an audiologist renew the CISC?
He/she must renew specialty certification every three years.
What are the continuing education requirements for the CISC?
All certificants must obtain sixty (60) clock hours of continuing education, including:
  • Three (3) hours in professional ethics, every three years.
  • Fifteen (15) “Tier 1” courses
  • Forty-five (45) hours of regular CEUs.
In addition, thirty (30) of the required sixty (60) hours must pertain to cochlear implants.

CISC Examination Questions

What does the ABA Examination for the CISC consist of?
The ABA Cochlear Implant Specialty Certification Examination consists of one hundred (100) multiple-choice questions. Candidates have two (2) hours to complete the exam.

The exam content outline includes:

  • candidacy considerations,
  • counseling/expectations,
  • surgical considerations,
  • programming principles/speech coding,
  • device operation,
  • troubleshooting,
  • rehabilitation, and
  • outcomes.

For more detailed information, please visit

Are there any tools to help a candidate review for the CISC Exam?
Yes! See the CISC Examination Content Outline and preparation suggestions.
Where and when is the CISC Examination offered?
View the most recent examination schedule.


How long has the American Board of Audiology (ABA) offered Cochlear Implant Specialty Certification (CISC)?
The ABA has offered the CISC since 2005.
How many audiologists currently hold the CISC?
Over 40 audiologists in North America have earned this credential.
How do I find an audiologist who holds the CISC?
Click here for the ABA’s Cochlear Implant Directory.
Why should a patient see an audiologist who holds a CISC?

The accurate setting of a cochlear implant recipient’s software (mapping) is critical to the quality of hearing. The more experience an audiologist has treating patients who use Cochlear Implants (CI), the better the audiologist’s mapping skills. Audiologists who have earned a CISC have extensive mapping experience. Also, CI technology is ever-changing. Audiologists who hold a CISC are quite familiar with CI device features and operation.

Cochlear implants are very complex devices. An audiologist must obtain specific additional education and develop specific skills in order to diagnose CI candidates, properly adjust and maintain the devices, and provide appropriate counseling and therapy to patients using them. An audiologist who has obtained a CISC has demonstrated expertise with CIs above that of the majority of audiologists. By placing your care in the hands of someone with specialty certification, you are ensuring that you or a family member is receiving the highest possible level of service.

What are the advantages to an employer of hiring an audiologist who holds a CISC?
An audiologist holding a CISC has demonstrated standardized, comprehensive CI training, and thus is highly skilled in diagnosing and treating CI patients. In addition to promoting better CI patient outcomes, patients and other healthcare providers can have confidence in his/her level of expertise.
How do employers verify that a job applicant holds a current CISC?
For verification of certification status, employers are asked to please submit a written request together with an authorization form from the audiologist. Submit to: or fax to 703.790.8631 (Attn: ABA Credential Verification). For more ABA contact information, click here.