The Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) is a professional degree for an audiologist. The Au.D. program is designed to produce audiologists who are skilled in providing diagnostic, rehabilitative, and other services associated with hearing, balance, and related audiological fields. These individuals help patients with hearing problems primarily by diagnosing hearing loss and fitting hearing assistive devices. There is an emphasis on the clinical learning experience, though most programs also have a research component. As of 2007, the Au.D. has replaced Masters-level audiology programs as the entry-level degree in the United States. Other countries, such as Canada, still offer the Masters Degree. In the United States, after an Au.D. is obtained, some states may require a license before practicing audiology clinically. The audiology training program can typically be completed in 4-years if the student has a background in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology/Communication Sciences and Disorders. Students without a background will generally have to complete a second-bachelor's program although some schools are beginning to introduce a 5-year program for students without a background in the field.