From clinics to courtrooms, ASL is vital for communication. Master this living language at ACC
Sign language interpreters work wherever people who are Deaf need to communicate, which is, well, everywhere. More than simply translating, interpreters must understand the meanings and intentions of spoken or signed words and accurately convey that message, often while the communication rapidly continues. It's a career that is as challenging and rewarding as it is widespread. Interpreting happens in settings from math classes to music festivals, giving interpreters flexible work opportunities. Many are employed through contract agencies, while others freelance and serve as their own boss. Demand for skilled interpreters far exceeds the number of qualified professionals, so jobs are plentiful. ACC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Interpreter Preparation and a certificate in American Sign Language Studies.
What skills can I gain?
Both the Associate Degree and Certificate Programs focus heavily on American Sign Language (ASL), a complete language spoken by most Deaf and hard of hearing people in the U.S. and Canada. Both Programs also require the course, Introduction to the Deaf Community, which explores the physical, emotional, and cultural implications of deafness.
Associate degree students build a solid educational foundation by studying English, math, science, public speaking, and psychology, in addition to ASL and other subjects related to interpreting. In addition, associate degree students receive preparation for state certification exams, which are required to work as an interpreter.
The certificate is designed for people who want to communicate fluently with the Deaf but do not necessarily want to work as an interpreter. For example, a pharmacist may earn the certificate to better serve Deaf customers.
How long will it take to earn a degree or certificate?
Most students require between two and a half years to three and a half years to complete the Associate Degree. The Certificate involves at least three semesters of study.
Where can I work with this education?
PLEASE NOTE: Many employers require interpreters to undergo a criminal background check
There is tremendous demand for interpreters in educational settings from pre-school through graduate school. Jobs are available on a part-time or full-time basis, often with benefits. Well-trained interpreters are also needed in medical, legal, mental health, theatrical, governmental, and religious venues, among others.