American Sign Language programs most commonly lead to an undergraduate certificate, an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree. A few schools also offer graduate certificates and master's degrees in the discipline.
10 American Sign Language Schools
This table covers 2- and 4-year colleges and universities with ASL programs.
|College\University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*|
|Gallaudet University||Washington, DC||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's, Graduate Certificate||$15,604|
|National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology||Rochester, NY||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's||$37,124|
|University of Rochester||Rochester, NY||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$48,280|
|University of New Hampshire at Manchester||Manchester, NH||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||In-state $14,143; Out-of-state $27,413|
|Goshen College||Goshen, IN||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$30,900|
|William Woods University||Fulton, MO||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$22,160|
|St. Petersburg College||Clearwater, FL||4-year, Public||Associate's||In-state $3,352; Out-of-state $11,607|
|Sinclair Community College||Dayton, OH||2-year, Public||Associate's||In-district $2,476; In-state $3,604; Out-of-state $6,868|
|Phoenix College||Phoenix, AZ||2-year, Public||Associate's||In-state $2,046; Out-of-state $7,830|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
School Selection Criteria
When looking at ASL schools, consider the following:
- Select a program based on your career goals. Students should note that an undergraduate certificate or associate's degree program won't qualify its graduates for certification. Master's degree programs are rare, and they're designed to prepare students for advanced teaching positions.
- Anyone wishing to take the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) exam to become an ASL certified interpreter must hold at least a bachelor's degree in any discipline in addition to being proficient in ASL.
- Look at what extracurricular activities the school offers, such as seminars, lectures, performances, study abroad options, and studies related to the deaf community.
- Some schools offering associate's degrees have an option to transfer to another program to complete a bachelor's degree.
Associate's Degree in ASL
Associate's degree programs can't exclusively prepare a student to become an interpreter, but these undergraduate options do provide an introduction to the deaf community and ASL. They're appropriate for someone with a personal interest in ASL or who wants to add ASL skills to other existing professional qualifications. The curriculum spans about two years and includes general education requirements. A high school diploma or GED certificate is required for entry, and some programs require applicants to have an elementary knowledge of ASL.
Bachelor's Degree in ASL
ASL is available as both a major and a minor at the bachelor's level of study. Some programs offer interpreting training, while others do not. Graduation requirements may involve completing a practicum, which allows them to gain experience to take the NIC exam.
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in ASL
Post-baccalaureate courses of study are for those who already hold a bachelor's degree and want to learn about ASL. A program's specialty should be considered; some specifically teach interpretation, while others focus instead on language and culture. Prior knowledge of ASL is not always necessary for admission. Students can earn a certificate in approximately two years.
Several postsecondary institutions offer associate's and bachelor's degree programs in American Sign Language, while only a few offer graduate studies in this discipline. Students should consider their long-term career goals when selecting a program to ensure they fulfill the requirements for certification in ASL if necessary.