Colleges for Aspiring ASL Interpreters: How to Choose

Numerous colleges offer degrees in ASL interpreting at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Programs relating to ASL Interpretation degrees are typically completed between 1-2 years.

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The number of colleges and universities offering both 2-year and 4-year degrees in ASL interpreting has grown to meet the need for interpreters. Students who earn interpreting degrees can work in a variety of areas, including the social welfare, medical, education, business, government and legal fields.

10 School with ASL Interpreting Programs

Listed below are some of the best schools with an ASL Interpreting program.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $37,124
Western Oregon University Monmouth, OR 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $9,369 (residents), $22,728 (nonresidents)
Bethel College - Indiana Mishawaka, IN 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $26,590
Gallaudet University Washington, DC 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $15,604
Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN 4-year, Public Bachelor's $9,056 (residents), $29,774 (nonresidents)
St. Catherine University Saint Paul, MN 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $35,500
San Antonio College San Antonio, TX 2-year, Public Associate's $5,500 (residents), $10,740 (nonresidents)
MacMurray College Jacksonville, IL 4-year, Private not-for-profit Associate's, Bachelor's $24,172
Sinclair Community College Dayton, OH 2-year, Public Associate's $3,604 (residents), $6,868 (nonresidents)
Delgado Community College New Orleans, LA 2-year, Public Associate's $3,911 (residents), $8,200 (nonresidents)

Source: *NCES

School Selection Criteria

Interested candidates may want to consider the following criteria when considering which school to select.

  • Many programs have entrance requirements that may include prior ASL knowledge, previous interaction with the deaf and hearing-impaired community and a screening exam.
  • Students wishing to become well-rounded interpreters should consider whether a program's core curriculum includes general education topics like sociology, education or philosophy.
  • Look for schools that offer internships within the deaf and hearing-impaired community prior to graduation.
  • Some schools require certification for graduation. Administering certification organizations include the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and the National Association of the Deaf.

Associate's Degree in ASL Interpreting

Associate's degrees earned on-campus allow students to interact with non-hearing teachers, students and the general public. Many require knowledge of ASL before accepting students into their programs. Many schools partner with other universities, designing their programs to help students pursue further study in the field.

Bachelor's Degree in ASL Interpreting

A bachelor's degree program in ASL interpreting offers students more opportunities to work one-on-one with the deaf and hearing impaired. An internship is a requirement of most programs. Typical core classes in ASL Interpreting include numerous classes in ASL and interpreting,

Many schools offer an American Sign Language interpreting program, either as an associates' degree or a bachelor's degree. Students can consider such factors as program cost, internship availability and certification requirements when choosing a school.

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