Sign language interpreters serve as a conduit between the deaf and the hearing in a variety of areas. The National Association of the Deaf and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) offers a variety of certifications for sign language interpreters.
Schools with American Sign Language Programs
These schools offer ASL programs at varying levels, including certificate and bachelor's degree programs.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered*||Tuition 2018-2019*|
|Rochester Institute of Technology||Rochester, NY||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's||$42,345|
|Kent State University - Kent Campus||Kent, OH||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$10,312 in-state, $19,014 out-of-state|
|University of Southern Maine||Portland, ME||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$8,918 in-state, $21,294 out-of-state|
|Bethel College||Mishawaka, IN||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$28,590|
|Augustana University||Sioux Falls, SD||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$33,018|
|Idaho State University||Pocatello, ID||4-year, Public||Associate, Bachelor's||$7,420 in-state, $22,940 out-of-state|
|Gardner-Webb University||Boiling Springs, NC||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$32,000|
|Western Oregon University||Monmouth, OR||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$10,197 in-state, $26,421 out-of-state|
Sources: *School websites, National Center for Educational Statistics
School Selection Criteria
When seeking a school with sign language interpretation programs, there are some considerations to take into account.
- Some schools require that students already have knowledge of sign language and deaf culture, so looking carefully into a school's admission requirements would be beneficial.
- Students should research whether schools offer internship opportunities and provide faculty support to students participating in internship programs.
- Certification is required by some states, so looking into schools that are dedicated to preparing students for certification testing should be helpful.
- Students who work full-time may consider online or hybrid degree programs.
Bachelor's Degree in Sign Language Interpretation
Bachelor's degree candidates in sign language interpretation are exposed to the practical application of sign language and interpreting, as well as deaf culture and associated issues. The curriculum includes numerous sign language classes designed to help students become fluent in ASL. Internships are a requirement of many bachelor's degree programs.
Master's Degree in Sign Language Interpretation
Very few colleges offer master's degrees in sign language interpretation. Students are exposed to advanced opportunities to understand the practical, educational and theoretical applications of ASL. The curriculum is focused on research, writing and working one-on-one with the deaf and hearing impaired in a variety of circumstances. A thesis, field study or major research project is a requirement of most master's degree programs. Students are also typically required to complete an internship and/or a practicum.
Programs in ASL interpretation are typically available at the bachelor's degree level, although certificate, associate and master's degree programs do exist. Programs that prepare students for certification are the most beneficial.