Schools for Sign Language Interpreters

Students interested in ASL interpreting can pursue undergraduate or graduate programs in the field from several colleges. Explore accredited online American Sign Language classes, ASL interpreter programs, and sign language interpreter schools here. Schools offering Applied Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Sign Language Interpreter Schools

Sign language interpreter colleges typically provide courses, undergraduate, and/or graduate degree programs in American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting. Explore some of the available schools with sign language interpreting that are available throughout the country in the table below.

SchoolLocationDegree Level in Sign Language Interpretation
Portland Community CollegePortland, ORCertificate, Associate's
El Camino CollegeTorrance, CACertificate, Associate's
Wright State UniversityDayton, OHBachelor's
Maryville CollegeMaryville, TNBachelor's
William Woods UniversityFulton, MOBachelor's
University of Northern ColoradoGreeley, COCourses, Bachelor's, Master's
Gallaudet UniversityWashington, DCCourses, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate

Accredited Online American Sign Language Classes

Several schools offer ASL classes for students wishing to begin learning ASL. Some of these courses can lead to a sign language certificate, and some courses and sign language certificate programs are available in online formats. A few of these online ASL courses are even free to students.

Online ASL courses generally use videos to demonstrate the signs for vocabulary. Some of these courses may also be available at different levels, such as a foundations or intermediate course.

ASL Interpreter Programs

As mentioned, there are ASL Interpreter programs available at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Some undergraduate degree programs in the field may be available in an online format. Typically, graduate programs focus on interpretation, but also include components of research in the field. There are also graduate programs specially designed for those wishing to teach ASL.

Many interpreter programs include hands-on experiences, such as a practicum or capstone experience, where students can practice using their ASL. Students in ASL interpreter programs may take courses that discuss topics in:

  • ASL
  • ASL to English interpreting
  • English to ASL interpreting
  • Ethics in interpreting
  • History of interpreting
  • Structure of language for interpreting
  • Transliterating

ASL Certification

Those wanting to become a sign language interpreter generally need to earn ASL certification. Organizations like the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID), offer certifications to verify an interpreter's skills. Some states even require RID certification to be an interpreter.

Currently, as of 2019, RID offers two main certifications. They have the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) and the Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI). The NIC requires an interview process and the passing of knowledge- and performance-based exams. The CDI also requires a knowledge and performance exam but includes a 40-hour training requirement.

ASL Interpreter Career Overview

Degree RequiredBachelor's degree
Degree FieldASL
Other RequirementsCertification, experience
Annual Median Salary (2018)*$49,930 (for interpreters and translators)
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026)*18% (for interpreters and translators)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

ASL interpreters convert spoken language to sign language and vice versa. These interpreters generally need at least a bachelor's degree and must be fluent in two languages, with one being ASL. Some interpreters may specialize in a particular area of interpreting, such as educational interpreting, medical interpreting, or legal interpreting.

Most ASL interpreters work full-time, but some interpreters may be self-employed and create their own schedules. ASL interpreters work in a wide range of settings, including schools, conference centers, hospitals, courthouses, and businesses.

ASL Interpreter Salary

The BLS reported that the median annual salary for all interpreters and translators was $49,930, as of 2018. Another website,, stated that as of July 2019, the median salary for sign language interpreters was $39,029.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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