Schools, colleges and universities across the country are welcoming students back to campus and the classroom this time of year for the start of the new school year. It’s around this time that high school seniors and college freshmen begin to consider their career options. A unique field with a bright future is the sign language interpreting industry.
Whether someone is interested in pursuing an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree in sign language interpreting there are colleges and universities all across the country that will prepare you for a successful career as an interpreter. In addition to the younger scholars who are considering a career in interpreting, there are many people choosing to go back to school and earn their interpreting degree. To see a full list of colleges and universities that offer various levels of sign language interpreting courses and to find the right fit for you visit: discoverinterpreting.com.
Considering the career for yourself? Here are a few questions you might have about the field:
What level of schooling is required to be a certified interpreter? A certification and/or associate’s degree is required to work as an interpreter. For someone who is serious about making a career as a sign language interpreter then a bachelor’s degree is the first step. Advanced programs, such as a master’s degree, are available at select colleges and universities such as the University of North Florida, Kent State University and Gallaudet University.
What kind of classes can a sign language interpreting major plan on taking? Being a sign language interpreting major is much more than learning how to be fluent in ASL. Students will also be expected to take classes that focus on the deaf culture, comparative linguistics, sign tuning and deaf literature, to name a few. In addition, having a strong understanding of both the deaf and hearing cultures is essential.
How does someone gain work experience in the interpreting field before graduating? Developing your interpreting skills is an important part of the learning process. The best way to do this is by gaining work experience through internships, volunteerism, tutoring and joining sign language groups. Reaching out to organizations in the community is a great way to find potential internships and to volunteer at events where interpreters are needed.
Where can sign language interpreters work? Interpreters are needed in a wide variety of settings, including but not limited to; health care facilities, social services, businesses, performing arts, legal fields, medical facilities, religious setting, and educational institutions from preschools up to colleges and universities.
Is there a lot of demand for sign language interpreters? Yes, the demand for interpreters far exceeds the number of qualified interpreters and the industry is continuing to grow. The demand is expected to continue to remain high as video relay services and video remote interpreting becomes more popular and widely used. According to Study.com, the projected job growth from 2012-2022 for sign language interpreters is a staggering 46 percent.