American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language that allows people to communicate using their hands. ASL is used by members of the North American deaf community and by hearing individuals who translate for conferences and other gatherings. Continue reading to find out about possible training and career options. 

Sign language interpreters may find jobs at schools, hospitals and courtrooms (www.bls.gov). Translators will need to have a solid grasp of the language, which can be obtained through internships and apprenticeships. General and specialist certifications are available through the National Association of the Deaf and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (www.nad.org and www.rid.org). 

Education Information 

Certificate, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree programs are available if you’re interested in a career in American Sign Language (ASL). In order to teach ASL, you may need to obtain a master’s degree. These classes will help you develop vocabulary and grammar skills as you learn to form signs. These classes may cover visual and spatial awareness, as well as culturally appropriate behavior when communicating with members of the deaf community. ASL programs may cover topics such as finger spelling and number use, ASL literature and poetry, and idioms and slang. American Sign Language courses also sometimes meet college foreign language requirements. 

  • Certificate in ASL
  • Associate’s Degree in ASL
  • Bachelor’s Degree in ASL

Online 

Online ASL programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels of study. Individual courses are also available: 

  • Online ASL Courses 
  • Online ASL Programs 

Career Options 

This is a small sample of positions you can obtain with a degree in ASL. Certification, such as one of those mentioned above, is required for many of the following careers: 

  • Language Interpreter 
  • Sign Language Teacher 
  • Sign Language Interpreter 
  • Court Interpreter 

Employment Information 

The BLS predicted that the Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Globalization and large increases in the number of non-English-speaking people in the United States will drive employment growth. Job prospects should be best for those who have professional certification. The median annual wage for interpreters and translators was $49,930 in May 2018. (www.bls.gov)

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