Careers with ASL

Does UW ASL Program offer an Interpreting Training Program? If not, where?

Updated Nov. 18, 2016

No, we only offer ASL Minor Studies program with two years of ASL.  (See UW ASL Program View on the left.)  We are trying to expand our ASL program with higher level courses and number of first year courses in the near future.  Our program dream is to offer a four-years BA degree in ASL.

We don't know if we will ever offer ITP in the near future but it is still a possibility.  There are several other ITP in Washington and neighboring states below.  Arranged in the order of distance from the UW-Seattle:

  • (111 miles) Douglas Community College, Vancouver, BC.
  • (185 miles) Portland Community College Sign Language Interpreting Program, Portland, OR.
  • (225 miles) Spokane Falls Community College, Spokane, WA (via University of Northern Colorado online program)
  • (240 miles) Western Oregon University BA/BS/MA Interpreting Program/Studies, Monmouth, OR.  (Mostly recommended by our program)

We also recommend several reputable ITP in the following locations if you are willing to move from a greater distance from Washington state. 

  • (732 miles) Idaho State University at Meridan, Meridan, ID.
  • (835 miles) Sorenson Video Relay Services (VRS) Interpreting Institute, Salt Lake City, UT.
  • (872 miles) Utah Valley University, Orem, UT.
  • (1,125 miles) California State University Northridge (Los Angeles Metro area), Northridge, CA. ​
  • (2,121 miles) University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.
  • (2,651 miles) National Technical Institute for the Deaf located at Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY.
  • (2,776 miles) Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.

See link, for more information on accredited Sign Language Interpreting Programs around the USA.

Online ITP is also offered through University of Northern Colorado, Greenley, CO. (Online)  This is recommended by Abby Ashcraft below.

  • My name is Abby Ashcraft and I am a sophomore in the distance-learning ASL/English interpreting program at the University of Northern Colorado. Lance Forshay passed along your email to me and mentioned that you might like some information about my program.

    First, if you are interested in becoming an interpreter, I would totally recommend the program. I am almost halfway done with the program currently, and I absolutely love it. The professors are both qualified and passionate about the topic, and the program itself was built on extensive research about how to best prepare interpreters. If you are looking for detailed program information, the place to start is here:

    The program I am in is primarily online, although I go there every summer during the month of July for a condensed summer semester. If you are interested in moving to Colorado, they are also starting an on-site program this fall.
    Both programs are four-year, BA programs and because they are sequential, it will take all four years regardless of what education you had prior to entering the program. I had my AA when I began the program, so I am only taking 2-3 classes a semester, and they are all related to the ASL/English interpreting major.

    To get into the program, you must have at least ASL 1-4. Once you have applied and been accepted to the university, there is a test you have to take to get into the program. It tests your expressive skills in ASL, as well as your knowledge of Deaf culture and ASL grammar. If you have extensive history with ASL (or if you happen to be a CODA), you may well test out of the first few semesters and start the program as a sophomore.

    During the first two years of the program, the classes are typically on ASL and linguistics. In the last two years, we move into more interpreting classes (theory and practice), as well as cultural analysis classes and classes for your emphasis area. There are three emphasis areas offered: legal interpreting, community interpreting, and educational interpreting. For each of these, you will take several classes focused on the emphasis area in the last two years of the program and will likely do your internship in the form of interpreting you are interested in. The internship happens in late Spring/early summer of the senior year in the program. It is a month-long internship working 40 hours a week with a qualified interpreter. UNC’s ASLEI program has interpreting contacts all over the country, so you could quite literally go anywhere you want for your internship.

    One thing I love about the program is the focus on self-assessment, feedback, and improvement of skills. Especially after the first two ASL classes, there is very little traditional testing involved in this program. Rather, most of the assignments are project-based. For example, last summer the first-year students each created a 20-minute presentation in ASL about a Deaf-related topic. After presenting to a group of teachers and students and recording our presentations, we analyzed ourselves and addressed successful areas and ways we could grow. Then our presentation and the self-assessment were graded together. I like this because it prepares us to constantly be evaluating our skills and growing while we are interpreters in the future. Interpreting is such and autonomous profession that this skill is incredibly important.

    One last note about the online nature of the program — online courses can be difficult for some students as it requires much independent learning. We lost about six students very early on in the program because they couldn’t handle the workload. However, the teachers are really good about supporting the students and providing lots of direction. The website for the courses is fairly easy to navigate as well.  Leilani Johnson, who is the head advisor for the program. Her phone number is 303-365-7688.
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