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SIGN LANGUAGE / INTERPRETER TRAINING PROGRAMS

Associate in Arts and Certificate of Achievement


El Camino College offers an Associate Degree or a Certificate of Achievement in Sign Language/Interpreter Training.
The Sign Language/Interpreter Training Program provides instruction in the language system most used by deaf persons, American Sign Language (ASL). Students learn general communication skills in sign language classes. Advanced proficiency may be gained through interpreter training classes for those seeking a career or part-time employment as an interpreter for deaf or hard of hearing individuals.

In addition to the Sign Language curriculum, El Camino also has as ASL Laboratory that is open to students who wish to view Sign Language tapes or meet with other people to practice their signing skills. El Camino also has an on-campus Sign Language club, "The Hands of Friendship".

SIGN LANGUAGE / INTERPRETER TRAINING PROGRAM - Student Learning Outcomes

Program SLO #1: Upon completion of the program students will have basic entrance skills for interpreting/transliterating in entry level interpreting settings with individuals who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

Program SLO #2: Upon completion of this program students will demonstrate critical thinking and appropriate ethical responses required by the Code of Professional Conduct.

Program SLO #3: Students will complete the program with a comprehensive portfolio of job seeking tools, such as a resume, DVDs demonstrating interpreting and transliterating skills, and 42 hours of documented supervised work experience.

Sign Language/Interpreter Training curriculum:

Associate in Arts (AA Degree)

Program Prerequisite Courses:  SLAN 111/ASL I and SLAN 112/ASL II

At least 50% of the courses required for the major must be completed at El Camino College.

MAJOR REQUIREMENTS  

UNITS

SLAN 113 American Sign Language III

(4 units)

SLAN 114 American Sign Language IV

(4 units)

SLAN 115 American Sign Language V

(4 units)

SLAN 120 Fingerspelling and Numerical Concepts

(1 unit)

SLAN 130 Deaf Culture

(3 units)

SLAN 200 Principles of Sign Language Interpreting

(3 units)

SLAN 210 American Sign Language to English I

(2 units)

SLAN 211 English to American Sign Language I

(2 units)

SLAN 220 American Sign Language to English II

(2 units)

SLAN 221 English to American Sign Language II

(2 units)

SLAN 230 Sign Language Interpreting III

(2 units)

SLAN 240 Interpreting Practicum

(3 units)

TOTAL UNITS  

32 units

In addition to Major requirements, refer to catalog for AA degree general education requirements.

Recommended Course Electives:  Anthropology 4, Communication Studies 1, Child Development 150, Theatre 113

Certificate of Achievement

A Certificate of Achievement will be granted upon completion of the program requirements.  At least 50% of the courses required for the Certificate of Achievement must be completed at El Camino College.

CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS  

UNITS

SLAN 113 American Sign Language III

(4 units)

SLAN 114 American Sign Language IV

(4 units)

SLAN 115 American Sign Language V

(4 units)

SLAN 120 Fingerspelling and Numerical Concepts

(1 unit)

SLAN 130 Deaf Culture

(3 units)

SLAN 200 Principles of Sign Language Interpreting

(3 units)

SLAN 210 American Sign Language to English I

(2 units)

SLAN 211 English to American Sign Language I

(2 units)

SLAN 220 American Sign Language to English II

(2 units)

SLAN 221 English to American Sign Language II

(2 units)

SLAN 230 Sign Language Interpreting III

(2 units)

SLAN 240 Interpreting Practicum

(3 units)

ENGL 1A Reading and Composition

(4 units)

One course from the following:  

(3 units)

CDEV 150 Survey of Children with Special Needs (3 units)  
COMS 1 Public Speaking (3 units)  
THEA 113 Introduction to Acting (3 units)  
ANTH 4 Language and Culture (3 units)  
TOTAL UNITS   39 


 

El Camino College Sign Language/Interpreter Training Brochure (400k PDF)

Are you interested in learning more about an exciting career in sign language interpreting? Click here for information on how far you could go as an interpreter and how to get there!

Discover Interpreting

Gainful Employment Disclosure Information

El Camino College Gainful Employment Disclosure Statement 2012-13 - Sign Language Interpreter

FAQ about interpreting and the El Camino Sign Language Interpreter Program

Where can I find more information about the ECC Sign Language Interpreter Training Program (ITP)? 

After reviewing information on this website, including links for further information about the interpreting field and enrolling in the El Camino ITP, contact one of the full-time ITP instructors with your questions.  Susan Marron (smarron@elcamino.edu).  Sandy Bartiromo (sbartiro@elcamino.edu). Brian Morrison (bmorrison@elcamino.edu)

How do I enroll at El Camino and get into the Sign Language Interpreter Training Program (ITP)?

Included on this site is a link for guidlines to enrollment and contacting a counselor (at the bottom of this webpage).  Also you can get general information from a counselor at www.elcamino.edu/studentservices/co  or (310) 660-3593 ext. 3458.  The Sign Language Interpreter Program is in the Health Sciences & Athletics Department (HS&A), so book an appointment with one of the HS&A counselors who works with the ITP.

Are there prerequisites to the ITP?

Yes, SLAN 111 (ASL I) and SLAN 112 (ASL II) are required for entering the program.

What other skills or qualities are recommended for entering the program?

Interpreting requires strong English skills (vocabulary and grammar).  Not a great deal of time in the ITP is spent developing English skills, so having them in place is helpful.  Flexibility and open-mindedness are good qualities since interpreters have to be the voice of many people in a variety of situations.   You may strongly disagree with what is being said or signed in an interpreting situation, but still need to convey the message content and spirit.   Integrity, self-discipline, and discretion are also good qualities.  Interpreters follow a Code of Professional Conduct.  Since most are not supervised during an assignment, the interpreter must decide what is ethical and act accordingly.

What if I have already taken American Sign Language (ASL) classes in high school or college?  Do I have to retake courses? 

The academic counselor will let you know what courses are transferrable into the program.  They may also advise that you speak with an ITP instructor to determine appropriate placement.  Note:  ASL coursework in the ITP not only involves learning how to sign, but also understanding ASL syntax and grammar, as well as Deaf culture. 

What if I have learned sign language from family or friends?  Do I still have to take ASL I and/or II?

If you have acquired signing skills in other settings, it may be possible for you to test out of ASL I and/or ASL II.  Testing out of these courses allows you to bypass them and enter the ITP, but you will not receive official credit/units for the courses on your transcript.

What is the difference between the Associates of Arts Degree or the Certificate of Achievement?  Which one is better for me?

The Associate of Arts degree includes taking courses in the major, along with general education coursework.  The degree is strongly recommended for anyone who does not currently have an AA or BA degree.  A firm knowledge of general education makes for a better interpreter.

The Certificate of Achievement focuses on coursework in the major.  The Certificate of Achievement is generally recommended for those who already have an AA or BA degree.  Do note that some interpreting jobs require a “related degree,” so depending on the type of AA or BA, students may opt to complete an AA in interpreting as well.  This should be discussed with a counselor, who can determine how many additional general education classes would be needed.

How long will it take to complete the degree or certificate?

ITP courses are sequenced, meaning you need to complete ASL I prior to taking ASL II, complete the first interpreting course prior to taking the second, etc.  The degree or certificate takes a minimum of three years starting with ASL III.  If starting with ASL I, it takes a minimum of four years to complete all ITP coursework.  For those taking general education courses, duration will vary depending on how many units are required and how many days a week students attend.

Are the courses days or evenings?

ASL I  and ASL II  (sometimes ASL III) are offered both days and evenings, as well as a few other courses, such as Deaf Culture and fingerspelling.   The remaining courses are evenings.  General education courses can be taken days or evenings.  The final course, Practicum, involves interpreting in supervised settings for three hours per week.  Often the most/best settings are offered during the day during the week.  Those working full-time day jobs may need to make arrangements with employers to be available a few day-time hours each week to complete Practicum requirements during their last semester.

I have heard about interpreter certification.  If I receive an ITP Certificate of Achievement, does that mean I am a nationally certified interpreter?

The Certificate of Achievement means you have successfully completed the ITP coursework in the major.  This does not mean you are nationally certified.  National Interpreter Certification (NIC) is a test administered by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).  Most graduates of the ITP need at least 2-5 years of interpreting experience before passing the NIC test.  This varies with the amount of signing experience students have entering the program, the amount of contact they have with the Deaf community, and individual abilities.

Do I have to become nationally certified to work as an interpreter?

Most graduates begin interpreting in entry level, part-time positions that do not require certification.  One such setting would be interpreting classes at a community college.  Another setting might be working for a freelance agency that does in-house testing and sends interpreters out to jobs that fit their skill level. 

Some graduates opt to use their signing and interpreting skills on their existing jobs, such as nurses, social workers, and teachers. Also, those who already work with deaf employees in business may utilize their interpreting skills on the job. 

Note:  Most full-time interpreting positions require certification, so after gaining experience and becoming certified, more job opportunities would exist.

If I do decide to take the national certification test, do I need a Bachelors degree?

As of July 2012, a BA is required to sit for the test.  Currently, the BA can be in any discipline; it does not have to be in interpreting. 

Another type of assessment, the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA), an assessment taken by some wanting to do educational interpreting, does not have a degree requirement at this time.  Those passing the EIPA at a Level 4 or 5 have the option of being “recognized” by RID as credentialed.  They would also need to pass the EIPA Knowledge Exam and have a BA.

RID offers  an alternate path for those without a BA, which includes a certain number of college units, years of experience in full-time interpreting positions, and proof of continuing education.  The exact requirements can be found online at www.rid.org.  

Another consideration in determining whether or not to pursue a BA degree has to do with continuing skill development.  If you transfer to a four year program and continue taking classes in ASL and interpreting, you will be more likely to become certified sooner and become eligible for more job opportunities.  Another possibility is to complete a BA in something other than interpreting/deaf studies.  This would allow for two areas of possible employment.  For example, if you have an AA in interpreting and BA in social work, you would have two possible career paths. 

What universities offer a BA in interpreting?

Thirty-eight colleges and universities nation-wide offer a BA in interpreting or deaf studies (with concentrations in interpreting).  To see a listing, go to www.rid.org and click on “find interpreter education program,” then select BA programs. 

In California, two universities offer programs, the closest being California State University Northridge (CSUN).  CSUN has a large deaf student population and is also home to the National Center on Deafness.  They offer a degree in Deaf Studies, with a concentration in interpreting.  If interested in learning more about ECC courses that transfer, contact your academic counselor.   Note:  If you are planning to transfer, it is imperative that you speak with an academic counselor to ensure that the general education courses you choose will transfer.  Note that while ECC’s ASL classes and Deaf Culture class transfer, other interpreting coursework does not.  The counselor will help identify the additional general education classes that would be needed (above those required by our AA degree) to fulfill the university’s requirements for entering as a junior.

I am not planning to become an interpreter, but do want to become fluent in ASL.  What other careers are available?  Can I use ASL for foreign language credit?

See the Discover Interpreting website (above) for more information about careers in deaf education, audiology, speech pathology, etc.  In virtually any job, you might encounter deaf individuals.  Being fluent in ASL will likely attract more consumers or clients your way.  Also, being fluent in sign language, like Spanish or any other language, will make you a more marketable job candidate. 

Do ASL courses transfer to 4-year institutions?

The ITP Sign Language courses (ASL I-IV), also known as SL 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, are transferrable to many colleges and universities for foreign language credit, including the California State University Northridge (CSUN) Deaf Studies program.  Deaf Culture is also transferrable for general education credit.  Check with an academic counselor for further details on how many units will transfer to the specific institution you will attend and will apply to the specific degree you are seeking.

I began interpreting coursework prior to Fall 2014.  Do the Fall 2014 degree and certificate requirements listed on this webpage apply to me?

If were enrolled in interpreting coursework before Fall 2014, please meet with a counselor to discuss the possibility of using catalog rights to complete your degree and certificate.

 

How do I get started?

For steps to applying and enrolling, click on the following link to the El Camino College advisement worksheet/guidelines for those interested in enrolling in the El Camino College Sign Language Interpreter Program.  (ADVISEMENT SHEET TO BE LINKED SOON)

 Last Published 8/27/14