American Sign Language Schools with Program Information

American Sign Language (ASL) schools educate students about the culture and communication of the deaf community. Interpreters need certification and special training, so students should determine their career goals before selecting a program that fits their needs. Programs are available at some 2- and 4-year institutions

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How to Select an American Sign Language School

Considerations

  • Level of training
  • Certification
  • Extracurricular opportunities

Level of Training

ASL training options start at the certificate level and span through the master's degree level. Students should look for the program that fits their specific goal. For example, a certificate or associate's degree program won't qualify its graduates for certification. Master's degree programs are rare, and they can prepare students for advanced teaching positions. Most ASL teachers and interpreters hold a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).

Certification

Beginning on July 1, 2012, anyone taking the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) exam to become a certified ASL interpreter through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) will be required to hold at least a bachelor's degree in any field, in addition to demonstrating ASL proficiency through examination (www.rid.org). ASL students wishing to pursue interpreting or teaching should investigate how well a school's program meets federal and state requirements for certification.

Extracurricular Opportunities

In addition to assessing the curriculum, applicants may want to evaluate the school's extracurricular seminars and studies related to the deaf community. Many ASL programs offer film screenings, performances, lectures, seminars or opportunities to study abroad.

American Sign Language Program Overview

Associate's Degree in ASL

Associate's degree programs can't exclusively prepare a student to become an interpreter, but these undergraduate options do provide an introduction to the deaf community and ASL. They're appropriate for someone with a personal interest in ASL or who wants to add ASL skills to other existing professional qualifications. The curriculum spans about two years and includes general education requirements. A high school diploma or GED certificate is required for entry, and some programs require applicants to have an elementary knowledge of ASL. Some courses include:

  • Interpreting theory
  • Role of the interpreter
  • Orientation to deafness
  • Beginning ASL
  • Intermediate ASL

Bachelor's Degree in ASL

ASL is available as both a major and a minor at the bachelor's level of study. Some programs offer interpreting training, while others do not. Students need to graduate, which may involve completing a practicum, and gain experience to take the NIC exam. Classes cover:

  • Finger spelling
  • Deaf education
  • Language development
  • Conversational ASL

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in ASL

Post-baccalaureate courses of study are for those who already hold a bachelor's degree and want to learn about ASL. A program's specialty should be considered; some specifically teach interpretation, while others focus instead on language and culture. Prior knowledge of ASL is not always necessary for admission. Students can earn a certificate in approximately two years. Coursework includes:

  • Fingerspelling
  • ASL
  • Child development
  • Interpreting theory
  • Deaf culture
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Eastern Kentucky University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • American Sign Language - ASL
        • Sign Language Interpretation
      • Communication Studies
      • Digital, Radio, and Television Communication
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Graphic Communications
      • Journalism
      • Public Relations and Advertising
  • School locations:
    • New Hampshire (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of New Hampshire include:
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • American Sign Language - ASL
        • Sign Language Interpretation
      • Communication Studies
      • English Language and Literature
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Northeastern University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework, Diploma
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • American Sign Language - ASL
      • Communication Studies
      • Comparative Language Studies and Services
      • English Composition
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Journalism
      • Public Relations and Advertising
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Indiana University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • American Sign Language - ASL
        • Sign Language Interpretation
      • Communication Studies
      • Digital, Radio, and Television Communication
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Journalism
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Rochester Institute of Technology include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • American Sign Language - ASL
      • Communication Studies
      • Communication Technology
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Graphic Communications
      • Public Relations and Advertising
      • Publishing
  • School locations:
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Valdosta State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • American Sign Language - ASL
        • Sign Language Interpretation
      • Communication Studies
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • American Sign Language - ASL
        • Sign Language Interpretation
      • Communication Studies
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
  • School locations:
    • Oklahoma (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Oklahoma State University include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Communications and Journalism
      • American Sign Language - ASL
        • Sign Language Interpretation
  • School locations:
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgia Perimeter College include:
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Communications and Journalism
      • American Sign Language - ASL
        • Sign Language Interpretation

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