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Online Sign Language Certification Information

Some courses in American Sign Language (ASL) are available online. The level and method of instruction varies depending on individual goals and current level of knowledge in the field. Keep reading to find out how to take online courses in this field and become certified.

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Learning ASL

Individuals enroll in online ASL courses for a variety of reasons, including to communicate with friends and family that are deaf or hard of hearing; to increase their skill set for career advancement; or to earn the experience necessary to enter into an interpreter program, eventually leading to national certification.

Sign language courses have traditionally been taught in a classroom, so that people can learn to communicate face-to-face. However, in recent years, a number of institutions have responded to the need for interpreters by adding online sign language courses and certification for those who are interested in the field but unable to attend on-campus classes. Distance-learning courses provide the opportunity to self-pace and are often taught through webcam meetings and online learning systems.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there is not an industry standard certification for sign language interpreters. Individuals can find certification through organizations like the American Translators Association (ATA), which requires experience and education in sign language as a requirement.

Sign Language Courses and Programs

Online courses can be taken individually or as part of a certificate or an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree program that consists of on-site courses as well. Individuals interested in learning the basics may be content with distance learning options, but those looking to complete a degree or obtain national certification will generally have to dedicate some of their time to on-site schooling and enroll in an on-campus or hybrid program.

Online Options

Similar to on-campus programs, many of the courses offered online are beginner courses in signing or courses focused on the background of the profession. Whether pursuing courses through a certificate or degree program, online course options include the following:

  • Intermediate sign language
  • Introduction to interpreting
  • Deaf history and culture
  • Working with the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Careers in ASL
  • Interpreting in a variety of settings

National Certification

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) offers national certification and maintenance programs to help insure quality and professionalism for interpreters. Many certification and degree programs offered through colleges and universities are structured to prepare graduates to take the RID National Interpreter Certification exams.

RID also offers a continuing education program for those who become certified. Every ten hours of participation in organized activities that encourage growth and advancement in the field count for one Continuing Education Unit (CEU). Some schools offer distance-learning programs for RID certificate holders that count for both course and CEU credit.

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Online Degree in Sign Language: Program Options

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Undergraduate applicants must be a high school graduate or have completed GED and completed some college. Master's degree applicants must have a bachelor's or higher.

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree

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Other Schools:

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

Popular Schools

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