Bridging The Divide Between The Hearing and Deaf: American Sign Language Degree

Do you enjoy communicating with others and would like to assist people who are deaf or hearing impaired? Would you like to follow a career path where you are closely involved with the deaf and hard of hearing community? One of the best ways to accomplish this is to complete a sign language degree. It is a great degree for anyone who are passionate about languages and would like a career path that involves improving the quality of life of other people. Careers that involve ASL are considered by many to be amongst the most meaningful and involves a lot of job fulfillment. Whether you have people in your life who are deaf or hard of hearing and would like to be able to communicate more fluently with them or simply have a passion for languages and would love a career in interpreting, a sign language degree is worth considering.

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American Sign Language Degree Information

Bachelor of Science in Interpretation Studies in ASL-English

The Bachelor of Science in Interpretation Studies in ASL-English is an online degree program that is aimed at students who have already earned a degree in ASL interpreting. It typically requires 36 credit hours to complete, but a total of 122 hours is needed in order for students to graduate. Courses that form part of this degree may include Ethics and Decision Making, Linguistics of American Sign Language, Theory of Interpretation, Interpreting in Advanced Settings and more. A Grammar/Rhetoric Elective and Social Service Elective is usually also required.

Bachelor of Science in ASL/English Interpreting

The Bachelor of Science in ASL/English Interpreting is a four year degree program that is aimed at students interested in interpreting in community or educational settings. Major requirements for this course may include Interpreting Processes, Transliterating, Community Setting Interpreting, Interactive Interpreting, Advanced American Sign Language and American Sign Language Linguistics.


Completing a degree in sign language does not automatically mean that a person is certified to be an interpreter. The certification process also requires the completion of an exam, which is administered by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. Students are typically required to have completed a four-year degree before they are able to become nationally certified.

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American Sign Language Degree FAQ

Is It Possible To Earn An American Sign Language Degree Online?

Online sign language degree programs are available, but many are degree-completion programs that are aimed at students who have already completed a relevant two year degree in the field. There are also hybrid programs available, usually at a Master’s level, where students can do a portion of the degree online and do the rest on-campus. Online programs require students to have access to a computer or laptop as well as an internet connection. Typically, special software such as BlackBoard is used for delivering the online course materials. Some courses also require the use of software such as GoReact, which is used to record video assignments. Due to the visual nature of American Sign Language, online courses usually require students to have a large external hard drive for storing video files as well as recording equipment that can record in high definition. This also means that a fast and stable internet connection is required to upload or download the video files. In addition to online degree programs, there are also a number of non-degree courses that can be found online to learn the basics of American Sign Language.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Study American Sign Language?

Sign language is a great degree if you are interested in communication in general and non-spoken language in particular. It requires a lot of disciple to become fluent in sign language and you also need to be able to think on your feet, especially if you plan on using your degree to become an interpreter. Signs you’ll be dealing with people who have disabilities, it is vital that you are caring, compassionate and patient. Cultural sensitivity is also required as you may end up working with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Finally, you should be fluent in English and be able to express yourself in a clear manner.

What Type of Career Options Might Be Available To Me With This Type of Degree?

There are numerous career options available to students who complete a degree in American Sign Language, especially when combined with interpreting. Sign language interpreters regularly find employment in fields as diverse as education and health as well as in the corporate sector. Many sign language interpreters also opt to become freelancers, which gives them the freedom to decide which projects they accept.

What Are The Typical Duties of Someone Who Is Employed In This Field?

When working as an interpreter, your primary responsibility is typically to convert sign language into spoken English or vice versa. You must not just be able to relay the tone and style of the speaker, but may also be required to use your cultural knowledge in order to interpret the message in a meaningful way.

How Much Can I Potentially Earn With An American Sign Language Degree?

American Sign Language can be useful in a variety of careers, so your income potential will depend on which path you choose. If you decide to make your degree the focus of your career and become an interpreter, you can earn about $51,830 per year as of 2019, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, other factors, such as your experience, specialty and certification can also influence your wages.

What Are The Other Benefits Of Earning A Sign Language Degree?

A sign language degree not only opens up a whole new avenue of communicating to you, but there is also a demand for sign language interpreters that exceeds the supply, which means there are plenty of career options available. You can enhance your career prospects even further by combining your sign language degree with a degree in behavioral sciences, education or other majors. In addition, if you are already employed in the medical field or working as a teacher, earning an American Sign Language degree can provide you with a competitive advantage over your peers.

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