Colleges offer online sign language courses

Students enrolled in the American Sign Language (ASL) – English Interpreting program at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges will soon be able to take the majority of their courses online.

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges are the only schools in Iowa to offer a Certificate in Deaf Studies and a Diploma in American Sign Language – English Interpreter in Applied Science. The new online option will provide greater flexibility for students interested in pursuing a career in ASL. On-campus courses will still be offered.

The need for ASL interpreters has never been greater. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to grow by 24% from 2020 to 2030, which is higher than other occupations. Those with ASL jobs can work in hospitals, schools, business offices, courtrooms, and freelance interpreting services.

“Our students get jobs immediately after successfully completing the program, many with excellent starting salaries,” said Diane Roebuck, ASL – English Interpretation Instructor. “It’s the perfect job for anyone who enjoys diversity in their workday and supporting people and their communities. »

Students will be able to access their lectures and assignments through the college’s online course management system, and textbooks and instructional videos will be provided by DawnSignPress, the nation’s leading publisher of ASL film, literature and software. and for the deaf. As an area of ​​communication requiring face-to-face interactions, all online students will be required to complete an in-person workshop totaling two days each semester. Workshops give students the chance to practice their skills face-to-face and communicate with members of the Deaf community, as well as other students. The curriculum includes topics ranging from language structures and cultural norms to professional ethical standards and specialty areas.

Upon successful completion of the program, students are prepared to take the following exams:

  • Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA)
  • The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) National Interpreter Certification (NIC)
  • Interpreter Evaluation Board (EIB) Certification

These certifications are required for licensing.

Iowa residents can take advantage of the Iowa Last Dollar Scholarship, which covers tuition for the ASL – English Interpreter AAS credential and Deaf Studies Certification. After you file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the state will then cover the remaining balance beyond the aid you are eligible for.

For more information, click here.

Sylvester L. Goldfarb