American Sign Language and Interpreter Training

Program Type: Face-to-Face
Program Level: Degrees, Certificates
Department: Languages and Philosophy
Institute: Creative & Communication Arts
College: SAC

What is the American Sign Language and Interpreting program?

This program fully prepares you to work as an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter or a Deaf Support Specialist for people in the Deaf community. This comprehensive program will teach you ASL and the interpreting process, while also familiarizing you with Deaf culture.

What will I learn?

As an interpreting student, you will learn the skills you need to begin working as an ASL interpreter, facilitating communication between people who are Deaf and hearing. You’ll learn ASL and gain an understanding of the interpreting process and profession, Deaf culture and a variety of specialized interpreting settings.

In the Deaf Support Specialist program, you’ll be prepared to assist Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals as a paraprofessional in the workplace and with independent living skills. You will become familiar with the interpreting process, but your primary responsibilities include advocacy, job coaching and mentoring Deaf individuals in a variety of community and educational settings.

What can I do with this course of study?

Upon graduating with an associate degree in ASL: Sign Language Interpreter, you’ll be prepared for an entry-level career as an interpreter between Deaf and hearing individuals in a variety of settings, including educational and community-based employment. The demand for interpreters allows for a variety of job opportunities, either part-time or full-time. An ASL: Deaf Support Specialist degree prepares you for work as an advocate, job coach, mentor and/or paraprofessional to Deaf individuals.

What is special about our program?

The interpreting program prepares you for the high-demand field of ASL interpreting. SAC offers the only program in Texas that requires you to pass the State Certification Exam as a graduation requirement. That means you’ll graduate with the credentials you need to begin working as an interpreter. ASL courses also count as foreign language credits and transfer for university credit.


American Sign Language Interpreter

A qualified Sign Language Interpreter is responsible for facilitating communication between consumers that are Deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing by interpreting between English and American Sign Language. Interpreting refers to the process of preserving the meaning from one natural language to another natural language. When we interpret, it involves the unrehearsed, not written (i.e., spoken or signed) conversion of a message from one language (called the source language) to a second language (called the target language). (Department of Linguistics and Interpreting Gallaudet University, 1991) A Sign Language Interpreter must also act as a cultural mediator when working with consumers who are Deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing.

The demand for interpreters allows for a variety of job opportunities, either part-time or full-time. There are a number of settings for a Sign Language Interpreter to find employment such as educational, community, video relay, medical, legal, mental health/psychiatric, religious and performing arts. An interpreter also has the opportunity to be self-employed and work as an Independent Contractor or a Freelance Interpreter for various companies and/or government agencies. The pay rate for a Sign Language Interpreter will depend on certification level, degrees held, location (urban vs. rural) and years of experience.

Below are additional web sites you may want to visit.

Certified Deaf/Intermediary Interpreter

For more information contact: Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitive Services


Deaf Support Specialist

A Deaf Support Specialist (DSS) is responsible for advocating, educating and promoting community awareness on the issues that pertain to the Deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing communities. Their duties involve assisting Deaf and hard-of-hearing consumers with independent living skills, informing them of community services, and educating them in terms of their rights as they relate to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally they can assist in locating the latest rehabilitative and/or assistive technological devices. A DSS is not a Sign Language Interpreter; although, some interpreting may be required which is why our program requires that DSS take Interpreting I to become familiar with the interpreting process. A DSS may also work as a cultural mediator when working with consumers who are Deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing.

A DSS may find employment in a variety of settings. They can work in the educational field as a paraprofessional, tutor or educator. Additionally they can also work as a job coach for companies or government agencies that employ Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals. They may also have the opportunity to work for an agency or organization that provides an array of services for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

This degree may also benefit students who plan on pursuing their Bachelor’s degree in a field where they  encounter deaf or hard-of-hearing consumers. Those occupations may include Deaf education or special education teacher, social worker, counselor, and vocational rehabilitation counselor.

The pay rate for a Deaf Support Specialist will depend on degrees and/or certifications held as well as years of experience.

Contact Us

Michelle Payne
Program Coordinator
Nail Technical Center (NTC) 109B
(210) 486-1117


John Mark Raymond
Program Coordinator
NTC 109D
(210) 486-1557

Alaina Webb
Department Chair
NTC 114C
(210) 486-1105

Jodie Finken
Academic Unit Administrator
NTC 114B
(210) 486-1106