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Career Facts

What They Do:

The Sign Language Interpreter is a person specially trained to facilitate communication between the deaf, hard of hearing and hearing communities. Employment opportunities may be in educational settings, freelance, or contracted with agencies to provide interpreter services for deaf persons. Positions include those working with vocational rehabilitation, community service agencies, local school districts, gerontology, the Peace Corps, self employment as freelance interpreters, social service agencies, communication facilities, college and universities.

Who Would Enjoy It:

Someone who would enjoy this field would have characteristics that include flexibility, objectivity, self-discipline and self-motivation, sensitivity to others, punctuality and responsibility. They must be able to focus their attention on one task at a time and be accurate in their actions/duties. They must also be able to maintain a low profile, so that the attention of the participants is not focused on him or her.

What They Earn:

Salaries range from $10,000 to $45,000 depending on one's employer, experience, hours worked and location. Some interpreters who only work part-time or as a free-lancer may earn between $20 and $45 per hour.

How Much Schooling, Training, or Skill Development:

An associate degree is required by most employers, along with continual and periodic classes and certification. A bachelor's degree will be helpful to make one more competitive in this field. National Interpreter Certification, which is offered by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, will require a bachelor's degree as of July 1, 2012. Michigan as well as other states that require minimum education may vary by the kind of work the interpreter does.

Related Occupations:

Teacher for the Deaf, Social Work and Counseling

Art, Design and Multimedia at Lansing Community College

Communication, Media and the Arts Department
Gannon Bldg, Room 131
Phone: (517) 483-1546
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