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Sign Language Studies



Frequently Asked Interpreter Preparation Questions


How can I learn more about the interpreting profession, in general, and the American River College Interpreter Preparation Program (ARC IPP), specifically? Take the SILA 362: Introduction to the Interpreting Profession Saturday class.  It is a one-day, all day Saturday class offered at the beginning of each semester.  An overview of the interpreting profession and specifics about the ARC IPP are discussed.  Check here for the online schedule:   

What are the pre-requisites for entry into the ARC IPP? The pre-requisites include: Graduation from an accredited high school, ASL 4, Eligibility for ENGRD 310 or 312, a completed enrollment application.  Additionally, there is an enrollment process. Review the complete enrollment eligibility and enrollment process at this link:

I already know American Sign Language.  Do I still have to take American Sign Language I, II, III? (Insert the assessment information here.) If you have taken ASL courses at another institution, make an appointment with an ARC counselor to see if the course is transferrable.  

What is the application and screening process for the ARC IPP? Review the application and enrollment process for the ARC IPP at this link: Additionally, read the ARC IPP program Introduction letter and program application for additional information.  

If I am currently enrolled in ASL 4, can I still apply? Yes, you can take ASL 4 during the same semester that you apply.  However, during the screening process, we have noted greater success among those students who have also completed ASL 5 and Deaf Culture courses prior to applying to the program.  

What is the program sequencing? Recommended Course Sequence

How long does it take to complete the program? The ARC IPP is a two-year program following the completion of the pre-requisite language/culture courses.  

When are the ARC IPP courses offered? Typically, the courses are offered on Monday and Wednesday late afternoon and evening.  During the final semester, when students complete a culminating fieldwork course, additional days and hours are required.  Also, work with a counselor to see about completing the required ASL and Deaf Culture courses that are typically offered on other days.  

Do I need a bachelor's degree in order to enter the program and to be a working interpreter? Students do not need a bachelor's degree in order to enroll in the ARC IPP. The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf requires a bachelor's degree in order to take the National Interpreting Certificate (NIC).  For more information see  The Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment, another skills assessment, does not require the bachelor's degree.  For more information see   The bachelor's degree can be in any field.  Some students entering the ARC IPP already have a bachelor's degree in another field.  Students who do not have a bachelor's degree have often transferred to the CSUS Deaf Studies, Communication Studies, or other program.  

Will I be a certified interpreter when I finish the program? No.  You will receive either an AA degree or Certificate of Completion.  The difference is the general education requirement for the AA degree.  To become a certified interpreter, you must take either the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf National Interpreting Certificate or the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment.   

What is the pay like for ASL/English interpreters? The rate of pay for beginning level interpreters in northern California ranges between $10 - $15 per hour, with highly qualified interpreters earning $30 - $60 per hour.  Salaries will vary depending on many factors including certification, education, geographic area and educational credentials. Some interpreters work as independent contractors and earn from a $18-$60/hour. Generally, they do not schedule a full forty hours per week nor do they typically get employee benefits.  Other interpreters work full-time for an agency, business, video relay service, government organization or educational institution.  Depending on many factors, these staff employees may earn anywhere between $15,000-$50,000+ per year.  You may want to call interpreter referral agencies, video relay providers or educational institution to get specific information about the area of interpreting that interests you.