Department of Human Services

Bachelor of Science in Sign Language Interpreting

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Why Choose Sign Language Interpreting?

The Department of Human Services in the College of Education and Human Services offers a Bachelor of Science completion degree in sign language interpreting (SLI) designed for students who have previously completed an associate degree in sign language interpreting.  

To enter the program, you must: 

  • Possess an associate degree in sign language interpreting 
  • Have a 2.35 GPA or above 
  • Contact the SLI department for an interview appointment 

Today's interpreters work with a variety of deaf consumers – those who acquired American Sign Language (ASL) as their first language, those who communicate through a form of visual English, and those who use a contact variety of English and ASL. Hard of hearing, deaf, and blind consumers are also specialty populations you will encounter in your work placements. You may also work with a variety of hearing consumers, some of whom are familiar with American deaf culture and the process of interpreting, and some who are communicating with a deaf person for the first time. 

SLI courses cover a variety of topics and are designed to enhance your current knowledge and skills, building on the foundation formed during your associate-level programs. 

The Value of a Bachelor’s Degree in Sign Language Interpreting 

  • Continue your personal and professional growth as an interpreter for the deaf 
  • Discover individual idiosyncrasies and methods of work 
  • Take the opportunity to network with other working interpreters 
  • Discuss language issues and the profession 
  • Consider working world situations and dilemmas 
  • Receive immediate feedback from peers and instructors on interpreting work and discussion topics 

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Inc., (RID) a national membership organization of professionals who provide sign language interpreting/transliterating services for deaf and hard of hearing persons, provides a national testing system that certifies qualified interpreters. You must hold a bachelor’s degree to apply for RID certification testing. Please visit RID’s website for more information. Beginning January 1, 2021, Ohio will require sign language interpreters to hold a Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Generalist Certification. Licensure and certification requirements vary from state to state, and we have not determined if this program meets educational requirements outside of Ohio.  If you are planning to pursue professional licensure or certification in a state other than Ohio, please contact the appropriate licensing entity in that state to seek information and guidance regarding that state’s licensure or certification requirements.

Contact Information

Barbara Dunaway
108T Allyn Hall
937-775-4166/2075
barbara.dunaway@wright.edu


Careers

Potential career paths for interpreters for the deaf include interpreting for education, legal proceedings and court systems, healthcare, mental health, theater, business, conferences, and many other settings. Interpreters may work as staff interpreters, independent contractors or free-lance interpreters working at one job site on a daily basis or a variety of settings, depending on the needs of the members of the deaf community. Job growth for interpreters is expected to reach 19 percent between 2018 and 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

Graduates of the SLI program have gone on to a wide variety of work and professional experiences. Some of the locations they work for are: 

  • Interpreting agencies as independent contractors or staff interpreters 
  • Public school systems across the state as educational interpreters 
  • Colleges and universities as classroom interpreters and C-printers 
  • Video Relay Service companies as live call interpreters 
  • Non-profit organizations as case managers, interpreters, or deaf services providers 
  • Colleges and universities teaching ASL as a foreign language or interpreting courses 
  • Government agencies as staff interpreter 
  • Several students have gone on to earn a master’s degree in various fields of study.   

The College of Education and Human Services has provided a dedicated career consultant to assist you in connecting your major to a career. The career consultant focuses on staying up to date on career trends in education, kinesiology and health, leadership, and human services. Our assigned career consultant is an extension of services offered through Wright State’s Career Services.   


Real-World Experience

Most students in the SLI program have begun to work in the field of interpreting and therefore no additional practicum experience is needed. There are no set practicum or internships designed in the program, although specialty mentoring may be set up if you request it. Wright State’s SLI program works in a collaborative with the local Sorenson VRS office with the opportunity for observational hours in the Dayton center.   

Your coursework does require a great deal of hands-up interpreting, transliterating, and sign-to-voice interpreting work. Some of these will be done by video recording assignments and others will occur live in front of the class with peers and faculty providing support and feedback. The senior capstone includes some live interpreting at settings within the university.  


Success Stories

Gloria Pappaterra, who majors in political science and sign language at Wright State, is driven by a need to serve others.
Wright State students Gabby Gramkow and Jacqueline Eddingfield had a distinct vision for their sign language interpreting capstone project: a quiet event buzzing with visual activity.

    Academics and Curriculum

    View Bachelor of Science in Sign Language Interpreting program information, degree requirements, and graduation planning strategies in the Academic Catalog.

    The objective of this program is to prepare you to enter the field of sign language interpreting as a professional who can make a significant contribution to the deaf community and the field of interpreting for the deaf. Interpreters must be proficient in both English and American Sign Language.   

    In this program, you will complete 40 semester hours of professional requirements focusing on sign language interpreting and deafness and approximately 24 semester hours of general education courses beyond those completed at the associate degree level. This will vary depending on any additional general education courses you have previously taken. 

    Your coursework is offered through various delivery methods for maximum learning opportunities and interacting with peers, including traditional classroom meetings, online, and hybrid. On-campus classes are offered one night a week with times beginning at 5:30 p.m. to encourage full-time employment or taking other course work.

    2020 Sign Language Interpreting Course Sequence (PDF)

    Sign Language Interpreting course descriptions

    Where to Start for an Associate Degree in Interpreting

    To be eligible to enter the SLI program, you must have graduated from an associate degree level interpreter training program. That program will provide ASL courses, deaf culture, linguistics, and interpreting course work, in addition to a practicum experience year. There are several programs in Ohio that offer an associate degree in sign language interpreting that would serve as the basis for gaining the skills, knowledge, and degree needed to transfer to Wright State and complete the bachelor’s degree.  

    Professional Interpreting links


    Admission

    Admission Requirements

    • Associate degree in sign language interpreting or the equivalent 
    • Cumulative minimum GPA of 2.35 
    • Application to the program director 
    • Baseline proficiency of American Sign Language as determined by the sign language interpreting faculty 

    Admission Process

    New Transfer Students

    2

    Successfully complete an interview with program faculty.


    ASL as a Foreign Language Requirement

    Non-Degree

    American Sign Language (ASL) is the third most common foreign language used in the United States. You can take ASL to fulfill the foreign language requirement in your major. Two full years of language courses are offered, and you can begin taking the series of courses in any semester. In addition to sign language basics, grammar, and sentence structure, you will learn from your exposure to deaf culture and community.   

    Current Courses

    • ASL 1010–Beginning ASL I
    • ASL 1020–Beginning ASL II
    • ASL 2010–Intermediate ASL I
    • ASL 2020–Intermediate ASL II

    Contact Information

    Annie Welch, M.A.
    Instructor
    108 X Allyn Hall
    (937) 775-2075
    annie.welch@wright.edu


    Take the Next Step

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