By Stephanie Zito
April 6, 2009
For quite some time now there has been a high demand for ASL interpreters.
Studies show that over the next decade that demand will increase by a
According to the National Association of the Deaf, twenty-eight million
Americans are either deaf or hearing impaired (Jessica Cohn, Everywhere a
Sign). More than 10% of that number requires assistance to access health
services, education, etc. This is why the demand for interpreters has
greatly increased over the years. In fact, “Employment of interpreters is
projected to increase 24 percent over the 2006-16 decade, much faster than
the average for all occupations. This growth will be driven partly by strong
demand in healthcare settings and work related to homeland security” (jobjournal.com).
According to SalaryExpert.com, the average income that an ASL interpreter
makes in a year ranges from $32,276 - $61,650 in the bay area, to $24,638 -
$47,062 in places like Sacramento.
In order to become a certified interpreter a person has to first become
efficient in the language whether it be in college or part of a life long
education in the subject. Many employers will accept an Associate-Level
degree in deaf studies, but most employers prefer a Bachelor’s Degree in the
subject. Most interpreting students will spend time in the deaf community
becoming familiar with the language and different forms of casual talk among
the deaf. Students then take a test to earn their National Interpreters
Certificate (NIC) which is recognized by both the National Associate for the
Deaf and the Registry for Interpreters for the Deaf. During the test you are
categorized into three different levels based on your proficiency during the
interview and performance sections of the exam. Based on your performance,
you will end up as a NIC Generalist, NIC Advanced, or NIC Master (Cohn,
Everywhere a Sign).
While researching I came across the ASL Services, Inc. Company. This company
is an industry leader in providing professional sign language interpreting
services throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. ASL Services, Inc has
been serving the country since 1989 and has recently become a supporter for
Video Relay Services which is a new way for interpreters to help deaf people
by using video and speech-to speech phones. ASL Services, Inc. only uses
qualified Nationally Certified, State-screened and professionally evaluated
(ADA compliant) qualified interpreters. The company also has staff available
24/7 for any and all emergencies (ww.aslervices.com).
In today’s job market and economy, Interpreters have been found to be in
high demand in most urban areas such as Washington DC, New York, and
California, which provide the largest numbers of employment possibilities.
There has also been a great need for interpreters in publishing firms, phone
companies, airlines, cruise ships, and interpreting and translating
American Sign Language Services. 04 Apr. 2009 <http://www.aslservices.com/services.html>.
CAREER SNAPSHOT: Interpreters (California Job Journal)." California Job
Journal - California
Jobs, Jobs in California. 04 Apr. 2009
Cohn, Jessica. "Everywhere A Sign." 2008. Academic Search Premiere. EBSCO.
Sacramento State Library, Sacramento. 4 Apr. 2009