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ASLU is not accredited.
We are not seeking accreditation.
We are a curriculum resource and online study program.

The ASLU version of "American Sign Language 1" is analogous (similar) to the course I teach at California State University Sacramento.

I don't advertise that though since it is important to me that it is clear to students that they are not signing up for college credit when they are only signing up for a much less expensive "community education" course offering. However, if a high-school (not college) student passes this course and would like official “academic credit” she can contact the College of Continuing Education at Sacramento State and request “contract residence credit” (as a high school student), fill out a registration form, pay an ADDITIONAL processing fee, and receive actual college credit. This may require waiting until the next semester. 

I cannot guarantee that this option will always be available but I can state that it has been used by more than one student in the past.

Allow me to be VERY clear here:  There is no connection between ASLU and CSUS.  Just because two different colleges use the same book for a course doesn't mean that the two colleges are connected in any way.  Just because you study a topic at ABC College and it transfers to XYZ College doesn't mean that those two colleges are linked.

And since I'm being "clear" make sure you realize that I came up with the name ASLU back when the use of the word "university" was a "cute" / "cool" name for an online curriculum resource. Then LATER all these REAL universities started offering online programs!!!  

See below for details regarding the college credit option as well as other information regarding the ASLU "ASL 1" course.
Dr. Bill Vicars

Here are the details:
Program: California State University, Sacramento, College of Continuing Education
Course title: American Sign Language 1
Course number: DEAF 51
Class number: ________
[The specific class number varies each semester, ask Liz Arellanes if there is a current number available or if she can set one up. See below for contact information.]
Note: The 3 units discussed here is actual college credit. Not just CEUs.
Contact person: Liz Arellanes, Senior Program Coordinator, College of Continuing Education, Sacramento State, 3000 State University Drive, MS 6103, Sacramento, CA 95819. Fax: 916.278.3685 Phone: 916.278.6249. Website:

Course Description: ASL 1 is an introduction to American Sign Language. This course introduces basic vocabulary, grammatical knowledge, and cultural awareness. Students also learn fingerspellling, and basic ASL numbering. Prerequisites: None, this is an introductory class.

Course rigor: The course grade is based on the student's completed assignments and quiz scores – including 15 lesson quizzes, 3 unit tests, a research paper, a culture and terminology test, an instructor-graded video project and an in-person proctored final exam. The course covers over 300 vocabulary concepts, 300 sentences, numerous grammar principles & cultural items as well as fingerspelling and signed numbers.

Course validity: The course was designed by Dr. Bill Vicars who holds an earned doctorate in Deaf Studies / Deaf Education from an accredited university (Lamar University, Texas), and has over 25 years of experience teaching American Sign Language, visual language linguistics, and sign language pedagogy in a wide variety of settings including internationally (Singapore, Guyana,) and online (with over 100,000 subscribers to Currently Dr. Vicars is a full-time, tenured, award-winning*, professor** of American Sign Language at Sacramento State University.
(*Teacher of the Year)
(** Full professor, not just an "assistant" or "associate" professor. Has been promoted three times after peer review via a primary and secondary committee as well as the Chair, Dean, and Provost.)

To receive college credit from a recognized accredited educational institution you must contact that institution and make arrangements with them. Get it in writing. 

If you are simply using this site for self-study or as a curriculum for an in-person class then please do not register and do not pay anything.  Just study for free.

ASL University can provide documentation of your having completed a certain amount of work or having demonstrated a certain level of proficiency but that takes time and effort on our part and thus requires registration and fee payment.

Some students do register and pay tuition to take an online course here and then apply this course toward  fulfillment of graduation or foreign language requirements at their local school. Some colleges and high schools that have allowed one or more of their students to use the ASLU (Lifeprint) course toward fulfillment of graduation or foreign language requirements are listed below. Note, this is only a partial list. Also, some are ongoing programs.

Ballard Memorial High School (2005)
Belhaven College, 1500 Peachtree Street, Jackson, MS 39202, (C.M. Poe, 2006)
Emerson College, 180 Tremont St. Boston MA 02116 (2005)
Indiana University (Doug Haskins 2006)
Lamar University, Beaumont Texas (2003)
Portland Christian High School, (Michelle Weber, 2007)
United Middle School, United Independent School District, Laredo, Texas (Christian Escamilla 2007)
Pusch Ridge Christian Academy 9500 N. Oracle Rd. Tucson, AZ 85704 (Jessica McGlynn 2007)
St. Bonaventure High School, 3167 Telegraph Road, Ventura, CA 93003, (Cody Ricewood, Oct. 2006)
St. Thomas Aquinas College 125 Route 340 Sparkill, NY 10976 (Erin Simon, Jan 2007)
Southwest Christian High School (2005) 103 Peavey Road, Chaska Minnesota 55318 -2323 (multiple students)
Utah Electronic High School (SLC Utah, 2005 program)
Webster County High School 1922 US HWY 41 A South Dixon Kentucky 42409 (Matthew Perriard 2005)
Plus others.

Additional discussion:
Remember, Lifeprint doesn't offer "credit." It offers CEUs. Some students sign up under their local university or meet with an advisor who may agree to accept the Lifeprint course in satisfaction of or to waive language requirements etc.  Back in 2004 at California State University, Sacramento, the Chair of the Department, asked me to teach the course through the CSUS College of Continuing Education for credit since he wanted to see the Department expand into online instruction. Here at Sac State if a student wants Sac State credit for studying online they can sign up for section 50 of Sac State's EDS 51 or EDS 52 offered via the Sac State College of Continuing Education.  That specific section of EDS 51 (ASL 1) and EDS 52 (ASL 2) has used the curriculum for five years now. (As of 2010)   To see the current course listing, visit:  and scroll down to the EDS 51 (ASL 1) link.
Bill Vicars


ASL University only provides continuing education units and college level equivalency certification.  Which is to say, we provide appropriate documentation when a student can demonstrate to me what we consider to be a certain level of KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities) in ASL--including signing, ability, culture, history, and terminology.  The student can then present the documentation to his school or employer. 

Frequently people ask me how to become "certified in ASL."  Usually what they actually want to know is how to become a "certified ASL interpreter." 

Completing an ASL course or an ASL program and obtaining a "certificate of completion" is not the same as becoming a certified interpreter.  There is a difference between "having a certificate (of completion)" and "being a certified ASL interpreter." 

There are a number of certifications available related to ASL that are issued by various organizations:

Interpreter Certification: There are several types of interpreter certification available. Many states have their own system of certifying interpreters. There is also national certification available from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and the National Association of the Deaf.

Teacher of the Deaf Certification: For people who want to teach Deaf children in the public school system or at a residential school for the Deaf. This certification is provided by state departments of education. 

ASLTA Certification: This certification is for people who want to teach ASL. ASLTA stands for American Sign Language Teachers Association. 

Public School Student Certification: This type of certification is offered by some state systems to their high school students who complete a course of study and pass a comprehensive final.

ASLPI: The American Sign Language Proficiency Interview is a test that many employers use to determine if job applicants are have the ASL skills necessary to do the job for which they are interviewing. It is also used to determine ASL proficiency for placement in some education programs.

SCPI: Sign Communication Proficiency Interview: This test is used by employers and others to determine if job applicants are able to communication in sign language.


In a message dated 4/16/2005 3:58:15 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, school4asl@ writes:

Dear Dr. Vicars:
I am interested in attaining a certificate in ASL in a short amount of time and am interested in the program.  I have seen a lot of scams out on the internet.  How am I to know if this is a legitimate program?  I want to be able to interpret for a summer program this summer.  Sign Language comes to me easily and I know if I applied myself I could learn the stuff offered through this program.  I have no doubts from what I've seen through the free program offered online that the program itself is legitimate, but I question the completion/certificate.
Liz _______

Hello Liz,
Taking two levels of ASL via the internet will NOT prepare you to interpret.
A typical in-person first semester language course will generally help the students achieve an ACTFL proficiency level of “novice high” for listening/speaking, and “novice mid” for reading/writing.

A second semester language course will generally help the students achieve an ACTFL proficiency level of “intermediate low” for listening/speaking and “novice high” for reading/writing.
What about an online ASL class?
I'm finding that my students, after two semesters are achieving an ACTFL proficiency level of “intermediate low” for receptive skills and a "novice high" for expressive skills.  This corresponds to the increased emphasis on receptive skills during the instruction process.
To legitimately interpret ASL, I would recommend at least a level of "Advanced-High."  This would require several years of study (around 600 instructional contact hours) and many hundreds of hours of practice. 

As far as the ASLU certificate of completion goes it is simply a piece of paper that states you have successfully completed an ASL course. Go here for an example:  transcript.
My online courses can certainly help you in your efforts to become an interpreter but to become good enough to get certified you will most likely need to enroll in an actual Interpreter Training Program.
Dr. Vicars

A student named Garrick asked:  Is ASL University Accredited?
Dr. Bill Vicars' Response:  My wife tells me I'm "certifiable." 
(Ahem. That's an old reference to being "certifiably crazy" for those of you too young to catch that joke.)  ASL University is not accredited by any government agency that I know of. 
I hold a doctorate from an accredited university (Lamar U, in Beaumont, TX).

Let me give you some perspective:

ASL "University" was set up in 1997 as a resource for my students.  It was a website ( that served as a textbook for a chatroom based ASL course offered through AOL.

Back then the idea of an "actual" university being online was so rare and new as to be silly.  People saw the name "ASL University" and knew that it was just a clever name for some sort of ASL learning resource site, but they never thought, "Wow! Getting an ASL degree online! That's amazing! I wonder if they are accredited?"

Well, time marched on and before long many real universities DID start showing up on the net.  These days it is expected that a University have an online presence.  People started emailing me--asking how to register, asking how much tuition was, asking if ASLU was accredited.

Quite honestly, I'm not seeking "accreditation" for ASLU.  Maybe someday.  For now this site serves as an online curriculum resource used by various instructors. ASLU derives its credibility from me, not some outside source.
Dr. Bill

(William G. Vicars, Ed.D.)

Also see:  Equivalency: Classroom Contact Hours


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