American Sign Language & Interpreter Preparation

School of Liberal Arts

About the Program

Bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing worlds in the American Sign Language Program. Upon completing the program, graduates will have a broad understanding of the types and scope of support services available to deaf persons as well as extensive knowledge of deaf culture. The program prepares graduates to facilitate communication between deaf and hearing people using English and American Sign Language.

The curriculum includes proficiency courses, conferences, and practicums, as well as general education classes related to this field. Courses cover basic linguistics, an introduction to deaf culture, psychology and sociology, and composition and rhetoric. Acquire skills in cross-cultural communication and quick decision making during instant translation. SFCC’s Sign Language Interpreting Lab facilitates classes and gives you the opportunity to work on and improve your ASL and interpreting skills according to your personal schedule.

The American Sign Language Interpreting Program offers a certificate of completion which builds into an associate degree with an emphasis on educational and community settings. While earning your degree, you should be aware of the additional regulations and licensure for New Mexico and the United States.

Registry of the Interpreters of the Deaf (RID) regulations

In 2012, applicants who are hearing will be required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in order to be considered a candidate for certification while applicants who are deaf will be required to have a minimum of an associate degree. In 2016, applicants who are deaf will be required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. This is due to interpreting clients requiring that their interpreters be nationally certified. Visit the RID website.

While RID does not require an interpreting major in order to take the test, it is strongly recognized that earning a degree in interpreting will better prepare you better for entering the field. Completing the interpreting program at SFCC is your head start to earning a bachelor degree through the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Highlands University or the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA).

Career Opportunities

  • Interpreting for colleges and public schools
  • Interpreting for non-profit and for-profit organizations
  • Interpreting on a freelance basis


  • Ability to work in changing environments
  • Capability to understand the cultural norms of diverse clients
  • Effective and sensitive cross-cultural communication
  • Knowledge of the structure and content of both English and American Sign Language
  • Fluency in two or more languages ›Knowledge of rules of composition and grammar
  • Ability to make decisions quickly ›Interpersonal relationships
  • Flexibility and adaptability in a variety of settings