Moraine Valley offers two American Sign Language (ASL) programs: Deaf Studies and Interpretation. The Deaf Studies program focuses on entry-level basics to communication in ASL and understanding of the Deaf community. This two-semester program is designed for individuals who have a need for these skills, but do not intend to become an interpreter.

Students interested in becoming an interpreter must begin with the Deaf Studies program before applying to the Sign Language Interpretation program, which has a selective admission process. This program provides students with knowledge, skills and practical experience to become successfully employed as interpreters.

Becoming an interpreter involves more than just signing. This job requires accurately conveying messages between two different languages — spoken language and sign language. Students will experience diverse learning environments beyond the classroom. Graduates will have a broad understanding of the support services available to Deaf persons as well as extensive knowledge of Deaf culture. They also will be prepared to take the state interpreter credentialing test and work as an entry-level interpreter or continue their studies at a four-year institution. Professional ASL interpreters develop their skills through extensive training and practice over time.

The ASL Deaf Studies Certificate is designed to develop skills in American Sign Language to provide students with a strong foundation to enter professions that provide services to the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing communities. Certificate completion will also provide a path to entry into the American Sign Language Interpretation Program which has selective enrollment.

This program serves students who are pursuing employment working with the deaf and deafblind community and/or entering the American Sign Language Interpreting field. Specifically, this certificate will benefit students who are interested in learning American Sign Language to communicate with family, friends, colleagues, and community members, and/or work with the deaf/deafblind/hard-of-hearing community as an interpreter in a wide variety of settings. As a two-year certificate program, this program may also benefit students who are interested in transferring to a four-year institution to complete a bachelor's degree in sign language interpretation, deaf studies, or deaf education.

Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 20% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth reflects increasing globalization and a more diverse U.S. population, which is expected to require more interpreters and translators.

Demand will likely remain strong for translators of frequently translated languages, such as French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Demand also should be strong for translators of Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages; for the principal Asian languages including Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, and Korean; and for the indigenous languages from Mexico and Central America such as Mixtec, Zapotec, and Mayan languages.

Demand for American Sign Language interpreters is expected to grow due to the increasing use of video relay services, which allow people to conduct online video calls and use a sign language interpreter.

In addition, growing international trade and broadening global ties should require more interpreters and translators, especially in emerging markets such as Asia and Africa. The ongoing need for military and national security interpreters and translators should result in more jobs as well.

Computers have made the work of translators and localization specialists more efficient. However, many of these jobs cannot be entirely automated, because computers cannot yet produce work comparable to the work that human translators do in most cases.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics

The ASL Interpretation program has special admission requirements and requires a separate application that you can download here

To be eligible for acceptance, students must:

  • have completed a Moraine Valley college application and completed new student orientation
  • complete and submit the ASL Interpretation application to the Program Coordinator-Shelley Engstrom-Kestel,
  • fulfill English requirements by :
    • successful completion (or currently enrolled in COM 101) with a grade of “C” or better
    • having previous college-level English composition credit with a grade of “C” or better
  • completion of an English Proficiency Assessment within 6 months of applying to the Sign Language Interpretation Program. (The score given will be
    used to determine if additional coursework is required prior to or while in the program.) The English Proficiency Assessment will be administered by the ASL Interpretation Department.
  •  have completed the ASL deaf studies certificate at Moraine Valley or been enrolled in a college-level American Sign Language Program within the past 12 months.  Applicants who do not meet this requirement will need
    to be evaluated and approved for acceptance.
  • have completed the following courses with a grade of C is required.
    • If you are currently enrolled in any of these courses, you must submit your current grade from your instructor with your application:
      • ASL 100 - Visual Gestural Communication
      • ASL 101 - American Sign Language I
      • ASL 102 - American Sign Language II
      • ASL 103 - American Sign Language III
      • ASL 201 - American Sign Language IV
      • ASL 110 - Deaf Culture and History
      • ASL 111 - Career Exploration: Working in the Deaf Community
      • ASL 114 - Fingerspelling and Numbers
      • ASL 121 - Linguistics of ASL
      • ASL 122 - Classifiers in ASL
  • submit official sealed high school transcripts or a high school equivalency certificate. Current transcript must show either the graduation date or the ongoing student status. The high school equivalency certificate must show passing scores.
    If you are a current student at Moraine Valley, please submit a copy of your unofficial transcripts with your application. If you are attending or have attended any other college-level institutions and would like that information evaluated towards your admission to the program, please contact the other attended institutions and request official transcripts. Official transcripts can be sent through Parchment electronically or mailed directly to:
    Moraine Valley Community College, Attn: B101 American Sign Language Lab
    9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, IL 60465

Program Details

Program NameType of CredentialCurriculum CodeDepartment or Division
Deaf StudiesCertificate1469Communications, Foreign Languages and Literature
Sign Language InterpretationCertificate1369Communications, Foreign Languages and Literature


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Konnor Parrish (Oak Lawn), shared his educational journey while on a panel for the Illinois Project Lead the Way meeting.


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