American Sign Language
What Is American Sign Language?
People who know American Sign Language are able to help hearing-impaired and deaf people to “hear” through watching hand movements. Knowing how to Sign and how to read Signing can open up communications to people who would not otherwise be able to participate. Learning Sign Language is like learning a foreign language—learning the vocabulary and some special techniques for expanding the language and then practicing communicating, followed by expanding your knowledge as you move through several courses of study. With a Bachelor’s degree in ASL you can be certified to work as an Interpreter of ASL in most any school setting—kindergarten through college, in special ed at a public school, or at a school that specializes in educating deaf students—working directly with deaf or hearing-impaired students; or you may be an Interpreter for a public agency or community organization that makes presentations to groups of people, some of whom may be deaf.
You can also obtain an Associate’s degree in the field and qualify for some positions, although the Bachelor’s degree is often preferred by employers, primarily because you’ll need the Bachelor’s to qualify for certification in many geographical areas. Some professionals in other fields like psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, or even police officers, who may not have degrees in ASL but know sign language, can enhance their effectiveness in their work. Some ASL Interpreters also work with deaf-blind students using tactile methods of sign language. Positions are becoming more common for ASL Interpreters who work out of their homes on their computers, interpreting for students in real time. Job titles that you will find in this field are American Sign Language Interpreter – Work from Home, Sign Language Interpreter, Telecommute Sign Language Interpreter, Sign Language Teacher to Babies, Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)-interpreter for The Deaf, Video Relay Service (VRS) Interpreter, Community Interpreter, and Educational Sign Language Interpreter.