Frequently Asked Questions

CPCC offers excellence in instruction and learning in Interpreter Education!

CPCC’s Interpreter Education program was one of the first programs in the country to be evaluated by the Conference of Interpreter Trainers and was approved as being in compliance with the National Interpreter Education Standards in 2001. Formal national accreditation was established by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE) in 2006 and CPCC is currently working toward obtaining that accreditation.

Note: For course sequencing reasons, it is NOT recommended that students with a desire to enter the Interpreting Degree program take summer ASL courses.

Note: Required CORE courses could be taken in the summer. For students receiving financial aid, this may not be advisable. Check with financial aid and speak to the ASL/Interpreting Department prior to registering for summer courses.

If I know ASL can I just go ahead and interpret anywhere?

You should know that the state of NC has very strict regulations regarding who may work as a sign language interpreter in exchange for compensation.  For community interpreters, these regulations are overseen by the NC Interpreters and Transliterators Licensing Board ( under NC General Statute 90-D which mandates that all interpreters working in community settings must be licensed by the State of NC to practice in the State.  For educational interpreters working in the K-12 setting, regulations are overseen by the NC Department of Public Instruction Office of Exceptional Children.  Interpreters working in these settings must pass the Educational Interpreters Performance Assessment at a level 3.0 or greater.

Interpreters with an AAS in interpreting may obtain a provisional license that may be renewed annually up to three times.  Interpreters must convert their provisional license to a full license prior to the expiration of the provisional license.  In order to convert from a provisional license to a full license, interpreters must become Nationally Certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID).  Starting in 2012, in order to sit for the national certification exam, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in any field of study or the equivalent of a BA degree as described in the RID Alternate Pathway.  So, it is important to know, if you wish to become a community interpreter, you are ultimately making a commitment to obtain a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent of 120 college level credit hours.  Some of our students work on their bachelor’s degree concurrently to studying in our Interpreter Education program.  Other students already have a bachelor’s degree when they enter the program and still others obtain their bachelor’s degree at other institutions after graduation from CPCC with an Associate's degree in interpreting.

Interpreters wishing to work in the Educational field K-12 do not, at the present time, need to have a bachelor’s degree.  However, they must pass an exam called the Educational Interpreters Performance Assessment (EIPA) with a level 3.0 or better.

How long will it take?

Once you have the requisite ASL skills and pass the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) at a level of intermediate or better, you will be able complete the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Interpreter Education in two years if you can attend class full-time.  ASL 111 and 112 are typically offered in the evenings and at multiple campuses to acomodate students taking ASL for modern language credit only. All other program courses are offered at the Cato Campus only and are offered during the daytime hours only because most interpreting co-op opportunities are available in the day time.  Thus the Interpreter Education Program is primarily a day-time program.  Once foundational ASL courses are completed, students attend the remainder of the interpreting program as a cohort in lockstep curriculum that typically requires them to be on campus all day for two days out of the week.  In their last year, students typically have work-based learning on the days they are not on campus taking course work.

I have taken ASL courses at another institution, may I skip some ASL classes?

We offer placement exams for students who have taken ASL at other colleges or universities.  We do not accept ASL classes from non-credit continuing education programs.  If you have been out of ASL classes for more than two consecutive terms (Fall, Spring, Summer), even if you took them at CPCC, we require that you take the placement exam to see if you are still at a level that will foster your success in the next level of ASL.

I grew up signing, can I simply bypass ASL classes and go straight into interpreting courses?

In order to place out of any ASL courses, you must have taken ASL at the collegiate credit earning level. Although you may have native signing skills, we find that for students wanting to major in Interpreting, skipping these foundational courses often leads to gaps in cultural/grammar knowledge of the language and we do not recommend bypassing them.

Do I have the needed qualifications to enter the program?

• A high school diploma or equivalent is required.

• CPCC placement tests are required in English, reading and mathematics.

• Students must take and pass ENG 111 with a grade of “C” or better, successfully pass a credit by exam, or transfer an ENG 111 equivalent course.

• Students must have an ASLPI (American Sign Language Proficiency Interview - Gallaudet): ASL rating of Level 2  or higher in order to major in the Interpreter Education program.(Note: Students achieving a Level 1 ASLPI rating may be interviewed and accepted provisionally into the program at the discretion of the faculty.

• Many courses have prerequisites or co-requisites; check the Course Descriptions section for details.

Students who have taken an ASL course from another college or university and wish to be placed in higher level of ASL courses may take an ASL placement test. Students who have not taken an ASL course in at least two consecutive terms must take the ASL placement test to see if they still have skills and knowledge that will foster success in the next level ASL course.

A student must receive a final grade of “C” or higher in all ASL, IPP, or WBL courses in order to receive credit for that course toward an Interpreter Education A.A.S. (A55300) degree.

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