Sign language interpreting is a fascinating, challenging and rapidly expanding field that offers an endless variety of opportunities and rich linguistic and cultural experiences. With more than 1,100 Deaf and hard-of-hearing students and 17,000 hearing students on campus, and more than 100 Deaf and hard-of-hearing faculty and staff members, RIT provides you with a unique environment and excellent opportunities to increase your knowledge of cultures and enhance your English, American Sign Language, and interpreting skills.
Guided by a strong commitment to the language and culture of Deaf people, the Department of American Sign Language and Interpreting Education at NTID provides a rigorous program of study to a diverse group of learners. The department of ASLIE offers two programs: the ASL/English Interpretation Program and the American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Program.
The department of ASLIE:
Explores and celebrates American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Culture;
Promotes respect for Deaf people’s right to full communication access;
Cultivates a commitment to life-long learning;
Fosters respect for diversity among people;
Provides practical education for application in the professional world of work
Sign language interpreting is a fascinating, challenging, and rapidly expanding field that offers an endless variety of opportunities and rich linguistic and cultural experiences.
Sign language interpreters bridge the communication gap between people who don't share a common language. They are highly skilled professionals who must be able to ascertain the meaning of a speaker’s message in one language and communicate that intended meaning to an audience that doesn’t share the same language and culture as the speaker.
They can work in a wide variety of settings: business, educational, medical, legal, government or social service agencies, religious, video relay or performing arts.
Interpreters are highly skilled in facilitating communication between languages.
The Deaf cultural studies-American Sign Language certificate offers deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing students the opportunity to understand the deaf community as an entity unto itself and within the context of society as a whole.
The non-credit "Certificate in Educational Interpreting" (CEI) program is taught exclusively online and will run from September-May. CEI provides specialized professional development to ASL-English interpreters working in educational settings, and employs innovative teaching by experts in Deaf education and educational interpreting.
The non-credit "Certificate in Healthcare Interpreting" (CHI) program is taught exclusively online and will run from September – May. CHI provides specialized professional development to ASL/English interpreters in the area of healthcare interpreting, and employs innovative teaching by nationally recognized healthcare experts combined with practical application within healthcare environments.
The non-credit "Certificate in Deaf Interpreting" (CIDI) program is delivered using an online blended format with two-thirds of instruction occurring synchronously in Zoom and one-third completed asynchronously online. The 20-week CIDI program runs from September to April and trains Deaf professionals to interpret in a variety of discourses: educational, international, legal, medical, mental health, business, and government settings. The CIDI program helps prepare participants for the Center for Assessment of Sign Language Interpretation’s Deaf Interpreter Writing and Performance exams.
ASL is a visual language used by thousands of people in the United States and parts of Canada. It’s the third-most studied language in colleges and universities across the country.
Benefits of Learning ASL
You’ll learn to communicate with friends, clients and customers who use ASL.
You’ll expand your horizons, learning the rich culture of the American Deaf community.
You’ll enhance your cognitive skills, including visual-perceptual skills and spatial reasoning skills.
If you’re a kinesthetic or visual learner, you will really enjoy learning ASL!
ASL could satisfy a foreign language credit.
Learning ASL could lead to a new career opportunity, such as working in a setting that serves deaf clients, in education, or interpreting.
The National Technical Institute for the Deaf is the largest technological college for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the world, and is one of the nine colleges at RIT. Faculty in NTID’s American Sign Language & Interpreting Education Department teach the ASL courses. All of our American Sign Language classes are taught by Deaf faculty members who are certified by the American Sign Language Teachers Association, and all of our interpreting instructors are certified as sign language interpreters by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and are active in the Conference of Interpreter Trainers.
NTID has been offering sign language classes and programs for more than 40 years and delivering online courses since 2014. Credit obtained from taking this course may be transferrable to other colleges.
Who is eligible?
Online ASL classes are open to degree-seeking students and non-degree seeking students.