American Sign Language

Overview of American Sign Language Postsecondary Programs

American Sign Language college and university programs teach you about communication forms used to converse with people who have hearing impairments or with people who are deaf.  If you plan on working as a teacher at a school for deaf students, taking the courses may be a graduation prerequisite. Core courses associated with American Sign Language postsecondary programs include Visual Gestural Communication, Finger Spelling and Number Use, Introduction to the Deaf Community and Culture, Structural American Sign Language and Translation and Interpretation. Furthermore, American Sign Language college and university programs are accredited by organizations like the National Council of Teacher Accreditation and the American Occupational Therapy Association, Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.

American Sign Language Classes and Learned Skills

Non-verbal communications, improved writing and enhanced abilities to read body language are types of skills you can gain when you enroll in American Sign Language programs at accredited colleges and universities. Other skills you can acquire from the programs are reasoning, human understanding, interpretation and cognitive thinking skills. You also gain an awareness of the deaf culture, including challenges deaf children and adults face.

Levels of Education Available for American Sign Language

Degree and non-degree programs are available to you as an American Sign Language student. For example, as an American Sign Language major you can earn undergraduate and graduate degrees such as an Associate’s of Arts in Interpreting, a Bachelor of Arts in Interpreting with a concentration American Sign Language or a in Master of Interpreting with a concentration in American Sign Language. Certificate and diploma programs are types of non-degree programs you can take at accredited colleges and universities. Some of these programs are an American Sign Language Certificate or an American Sign Language Diploma. Furthermore, during your college years and after you graduate with degrees, you can receive ongoing training and job placement support from organizations such as the National Association of the Deaf, the American Association of the Deaf-Blind and the American Society for Deaf Children.

Outlook for Careers in American Sign Language

In addition to working as a special education teacher, you can work as an interpreter, occupational therapist, tutor, speech therapist, counselor, coach or interpreter after you graduate from accredited American Sign Language programs. Types of employers you can work for include schools, television stations, major motion picture movie houses and advertising agencies. For example, you can work as a special education school teacher or as an actress performing sign language to communicate advertising material to audiences who are hearing impaired or deaf. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of May 2008, median annual salaries interpreters and translators earned were $38,850. Furthermore, jobs for interpreters and translators are expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 through 2018.

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