Sign Language Studies Career Overview - Southwestern Illinois College

Job Description

Sign Language Interpreters
  • Work in a variety of settings from schools, hospitals, businesses, courts, etc.
  • Love language
  • Understand the cultures in which they work
  • Promote effective cross-cultural communications
  • Recognize and adapt to the variations in language usage that exist between the deaf and non-deaf communities
  • Clearly relay concepts and ideas between Deaf and non-Deaf groups and individuals
  • Are flexible, outgoing, and feel comfortable in front of a group
  • Relate effectively to the public and have a command of the English language
Career Resources

Visit the SWIC Career Activities and Employment Center for information on career exploration and mentoring.

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf website provides career and certification information.

Refer to the US Department of Labor website for additional career information: Occupational Information Network (O*Net) and the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Career Opportunities

Sign language interpreters are employed in a wide variety of areas, including:
  • Education
  • Religious events
  • Medical facilities
  • Social Services
  • Government
  • Court systems
  • Video Relay Interpreting services
  • Private businesses
  • Performing arts events
  • Legal offices
Career Outlook

There is a wealth of employment opportunities in the field of interpreting. There is high demand for interpreters in various settings, both locally and nationally. Interpreters may work for an agency or be self-employed.

Sign Language interpreting is a rapidly expanding field, with employment of interpreters and translators projected to increase 46 percent over the 2012-2022 decade. This is much faster than the average for all occupations. A shortage of interpreters and translators meeting the desired skill level of employers means that interpreters for the deaf will continue to have favorable employment prospects.

The settings an interpreter may work in are based on the skill level attained on the national certification exam and/or state regulations regarding practice as an interpreter. Graduates of the Associate in Applied Science degree will be prepared for entry-level, paraprofessional interpreting positions.


Hourly Wages

Interpreters earn between $30 and $75 per hour. Wages vary depending on the type and location of the interpreting assignment.

Part-Time Employment

There are numerous part-time opportunities for employment in the performing arts, religious services and events. Wages vary depending on the type and location of the interpreting assignment.