• American Sign Language(ASL)-English Interpretation Program
  • American Sign Language(ASL)-English Interpretation Program (AEIP)

  • Become an ASL-English interpreter in LaGuardia’s nationally recognized program and earn a Bachelor's Degree or a professional certificate.

    Apply now for Fall 2017.

  • The ASL-English Interpretation Program (AEIP) is a Bachelor’s level program offered in collaboration with senior institution SUNY/Empire State College. AEIP is a rigorous two-year academic program that prepares selected individuals who are fluent in ASL to become ASL-English interpreters, with a special focus on interpreting in educational settings.

    AEIP serves interpreting students from all over the New York tristate area and is above the national average in student diversity within interpreting programs, reflecting the diverse populations of the Deaf community.

    We are dedicated to developing skilled ASL-English Interpreters who:

    • make thoughtful interpreting decisions with confidence
    • can produce processed interpretations fluently
    • are self-reflective, able to identify their strengths and challenges, as well as their role in the communities they serve
    • are independent, life-long learners

    Evening courses enable working students to maintain their professional status while attending classes. However, service learning and interpreting field work experiences require some daytime commitment.  


    Interpreting I - This course will provide you with practice of requisite skills and process tasks needed for interpretation. Focus will primarily be on intralingual language exercises including shadowing, prediction and anticipation, memory enhancement, text analysis for goal and main points, and paraphrasing. You will be exposed to process models and descriptions–CIT, Colonomos, Isham, Selekovitch, etc.–and will begin to apply them to observed interpretations. Exercises will be conducted in both English and American Sign Language. Prerequisites: competency screening and acceptance into the program.

    Service Learning I - Through field experience, you will actively provide service in community-based organizations that require the use of American Sign Language (ASL). In this course you are offered a reciprocal opportunity to acquire knowledge and develop skills, while being of assistance to the Deaf Community. Seminar sessions foster reflective, critical and creative thinking in relation to your field experience.

    Introduction to the Field of Interpreting - This course is an introduction to the field of American Sign Language English Interpretation. In addition to topics concerning the role, function, and skills required of an interpreter, you will be exposed to cross-cultural issues affecting interpreters; examine current trends in research and the advancement of the field; and explore the various arenas in which interpreters work. Prerequisite: competency screening and acceptance into the program.
    Interpreting II - This class will provide you with an introduction to theories of interpreting and translation. Through readings, class discussion, journal writing and hands-on translation practice, you will explore and apply these theories to your own translated works in both target languages: American Sign Language and English. Through readings and source materials that are multi-culturally generated, you will explore and investigate how culture, power relations and context can influence translations. Pre-requisite: Interpreting I.

    Service Learning II - Gain additional field experience by providing service in community-based organizations that require the use of American Sign Language (ASL). You will have new opportunities to acquire knowledge and develop skills while being of assistance to the Deaf Community. Seminar sessions foster reflective, critical and creative thinking in relation to your field experience. Prerequisites: Service Learning I and Introduction to the Field of Interpreting.

    Language in Use - In this course you will discuss a variety of language issues, both at the individual and societal levels. At the individual level, you will explore the ways language affects interactions between people-women and men, members of different racial and ethnic groups, people of differing social or economic status. At the societal level, you'll focus on the growth and spread of languages, multilingualism, language planning, and English as a world language. Pre-requisite: Introduction to the Field of Interpreting.
    Interpreting III - This hands-on course will provide in-depth study and practice of ASL-English interpretation through the understanding and use of the consecutive mode of interpreting. You will further develop requisite skills, such as text analysis, mind-mapping/visualization, multi-tasking strategies, prediction and anticipation, and identification of "functionally meaningful units" (chunks). You will deepen your understanding of three models of interpreting: Cokely, Colonomos and Gish. And you will be exposed to process management skills and enhance your use of tools for self-analysis and peer feedback. Pre-requisites: Interpreting II and Language in Use. Co-requisite: Interpreting III Internship.

    Service Learning III - Gain additional field experience by providing service in community-based organizations that require the use of American Sign Language (ASL). You will have new opportunities to acquire knowledge and develop skills while being of assistance to the Deaf Community. Seminar sessions foster reflective, critical and creative thinking in relation to your field experience.Prerequisites: Service Learning II.

    ASL Discourse - Gain an understanding of discourse by recognizing features of discourse used in ASL such as register, spatial mapping, rhetorical analysis, involvement and interaction strategies, coherence and cohesion, and enhancing your own use of ASL through incorporation of those features. Discourse features in English will be discussed and compared with those of ASL. Multicultural discourse styles will be sampled, and you will analyze how knowledge of discourse affects your work as an interpreter. Pre-requisite: Language in Use.
    Interpreting IV - This hands-on course will provide in-depth study and practice of ASL-English interpretation through the understanding and use of the consecutive mode of interpreting and transitioning to the simultaneous mode. You will build skills and knowledge through continued study and practice of text analysis, visualization, process management skills, and tools for self-analysis and peer feedback. Prerequisite: Interpreting III & ASL Discourse.

    Interpreting IV Internship (50 hours) - You will observe certified interpreters in various interpreting settings. You will spend a minimum of 25 of these hours in an ongoing field placement and the remaining hours in various settings. You'll focus on pre-identified aspects of interpretation at each session and afterwards will discuss your observations and questions with the professional interpreters. And you will also consider settings in which interpreters work with a view towards your own career choices. Co-requisite: Interpreting IV.

    Ethics and Decision Making for Interpreters - This course will provide an exploration of the personal ethics and values that influence the decision-making process. You will explore decision-making in interpreting from cultural and socio-political perspectives. You will also examine moral considerations and ethical systems; address power relationships between the non-deaf interpreter and the Deaf community; and incorporate your impact in functioning as facilitators of communication. You'll use case studies to explore issues, make recommendations, and discuss the consequences of each decision. Prerequisites: Interpreting III and ASL Discourse
    Interpreting V - This hands-on course provides further in-depth study and practice of ASL-English interpretation through the understanding and use of the simultaneous mode of interpreting. You will focus on both individual and team interpreting. You will compare transliteration and interpretation and practice transliteration. You will review the business of interpretation and the settings in which interpreters work, as they prepare to begin working in the field. Deaf individuals will be invited to class to participate as the "audience" for interpreting practice. And you will continue to do self-analysis and hone your skills and independent learning techniques. Prerequisites: Interpreting IV and Ethics and Decision-Making, Co-requisite: Interpreting V Internship.

    Interpreting in Educational Settings - Explore the ramifications of interpreting in the educational setting in order to address service provision for mainstream students who are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing. Topics include: history and laws that affect educational interpreting, cognitive and linguistic development (both first and second language acquisition), language in education, roles and skills of educational specialist, and the impact of classroom variables on accessibility and interpretability. Students will have opportunity to analyze a variety of real classroom environments. Guest speakers, with expertise in K-12 settings as interpreters and service coordinators, will also be included. Sessions: 12 (3 hours each) Pre-requisites: Interpreting IV, Ethics and Decision Making for Interpreters, or permission of instructor.

    Interpreting VI - Interpreting VI is the capstone class in the ASL Interpreting program sequence. This course gives you opportunities to refine your skills and abilities in transacting meaning across the ASL-English continuum. When you complete this course you will have demonstrated the ability to work at the entry-level in the field of ASL Interpreting. Prerequisites: Interpreting V and Ethics and Decision-making.

    Deaf Education in Bilingual Communities - Explore the fundamentals of general, special and bilingual education and how they are infused into Deaf education. Become familiar with current trends, issues and research in Deaf education, including historic and current objectives, techniques and results. Cultural, historical, philosophical, psychological, linguistic and social aspects of the Deaf community will also be addressed from an educational perspective.

    Interpreting VI Internship - Internship seminar sessions will provide an arena for discussing your experiences in terms of analyzing and evaluating interpreting strategies; examining theoretical and practical issues in interpretation; grappling with ethical considerations; and incorporating learning into your own work. The supervisor from your ongoing field placement will complete an evaluation form regarding workplace skills, interpreting potential, and performance.

    Become an ASL-English Interpreter - we have an educational option that’s right for you.

    If you have an Associate's Degree (or its equivalent in college credits) and are accepted into the AEIP, you may elect to earn a Bachelor Degree in Educational Studies: ASL-English Interpretation jointly through a partnership between AEIP and the State University of New York – Empire State College (SUNY-ESC). AEIP at CUNY/LaGuardia would satisfy the required upper division "concentration credits" for this bachelor degree, and any additional general credits would be taken at SUNY-ESC.

    The AEIP prepares you for the national certification, a separate process accomplished through the interpreting field’s professional organization, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). You must take and pass the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) Knowledge Exam before the AEIP graduation, making you eligible to sit for the RID NIC Performance Exam.

    If you…
    • are already fluent in ASL and English
    • have interacted regularly with the Deaf community for at least two years AND
    • have a Bachelor Degree or above

    Then you are eligible to apply to the ASL-English Interpretation Program (AEIP) for the Professional Certificate. Upon successful completion of the AEIP, you will receive a certificate attesting to this accomplishment. The AEIP prepares you for the national certification, a separate process accomplished through the interpreting field’s professional organization, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID).You must take and pass the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) Knowledge Exam before the AEIP graduation, making you eligible to sit for the RID NIC Performance Exam.

    If you've been studying ASL formally for at least two years and regularly interact with the Deaf community, you may benefit from our Advanced ASL I and Advanced ASL II courses prior to apllying to AEIP.

    If you're just starting out or have less than two years of ASL experience, please contact Pacts Cartagna at pcarlson@lagcc.cuny.edu to learn about the Continuing Education ASL classes LaGuardia offers.

    If you do not hold an Associate Degree (or it's equivalent in college credits), you may be interested in LaGuardia's Associate Degree in Deaf Studies. You may learn ASL and earn your Associate's Degree at the same time! Pre-Interpreting and Continuing Education ASL courses as well as the Associate's Degree in Deaf Studies will better prepare you to qualify for the ASL-English Interpretation Program.


    Primarily, graduates attain positions working as interpreters in K-12 settings. However, a Bachelor's Degree or Professional Certificate from the ASL-English Interpretation Program, a nationally respected interpreter education program, opens the door to many opportunities to work with deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing individuals.

    • Higher Education
    • Social Services
    • Conferences
    • The Arts
    • Medical/Mental Health Field
    • Legal
    • Politics or Government

    You may be employed by an organization or act as an independent contractor, allowing you to take advantage of numerous freelance opportunities in part-time or full-time capacities.


    The ASL-English Interpretation Program features a state a state-of-the-art Multimedia Interpreting/Language Lab. The lab is fully digital and completely custom designed, with pull-out privacy panels, soundproof surfacing, and lighting. This technology also allows students to:

    • practice interpreting from ASL to spoken English and from spoken English to ASL
    • watch/listen to a video, pause to record, then continue with the video
    • watch/listen and record simultaneously
    • edit videos
    • create/maintain ePortfolios
    • access the Internet
    • submit assignments electronically


    The ASL-English Interpretation Program is partially funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Tuition assistance may be available to students accepted into the program* but may choose to waive it.

    If U.S. Department of Education grant funding is available towards payment of the program, you are required to fulfill a “Service Obligation” to provide service to children and youth in educational settings.

    The Personnel Development Program Data Collection Center (DCC) oversees the process of tracking Service Obligations for the U.S. Department of Education. Click here to review the PDP DCC FAQs as well as federal regulations information.

    The current projected total out of pocket cost of the ASL-English Interpretation Program is approximately $17,342.

    *Grant supported students must provide documentation of U.S. citizenship or eligibility to legally receive federal funding assistance.

  • FAQ

    Interpreting between two spoken languages, like English and Spanish, requires that you already be fluent in both and comfortable using them in the context of two distinct cultures. Interpreting between ASL and English is no different. Learning ASL first provides the base of fluency that will be required in order to successfully begin the study of ASL-English Interpretation, the ability to extract meaning from a message expressed in one language and produce equivalent meaning in the other language. Many interpretation programs include the study of ASL as a part of their program. At LaGuardia, we have found that students who are already fluent in both languages are better prepared to develop the interpreting skills and knowledge that will enable them to serve their consumers well and garner the respect of their professional colleagues.
    The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires the provision of qualified interpreters in a variety of settings. One important measure of an interpreter's qualifications is professional credentials. Credentials are obtained by taking and passing a knowledge and skills assessment. The National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) provides testing for national certification. In some states, a state agency offers a Quality Assurance (QA) assessment and the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA). Though New York State does not have such a credentialing system, LaGuardia's ASL-English Interpretation Program aims to prepare its graduates to take and pass these aforementioned skills assessments. Only then can our graduates be considered qualified or certified interpreters.
    Sign language interpretation is a rapidly expanding field. There is a great need for qualified interpreters with credentials. Interpreters are employed by schools, government agencies, and private businesses. They may work in medical, legal, political, theatrical, and many other arenas. Part time, full time, freelance, and salaried positions are available in New York and across the country. Many of our graduates work with interpreter referral agencies as freelance interpreters. This offers them flexibility in hours and job settings.
    Salaries will vary depending on many factors. These include education, amount of experience, credentials, and geographical area (New York City is one of the highest paying areas). Some interpreters work for a school system, agency, business, or government organization and have a guaranteed salary and fringe benefits. Others work freelance, generally at higher hourly rates of pay, but without benefits. In either case, there is a lot of demand for good interpreters, and it is a viable and satisfying way to earn a living. You may want to call interpreter referral agencies and school systems to get specific information about the area of interpreting that interests you.
    The Bachelor's level AEIP is tow years or six trimesters long. However, the Bachelor Degree with SUNY/Empire State College track takes longer, depending on your individual college history. Applications are accepted once a year in the spring, and classes start the following fall. The courses are sequential and build one upon the other.
    Our classes are held during the Fall, Winter, and Spring trimesters, 2 – 3 evenings per week. Most courses are three hours long and meet once a week. In addition, there are three internships throughout the course of the program, some of which take place during daytime hours. Most courses are held at LaGuardia Community College, although some are held in Manhattan.
    The program curriculum does not include required summer coursework. However, some pre- and post-program courses are offered in the summer.
    Since the program has a focus on educational settings, all students have the opportunity to gain exposure to and specialize in this area. In addition, in your internships you will experience a variety of interpreting settings. However, these specialty areas require skills and training beyond general interpreting. You must first develop strong general skills in interpreting. Later, through workshops, courses, and mentoring available around the country, you can build upon the general skills you gained at LaGuardia and specialize in specific areas of interpreting.
    If you have taken upper division (bachelor degree level) courses in another interpretation program, we will look at the contact and depth of your prior coursework to see if it is a reasonable substitute for a course in our program. If so, you will not be required to take that specific course. For your general education courses, SUNY-Empire State College will review your transcript. Empire State College accepts course transfers from any accredited college or university in the country. There is no specific limitation on how long ago the courses were taken, as long as the course content remains relevant. Empire State College may also allocate advanced standing credit for other types of experiential learning.
  • Contact Us

    Contact Us

    Vanessa Watson, Administrative Assistant

    (718) 482-5313
    (917) 832-1207(VP)


    In person
    29-10 Thomson Avenue, Room C203
    Long Island City, NY 11101

    Apply Now

    Apply Now

    Applications for the ASL-English Interpretation Program are accepted once a year. The deadline is July 25th.

    The application process consists of two parts:

    1. Pre-Screening Application
    • A complete Application Form online, or paper format.
    • Official college transcript
    • Essay (detailed description can be found on Application Form above)
    • Two “letters” of reference (detailed description can be found on Application Form above)
    • Videos of yourself signing ASL and speaking English (detailed description can be found on Application Form)
    • $50 application fee
    Selected pre-screening applicants will advance to Part 2 of the application process.

    2. Admission Screening
    • On-site reading and writing exercise
    • Live panel interview
    • $35 screening fee
    Successful applicants will be admitted to the program!