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FAQs

The UNM Signed Language Interpreting program accepts applications to the program each year in the spring. Candidates are accepted into the program after a personal interview with program faculty. Each year we accept approximately 15 new majors into the program.

You should contact the program director, Dr. Barbara Shaffer, for more information. A complete application packet is available from the program specialist.

Please note our new policy: Effective June 2013, students are permitted a maximum of two attempts to apply and interview for acceptance to the major in Signed Language Interpreting. Students are strongly encouraged to apply for the program as soon as they have completed the pre-requisites (English 102, SIGN 201, SIGN 210, SIGN 212 and be eligible to transfer to the College of Arts & Sciences).

No. The program has a strong commitment to preparing the best possible interpreters, and we believe that students in the program are not ready to be working interpreters. In order to maintain the integrity of our program curriculum, and to ensure that the deaf community has only the best qualified interpreters, we ask that our students do not work as interpreters until they have successfully graduated from the program. See our policy on student interpreting for more information.

Yes. Students interested in transferring from other universities, or from AA-degree programs, should contact our program director, Dr. Barbara Shaffer, for more information.

Our program has an outstanding history of preparing entry level interpreters who are ready to take and successfully pass the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf written examination. Our graduates also go on to pass RID and state certification examinations.

Since the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1964, the Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the job market for qualified interpreters has witnessed tremendous growth. The many interpreter referral centers across the country report an ever-expanding need for signed language interpreters. Many career opportunities await interpreters in public schools and higher education. There is also a demand for professionals with signed skills in other fields — counselors, teachers, linguists, speech and hearing professionals, anthropologists, psychologists, and others.

Our students are highly successful in obtaining employment. Graduates for the Signed Language Interpreting Program have found jobs as freelance interpreters, educational interpreters, and as full-time interpreters in the public and private sector. Educational agencies across the country routinely recruit our graduates. A new and exciting market for our interpreters is Video Relay Service (VRS) and Video Relay Interpreting (VRI).

Because our program confers a baccalaureate degree, graduates often go on to obtain graduate degrees in other fields. Several of our former students now hold Masters and doctoral degrees. We even have graduates who have gone on to medical school and are now practicing physicians.