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Sign Language Interpreter Careers

Like other interpreters, sign language interpreters are responsible for fostering communication and understanding between two parties. These professionals work with the deaf or hearing impaired by translating what's been said into sign language. Sign language interpreters can work for TV stations, courtrooms, doctor's offices, and individuals.



A sign language interpreter understands the language spoken well enough to communicate to the relevant audience. The job can be challenging because they have to accommodate for words and phrases that don't necessarily translate.

Sometimes, sign language interpreters have to do research ahead of time when interpreting complicated or technical discussions. They may refer to dictionaries, encyclopedias, or other reliable sources to convey the proper meaning.

To become a sign language interpreter, you need a degree or vocational training. Some universities offer sign language as a foreign language option.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a sign language interpreter. For example, did you know that they make an average of $20.73 an hour? That's $43,112 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 19% and produce 14,600 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Sign Language Interpreter Do

There are certain skills that many sign language interpreters have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed business skills, cultural sensitivity and dexterity.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a sign language interpreter, we found that a lot of resumes listed 18.8% of sign language interpreters included customer service, while 18.5% of resumes included asl, and 11.6% of resumes included communication. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the sign language interpreter job title. But what industry to start with? Most sign language interpreters actually find jobs in the education and non profits industries.

How To Become a Sign Language Interpreter

If you're interested in becoming a sign language interpreter, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 38.8% of sign language interpreters have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 11.5% of sign language interpreters have master's degrees. Even though most sign language interpreters have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a sign language interpreter. When we researched the most common majors for a sign language interpreter, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on sign language interpreter resumes include master's degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a sign language interpreter. In fact, many sign language interpreter jobs require experience in a role such as interpreter. Meanwhile, many sign language interpreters also have previous career experience in roles such as cashier or internship.

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Average Salary
$43,112
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
19%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
13,886
Job Openings

Sign Language Interpreter Career Paths

Top Careers Before Sign Language Interpreter

Cashier
9.3 %

Top Careers After Sign Language Interpreter

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Sign Language Interpreter

Sign Language Interpreters in America make an average salary of $43,112 per year or $21 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $63,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $29,000 per year.
Average Salary
$43,112

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Brentwood, NY
Salary Range41k - 71k$55k$54,853
Salinas, CA
Salary Range40k - 68k$52k$52,385
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range39k - 67k$52k$51,650
Hampton, VA
Salary Range38k - 65k$50k$50,054
Bend, OR
Salary Range38k - 62k$49k$49,410
Tacoma, WA
Salary Range37k - 59k$47k$46,961
$26k
$71k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Sign Language Interpreter (2Tssr21)
Sign Language Interpreter (2Tssr21)
Sc Department of Public Safety
Sc Department of Public Safety
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$73,04501/28/2021
$73,045
Substitute Sign Language Interpreter
Substitute Sign Language Interpreter
Dunlap Community Unit School
Dunlap Community Unit School
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$40,19601/27/2021
$40,196
Sign Language Interpreter
Sign Language Interpreter
Iowa Western Community College
Iowa Western Community College
01/24/2021
01/24/2021
$62,61001/24/2021
$62,610
Sign Language Interpreter Colorado Springs
Sign Language Interpreter Colorado Springs
Uc Health
Uc Health
01/23/2021
01/23/2021
$61,65001/23/2021
$61,650
Licensed Sign Language Interpreter
Licensed Sign Language Interpreter
State of North Carolina
State of North Carolina
01/16/2021
01/16/2021
$33,96001/16/2021
$33,960
See More Recent Salaries

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Sign Language Interpreter Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Sign Language Interpreter. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Sign Language Interpreter Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Sign Language Interpreter resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Sign Language Interpreter Demographics

Gender

female

68.0 %

male

25.0 %

unknown

7.0 %

Ethnicity

White

53.6 %

Hispanic or Latino

23.8 %

Asian

13.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.9 %

French

8.0 %

Chinese

4.8 %
See More Demographics

Sign Language Interpreter Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

38.8 %

Associate

28.3 %

Masters

11.5 %

Top Colleges for Sign Language Interpreters

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

2. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

3. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$13,226
Enrollment
31,568

4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

5. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

6. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

7. Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,453
Enrollment
4,312

8. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

9. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

10. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Public

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Sign Language Interpreter

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 18.8% of sign language interpreters listed customer service on their resume, but soft skills such as business skills and cultural sensitivity are important as well.

Best States For a Sign Language Interpreter

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a sign language interpreter. The best states for people in this position are New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Oregon. Sign language interpreters make the most in New York with an average salary of $54,224. Whereas in New Jersey and Maryland, they would average $51,935 and $51,340, respectively. While sign language interpreters would only make an average of $50,104 in Oregon, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. West Virginia

Total Sign Language Interpreter Jobs:
212
Highest 10% Earn:
$78,000
Location Quotient:
2.91
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Oregon

Total Sign Language Interpreter Jobs:
487
Highest 10% Earn:
$77,000
Location Quotient:
2.46
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Massachusetts

Total Sign Language Interpreter Jobs:
644
Highest 10% Earn:
$75,000
Location Quotient:
1.47
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Sign Language Interpreter Employers

1. Sorenson Communications
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$52,795
Sign Language Interpreters Hired: 
27+
2. Johns Hopkins Health Care
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$42,893
Sign Language Interpreters Hired: 
14+
3. Frederick County Public Schools
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$52,867
Sign Language Interpreters Hired: 
14+
4. CyraCom
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$52,477
Sign Language Interpreters Hired: 
13+
5. Purple Communications
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$34,381
Sign Language Interpreters Hired: 
10+
6. State of North Carolina
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$35,896
Sign Language Interpreters Hired: 
9+

Sign Language Interpreter Videos

Updated October 2, 2020