Sign Language Interpreter

Sign Language Interpreter

The OCC Sign Language Interpreter program is committed to providing you with a high-quality education in interpretation between American Sign Language and English through academic courses and community service activities.

Paving the way to an inclusive community

OCC was one of the first accredited Sign Language associate degrees in the nation. OCC's program was judged by The Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education under the same standards as a bachelor's degree program, including:

  • Curriculum design
  • Research requirements
  • More than 300 hours of mandated practicum experience

Our Mission Statement

The OCC Sign Language Interpreter program recognizes that language is a human right; that American Sign Language is a true language; and that individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind have the right to use the language of their choice. The foundational principles of the program include respect for:

  • Individuals
  • Inter-cultural competency
  • Academic and ethical integrity
  • Critical thinking
  • Professional Conduct
  • Effective communication and interpretation

A growing and flexible industry 

OCC’s Sign Language Interpreter degree (SLI) is a two-and-a-half-year program that will prepare you to take the state certification (BEI Board for evaluation for interpreters) and exams which you must pass to work as a certified interpreter in:

  • Educational, Medical, Legal and Governmental fields
  • VRS-Video Relaying Services
  • Community settings
  • Private Sector

Self-employed interpreters and translators frequently have flexible work schedules. Most interpreters and translators work full-time during regular business hours.  *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Market Outlook

Upcoming Sign Language Interpreter Events

Sign Language Interpreter Information Session
May 16, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM @ Virtual Event
Sign Language Interpreter Information Session
May 21, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Virtual Event

See all Sign Language Interpreter events


A supportive learning environment with you in mind

Your success is our top priority. Benefits of the SLI program are: 

  • Small class sizes
  • Student cohorts
  • Active faculty in the deaf community
  • Group-work and research projects
  • State boards assessment prep courses and resources

Fostering professional growth outside of the classroom

We provide you with opportunities that extend outside of the classroom, allowing you to build relationships in the community and grow your skills as an interpreter with real-world experience such as:  

  • Unique mentoring opportunities
  • Internship placements
  • Volunteering options
  • Student club networking
  • Participation at community events including but not limited to Comic Con, farmers markets, expos, library events and more. 
OCC offers a two-credit DeafBlind Interpreting course that can be applied to the DeafBlind Endorsement in the State of Michigan.
Did you know?

A versatile and rewarding profession 

After completion of the program and passing state boards and assessments, you are prepared for positions within a wide range of careers:  

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Courtrooms
  • Conference centers
  • Translation and interpretation companies
  • Individual organizations
  • Private clients

Transfer to a university and continue your education 

After completion of the OCC SLI program, you may aspire to obtain further education. Students can go on to acquire a degree in: 

  • Interpreting
  • Deaf Education
  • Social Work
  • Counseling
  • Psychology
  • Deaf studies
  • Linguistics
  • Communications

Transferring with ease:

We know transferring can be stressful. We have articulation agreements with the following colleges and universities to make your transfer experience straightforward and save you money:

  • Oakland University
  • Sienna Heights
  • Columbia College Chicago

Degree program 

After completion of a Sign Language Interpreter (SLI) degree, you will gain knowledge of the Deaf community, culture, and language. This will prepare you to be a qualified sign language interpreter.

Program plan 

Program location 

This program is offered on the Highland Lakes campus. Supporting courses may be taken on all campuses. 

Let’s Go! 

Ready to begin your studies? Get started now:  

  • Apply to OCC. If you’re not already an OCC student, create a profile and complete our online application.
  • On the application select the degree program ‘Sign Language’.
  • Existing OCC students can update their academic program using the Student Update Information Request form.