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ASL Careers:

by Becky Lindauer
Dec 12, 2006

Careers in ASL


Careers using American Sign Language are exciting and fun. For the individual who enjoys ASL, finding a job where he/she is able to utilize the language they love becomes an appealing prospect. Many people do not have the opportunity to pursue their interests and dreams; so many are stuck working jobs that are miserable and mind-numbing. However, the person who likes practicing and getting better at signing - and desires to continue in their studies - would find a plethora of positons available following their certification. Practicing ASL on a dialy basis, interacting with the Deaf Community, making new friends, and learning new signs are all opportunities one could expect to find in a career using ASL.

Becoming a sign language interpreter/translator would open up endless doors to the individual who chose to pursue ASL as a career. The need for sign language interpreters in the United States is tremendous (Salter, 2003). There are plenty of opportunites available in the professional sphere. Many large businesses are in desperate need of ASL translators, and are willing to pay good money to those who can provide said service (Salter, 2003). In addition, public school districts all across the country are scrambling to fill empty interpreter positons (Salter, 2003). The opportunites are abundant, however, the supply does not meet the demand. The scale is greatly tipped, and there are far more jobs available than there are bodies to fill them. Interpreter positions are also in excess at the state and government levels as well (Salter, 2003). If one had the necessary skills, practical training, and state certification, they would not have much trouble finding a steady, solid career as an ASL interpreter/translator.

Not only would a career as an interpreter/translator be rewarding, original, and totally fun, but most employers would also provide generous compensation, given the desperate need for skilled professionals. In the state of Utah, one estimate placed the yearly salary for an interpreter/translator, in a variety of sectors, between $35,000 and $65,000 (Speckman, 2005). Skilled interpreters/translators in local and state governmental positions would more than likely make more. In his article, Speckman also spoke of the tremendous need for trained interpreters/translators to fill empty positions (Speckman, 2005). In the state of Utah, at least, the situation has become so dire that many of the individuals currently holding jobs at the state level are only temporarily certified (Speckman, 2005). In addition, many of them would not even be classified as reaching the level of novice (Speckman, 2005). By briefly examining the situation in Utah, it is clear that skilled ASL interpreters are rare commodities. Opportunities are available in abundance to explore a career as a translator.

Becoming a teacher or professor of ASL is another way that one could earn a living using the language they love. Internet job serches for open teaching positions produce abundant results, as many educational institutions are constantly in search for individuals skilled to teach ASL. Within the teaching field, one's talents could be utilized in a variety of capacities, filling positions such as Professor of ASL, Assistant Professor of ASL, Professor of Deaf Studies, ASL/English Interpreting Assistant Professor, and ASL Tutor, among others (http://www.aslta.org/). Teaching opportunites are availabe in excess in primary and secondary public schools as well (http://www.aslta.org/). Helping others learn and come to love ASL would be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Assisting deaf students in the public school system would be equally so. The opportunites are out there should one desire to finish the necessary schooling in order to become certified as a teacher.

Careers in ASL are exciting, enjoyable, and available. Should one decide to pursue ASL long-term, they would not be disappointed.

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References

Salter, Lacey. (2003, October, 12). Lending a hand can be a noble calling. http://www.jobjournal.com/. 06 December 2006. www.jobjournal.com/article_full_text.asp?artid=955.

Speckman, Stephen. (2005, February, 22). Sign language need called dire. Salt Lake City Desert Morning News. Salt Lake City Desert Morning News. 06 December 2006. www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4188/is_20050222/ai_n9775764.

www.aslta.org/job/index.html. 06 December 2006.


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