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A student in the American Sign Language Interpreting Certificate program signs to another student.

If you have an associate degree or higher, and would like an intensive program designed to provide you with a foundation in American Sign Language (ASL), Deaf Culture, and Interpreting, the American Sign Language Interpreting Certificate program is for you. Participants will also have an opportunity to explore careers in sign language interpreting.

Why Choose NECC?

With the American Sign Language Interpreting Certificate, you can prepare for a career in American Sign Language (ASL)/English interpreting.

  • Learn about the language, culture, and community of Deaf/Hard of Hearing/DeafBlind people
  • Take part in networking opportunities with alumni and professionals in the community
  • Participate in NECC’s American Sign Language (ASL) club
  • Make yourself more marketable by adding this certificate to your associate or bachelor’s degree

Because of NECC:

Upon successful completion of the American Sign Language Studies: Sign Language Interpreter Certificate, you can:

  • Prepare to take the state-level Massachusetts Interpreter Screening through the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH). MCDHH-screened interpreters are eligible for entry-level interpreting work.
  • Seek a career in a variety of settings. NECC graduates have gone on to work at:
    • K-12 Education
    • Adult Education Centers
    • Colleges and Universities
    • Conferences
    • Public Events
    • Medical, doctors’ offices and hospitals
    • Mental Health and social services
    • Substance Abuse counseling
    • Non-profit and Corporate meetings and events
    • Religious settings and events
    • Social events
    • Legal settings
    • Government
    • Vocational Rehabilitation
    • Performing Arts
    • Deaf Blind-Tactile/Close-vision
    • Video Relay/Video Remote interpreting



NECC has a great ASL program … it’s flexible and affordable.”

Lina Garcia Kosko, American Sign Language Studies: Interpreting Transfer


Program Pathway

A pathway is the most efficient sequence of courses semester-to-semester recommended for students to complete their degree. View the suggested pathway for the Sign Language Interpreting Certificate.

Career Paths & Job Market

Career Paths

Career Paths

  • Full-time or part-time Interpreting in a variety of settings
    • Colleges and Universities
    • Public Schools
    • State Agencies
    • Hospitals and other medical/mental health institutions
  • Freelance Interpreting
Transferring to a 4 year College or University

Transferring to a 4 year College or University

NECC provides an excellent starting point for students interested in pursuing American Sign Language Studies or Interpreting.

Some college websites for students likely to transfer:

Upon completion of a degree, interpreters take the Massachusetts Interpreting Screening exam in order to qualify to work in the state of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

After a few years of experience, national certification may be pursued through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes - American Sign Language Studies: Sign Language Interpreting Certificate

Student Learning Outcomes – American Sign Language Studies: Sign Language Interpreting Certificate

  • Devise, Compose and present advanced low level receptive and expressive proficiency in American Sign Language as established by ACTFL. (see Appendix A).
  • Integrate, sensitivity and understanding of the norms, values, and influence of diverse cultural, historical and global perspectives within the Deaf community.
  • Develop and maintain appropriate skills related to Deaf Community, organizations, and careers in social services, education, and life-long learning of ASL.
  • Demonstrate and integrate the knowledge and skills to interpret in entry-levels settings while incorporating awareness of the cultural diversity within the Deaf/Hard of Hearing/DeafBlind communities.
  • Analyze and integrate facts related to the interpreting profession to include; history of the field, terminology, professional associations, interpreter role and function, relevant legislation.
  • Reflect critically on one’s abilities to interact with Deaf individuals socially and professionally, and evaluate the level of integration achieved.

Courses and Requirements



Program Coordinator

Program Coordinator

Kevin Fleese, M.Ed Professor, Program Coordinator

Phone: VP 978-241-7049

Program Contact Information


Kevin Fleese, M.Ed Professor, Program Coordinator

Phone: VP 978-241-7049

Erik Bailey, Deaf Studies Program Assistant

Phone: 978-556-3667

Faculty Biographies

Faculty Biographies

Kevin J. Fleese, M.Ed.

Faculty Member, American Sign Language Studies Program

Kevin Fleese has been teaching in the Deaf Studies program at Northern Essex Community College since 1994. He is the second Deaf professor to receive their tenure in New England.

Prior to becoming a faculty member at NECC, he was a software specialist and taught computer classes at Digital Equipment Corp in Santa Clara, Ca and Marlborough, Ma.

His first experience teaching in American Sign Language was at Vista College in Berkeley, CA where he taught for four years. Kevin was a part of the implementation of the nationally acclaimed “Signing Naturally” ASL immersion curriculum which is so widely used across the US today, serving as one of the first ASL instructors to field test that program.

His educational and professional credentials include:

  • Masters of Education in Deaf Studies; Boston University
  • Bachelors of Arts in Communication Arts; Gallaudet University
  • Bachelors of Science in Business Administration; Gallaudet University
  • Seasoned presenter of workshops and trainings relating to Deaf Studies, ASL Linguistics, and Deaf Culture
  • Implemented state screening for interpreters for the state of New Hampshire
  • Served as a member of the New Hampshire Licensure Board by appointment of the Governor of NH

Required Documents

American Sign Language Studies Criteria Packet (PDF)

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