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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

Program Costs

For the 2024-2025 academic year, non-health for-credit courses have a cost of $263/credit for in-state students.



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

Kevin J. Fleese, M.Ed.

Faculty Member, American Sign Language Studies Program

Kevin FleeseKevin Fleese is a Professor and Coordinator under American Sign Language Studies Program at Northern Essex Community College. He has been teaching in the American Sign Language Studies program since Fall 1994. He is the second Deaf professor to receive his tenure but his first tenure in ASL Studies 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.

Kevin’s first experience teaching in American Sign Language was at Vista College in Berkeley, CA. He was a part of the implementation of the nationally acclaimed “Signing Naturally” ASL immersion curriculum which is widely used across the US today, serving as one of the first ASL instructors to field test that program. He now supports wide-opening to True Way ASL which is currently using in the program at NECC.

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 curriculums, ASL Linguistics, and Deaf Culture
  • Implemented state screening for interpreters for the state of New Hampshire
  • Served as a member of the New Hampshire Interpreting Licensure Board by appointment of the Governor of NH – 2003-2005

Aimee Stevens, BS, M.Ed

Aimee StevensAimee Stevens graduated from the University of New Hampshire at Manchester in 2000 with a BS in Communications, in 2002 with a BS in Sign Language Interpretation and from Framingham State University in 2015 with M.Ed. in Educational Technology. Aimee has worked in the dDeaf community for 17 years as an interpreter and 12 years as adjunct faculty in the American Sign Language/English Interpreting Program at UNH-Manchester and is a recent addition to the adjunct team at Northern Essex Community College. She continues to work as an interpreter in NH, doing mostly emergency medical work. She works at the Gallaudet University Regional Center at Northern Essex Community College since 2009 as a Project Coordinator and as the Massachusetts Family Sign Language Program Coordinator, since November 2017.

Dr. LeWana Clark, CSC, CI/CT/SC:L/Master Mentor, MEd, PhD

Dr. LeWana ClarkLeWana Clark (CSC, CI/CT/SC:L/Master Mentor, MEd, PhD) works as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter specializing in court/legal settings, teaches interpreter education and professional development workshops, and mentors new and experienced interpreters. Adding to her many accomplishments, she has completed the Master Mentorship Program in 2005 then graduated from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her Master’s Degree in 2011: Independent Degree Study Program, Specialization: Transformative Learning for ASL/English Interpreters; Thesis: “Beyond ASL Vocabulary: Towards Bicultural and Bilingual Proficiencies for ASL/English Interpreters. She completed her doctorate studies at Gallaudet University in 2018 with a dual concentration of Pedagogy and Research from the Interpretation and Translation Department. Her doctorate focused on the effects of teaming on the identification of speakers during a court proceeding – “The interactive courtroom: The Deaf defendant watches how the speaker is identified for each turn-at-talk during a team interpreted event.”

Tracy Shorter (NAD Level 4, RID NIC)

Tracy ShorterTracy Shorter (NAD Level 4, RID NIC) primarily works as a Video Relay Interpreter for a variety of national and international calls, providing support for co-workers through teaming situations, discussing problem-solving solutions with colleagues, and attending in-house meetings, trainings, and workshops. Before becoming a nationally certified interpreter, Tracy studied and completed the Northern Essex Community College Program in 1991. In addition to her interpreting work, she also is a financial coach. She leads classes on different topics including budgeting principles, retirement planning, buying insurance, and saving for college. Tracy loves to work with individual clients to develop a budget to track their income and learn how to avoid and eliminate debt.

Required Documents

American Sign Language Studies Criteria Packet (PDF)

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