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Get Started in a Rewarding Career with an American Sign Language Interpreting Certificate

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


Courses and Requirements


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.


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

Larry Stephen, M.S. Adjunct Professor

Phone: VP 978-241-7053

Diane Mele, M.A., LMHC, ICTC, NIC

Phone: V 978-556-3359 VP 978-241-7056

Leslie Young, Deaf Studies Program Assistant

Phone: V 978-556-3667 VP 978-377-8033

Faculty Biographies

Faculty Biographies

Larry Stephen, M.S.

Larry StephenLarry is originally from the southernmost Caribbean islands, Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Northridge and a Master of Science from McDaniel College (formerly known as Western Maryland College). He is an alumnus of Marie Philip School at the Learning Center of the Deaf in Framingham, Massachusetts. He is an author of “Courage in our Hearts”; the story about a Deaf immigrant discovered new adopted land in America with his family members and blossomed into a scholar/an athlete with family supports. He is involved state, regional, national, and international conferences such as the World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf and Deaflympics (Deaf Olympics). He is traveling extensively around the world. He is a co-director of American Sign Language at Wheelock Family Theatre in the city of Boston.

His educational and professional credentials include:

  • Master of Science in Deaf Education, McDaniel College
  • Bachelor of Arts in Geography, California State University at Northridge
  • A Keynote Speaker, American Society of Deaf Children Conference in Indianapolis
  • Member, American Sign Language Teachers Association
  • Member, International Sign Language Teachers Organization
  • Member, The World Federation of the Deaf
  • Athlete & Delegate, Summer Deaflympics & Pan American Deaf Sports Games

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

Diana Mele, MA, LMHC, ICTC

Diana MeleDiana Mele holds a Masters of Arts Degree from Gallaudet University, Washington, DC and has worked professionally within two distinct disciplines; the field of Sign Language Interpreting and Human Services professions for more than 30 years. She holds her national credentials from the Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf (RID) in addition to having earned her license as a Mental Health Counselor in the state of Massachusetts.

Diane is a tenured member of the faculty and has taught at this institution in both disciplines since 1996. She has worked to train students in career paths in the field of Sign Language Interpreting as well as Human Services and Social Work professions.

Her educational and professional credentials include:

  • Associate of Arts Degree: Deafness Communication – dual emphasis – Human Services Program – Northern Essex Community College
  • Bachelor of Art Degree: Psychology – Flager College, St. Augustine, Florida
  • Master of Arts Degree: Mental Health Counseling – Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), State of Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts State Screened Interpreter – (1980)
  • Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf : Interpretation Certificate /Transliteration Certificate ICTC (1983)
  • Transliteration Certificate (1986)
  • National Interpreter Certification (2008)

Gayle Johnson Clemenzi, MA, CI/CT, NIC-Master

Gayle Clemenzi has been involved with the Massachusetts Deaf community on the North Shore for over 30 years. She holds a Masters of Arts Degree from Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, studied ASL Interpreting at Northeastern University and has worked as a teacher of the Deaf in public and private schools. As a professional interpreter since 1993, she has worked in a variety of settings, including state and private agencies, medical and educational environments. Gayle has presented workshops on team interpreting and has been a mentor to new interpreters and students, specifically in the field of VRS, where she’s worked since 2005.

Her educational and professional credentials include:

  • Bachelor of Science Degree: Education, English Minor– Gordon College, MA
  • Master of Arts Degree: Education – Gallaudet University, Washington, DC
  • Northeastern University Interpreter Training Program – Boston, MA
  • Member of MassRID
  • Licensed ASL Interpreter in New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts State Screened Interpreter – (1993)
  • Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf:
    • RID Certificate of Transliteration (2005)
    • RID Certificate Interpretation (1997)
    • RID NIC Master Certification – (2009)

Required Documents

American Sign Language Studies Criteria Packet (PDF)

Additional Information

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.
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