Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why would I choose EKU’s Interpreter Education Program?
A: We are an accredited program, and our students are sought after for internships by Kentucky Vocational Rehabilitation, Kentucky School for the Deaf, EKU Center for Student Accessibility, Sign Language Network of KY, Central KY Interpreting Referral, Rochester Institute of Technology, and other employment after graduation.
Q: Why should I choose your program over another?
A: Some unique aspects of EKU’s Interpreter Education Program:
- The ASL Lab is located in our department and staffed by members of the Deaf community. ASL Lab courses and tutoring sessions support the course curriculum and enhance student learning outcomes.
- Also, unique to EKU is the ASL Living Learning Community (LLC) located in Walters Hall dormitory, which offers an immersive experience for students who have completed ASL 102 (Level 2) and can apply to live on the dorm floor with other ASL students and Deaf students.
- Our ASLA student organization is active and connected to the Deaf Culture at the university and in the local community. They host language development opportunities at a local coffee shop and at the Lexington Fayette Mall on a monthly basis. In addition, hosting performances on campus by nationally known Deaf individuals for special events. These events allow students to experience varied genres of Deaf performances and have exposure to diverse linguistic registers.
- EKU offers Study Abroad programs including The Historical Roots of the Deaf Community in Spain, given university travel guidelines.
- Kentucky School for the Deaf is located only 45 minutes from our campus, which allows our students to experience events such as sports tournaments, an annual pancake breakfast, and holiday events.
- Another unique aspect is a partnership between the ASLIE department and a private corporation, Sorenson Communications. Professional licensed and certified interpreters work in the call center interpreting phone calls from across the country. We arrange for our students to visit the center, students may intern there, and Sorenson recruits our graduates for employment.
- We are an accredited program, and our students are sought after for internships by Kentucky Vocational Rehabilitation, Kentucky School for the Deaf, EKU Center for Student Accessibility, Sign Language Network of KY, Central KY Interpreting Referral Agency, Rochester Institute of Technology, among others, for employment after graduation.
Q: What other unique opportunities do you have that sets you aside from other programs?
A: Another unique opportunity offered is the Sorenson Video Relay Service call center in Lexington, KY, a 30 minute drive from the university. Professional licensed and certified interpreters work in the call center interpreting phone calls from across the country and provide mentoring opportunities for those interested in relay work. We arrange for our students to visit the center, internships are available, and Sorenson recruits our graduates for employment.
Q: What if I have signing skills before I enter the program? And if so, can I test out of any language courses?
A: Credit by examination is offered for ASL 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Q: If I get placed at a lower ASL level than what I’ve taken, do those credits count for something?
A: We do not place students at an ASL level. Students begin with ASL 1. If a student passes the ASL 1 Challenge Test, they meet the program requirement and can take ASL 2.
Q: Will my ASL credits transfer?
A: Eastern Kentucky University awards transfer credit for courses completed at regionally accredited colleges and universities. No limit exists on the number of credits that may be transferred from other institutions, however; students must earn a minimum of 32 credit hours through EKU to be awarded a bachelor's degree from the institution.
Transfer credit for an ASL class is not the same as meeting the program requirement for a class.
The ASL & Interpreter Education Department offers department credit by examination. This challenge test is given by the department. Passing the test awards the student 3 credit hours and satisfies the program requirement for that class.
For transferring other general education classes, please contact the Student Outreach and Transition office in EKU Admissions at 859-622-7686 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What are my chances of being accepted into the program?
A: Because our baccalaureate program is among a minority of accredited programs through the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE) in the US, it is competitive. We accept a cohort of approximately 20-25 students every two years during even years.
Q: What if the program is not accepting applicants during my child’s second year at EKU?
A: Students will continue with all required general education and ITP pre-requisite courses and should consider a minor to carry over.
Q: Does your program have a sign lab?
A: The ASL Lab is located in our department and staffed by members of the Deaf community. ASL Lab sessions support the course curriculum and enhance student learning outcomes.
Q: Will I have an internship during the program?
A: Internships are required during the spring semester of the student’s senior year prior to graduation and students will serve throughout Kentucky and other states with a variety of agencies and companies.
Q: Does your program have any extra-curricular activities to enhance signing skills outside of the classroom?
A: Unique to EKU is the ASL Living Learning Community (LLC) located in Walters Hall dormitory, which offers an immersive experience for students who have completed ASL II and apply to live on the dorm floor with other ASL students and Deaf students.
Q: What type of Deaf Community atmosphere do you have on campus for students?
A: EKU has a number of Deaf students on campus taking a range of majors and the ASLIE department employs Deaf faculty and staff. A variety of events occur which affords students the opportunity to experience a small scale Deaf community feel on campus.
Q: How close are you to the KY School for the Deaf (KSD)?
A: Kentucky School for the Deaf is located only 45 minutes from our campus, which allows our students to experience events like sports tournaments, an annual pancake breakfast, and holiday events involving the Deaf community at large.
Q: Does your program have a student organization?
A: Our American Sign Language Association (ASLA) student organization is active and connected to the Deaf Culture at the university and in the local community. They host monthly silent coffee nights at a local coffee shop, and socialize at the Fayette Mall Deaf Social twice a month. They also host performances on campus by a nationally known performer.
Q: Does your program have any study abroad opportunities?
A: EKU offers Study Abroad programs visiting Deaf communities using indigenous signed languages in their given countries. Previous trips were to France, Germany and Spain.
Q: Can I be a dual major?
A: Yes, you can; however, some coursework is only offered during certain semesters. Your advisor can guide you in this process.
Q: Do you have a minor?
A: Yes, we offer a minor in ASL, developing language skills; however, this is applicable for other majors and careers wanting to provide direct services to the Deaf community, not interpreting.
Q: Would I be at a disadvantage at the beginning of the program for full admission if I don't have Deaf family members or have not taken ASL yet?
A: ASLIE has students at all levels of skill and many students are admitted into the program who start from the ground up. There are a variety of extra-curricular activities that students can be involved in to refine their skills.
Q: Does KY license have reciprocity with other states?
A: Those who hold full license have RID/NIC certifications which most states accept. However, please refer to https://kbi.ky.gov for specifics on reciprocity regulations, as those are subject to change.
Q: How many full-time faculty do you have? What is your Deaf:Hearing ratio?
A: In a department of full-time faculty and staff, employees are housed on the Richmond campus. There is a blend of native, near-native and second language employees within the department.
Q: Will the two-year cohort system change to a one-year cohort soon?
A: This is not being considered at the present time.
Q: Is there a demand for interpreters?
A: With societal changes and innovations in technology, and Deaf professionals having greater access in services, there is an increased demand for sign language interpreters.
Q: What is the job market like for interpreters?
A: The demand for sign language interpreters has risen significantly in the past decade and is expected to continue to rise. Interpreters will always have the greatest opportunity for work where there are larger Deaf communities for on-site interpreting. However, remote work from home and flexible jobs are on the rise in the field of sign language interpreting given innovative solutions with technology.
Q: What is the salary range for interpreters?
A: The average beginning salary for interpreters are comparable to a beginning teacher’s salary dependent on the state in which they reside. In Kentucky, Vocational Rehabilitation sets a free-lance rate for interpreters, which most interpreters follow, if they are private practitioners. Rates are also commensurate with education, amount of experience, credentials and the type of work the interpreter is providing.
Q: Are there any scholarships for me?
A: Yes, scholarships are offered and can be applied for in the financial aid office. In addition, some small scholarships are offered to students upon being accepted into the Interpreter Training Program.
Q: What does my child do during the third year of 5 years?
A: All students are encouraged to have a minor, second program of study, or a second major in order to take other coursework while waiting for the even year to apply.
Q: What about the extra one-year expense if my child needs to be here for 5 years? Does financial aid cover 5 years?
A: Each student’s financial aid varies due to the type of aid they have, GPA status, etc; therefore, checking with the Financial Aid office is best for those specific details.