Last Updated: August 07, 2022
Study American Sign Language/ASL in the US
ASL or the American Sign Language is the natural language used mainly by the deaf population in the country. ASL is used both by hearing and non-hearing people and is an essential skill that people can learn to be more inclusive of the people around them. Candidates who wish to study a foreign language will be able to consider the American Sign Language as one of them. It is the third most popular language in the country with job opportunities at different levels. Candidates will be able to take associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees in the subject, and most students opt for a bachelor’s degree in the subject since it offers the best opportunities.
This subject also offers different concentrations that candidates can choose from including deaf culture, interpretation, translation, etc. Mostly, learners will be dealing with different aspects of ASL including the dealings that the language has in the real world. Over 126 institutions in the country offer 2-year programs in the subject and around 2,737 degrees were awarded in the subject in 2020 only.
Benefits of Studying ASL
The benefits of taking a degree in ASL are similar to those of taking a foreign language since most universities in the country accept ASL as a foreign language even though it does not involve writing. Candidates who have language requirements for the programs they have chosen will also be able to take up ASL as their language depending on the institution they are studying at. A few of the benefits of taking a degree in ASL include-
- Candidates who have taken a degree in ASL will be able to find different career opportunities that are inclusive of all people, especially with the projected job growth of 24% between the years 2020 to 2030.
- Candidates will be able to get a salary between $6,000 to $28,000 upon completing a degree in the subject and there are around 497,000 people within this area of expertise in the workforce.
- They will be able to also spread awareness about the hard of hearing community by specializing in either deaf culture or interpretation and working in NGOs or similar institutions.
Eligibility Requirement for ASL Programs
The eligibility requirement for ASL programs is dependent on the institution one is applying to and the level of the degree they are taking. The general eligibility requirements that one will have to meet include-
- Educational Transcripts
- Letters of Recommendation
- Statement of Purpose
- GPA above 3
Fee for Programs in ASL
The cost of education for ASL programs can vary from institution to institution and it is also dependent on the level of degree one is choosing to do. The fee will be different for private and public institutions with private institutions charging a higher fee than public institutions. Public institutions will also have different fee structures for in-state and out-of-state students. The estimated median in-state fee is around $6,000 per year and that of the out-of-state fee is around $28,000 per year.
Types of ASL Degrees and Certifications
Candidates will be able to take an associate degree or a bachelor's degree at an undergraduate level and they will be able to take a master’s degree and a doctoral degree at a graduate level in the subject.
Associate Degree in ASL
Candidates who wish to take an ASL degree with a professional approach that has a short duration will be able to take an associate degree in the subject. It has a duration of only 2 years and candidates will be dealing with effective communication. Most associate degrees in the subject will include in-person lectures, seminars, and other practical courses. The main courses one will have to study as part of the degree include deaf studies, fingerspelling, psychology of deafness, communication disorders, etc.
Bachelor’s Degree in ASL
A bachelor’s degree is one of the most popular degrees in the subject. It has a duration of 4 years and it generally includes both theoretical and practical aspects of the subject. Most bachelor’s programs in the subject will deal with the translation and interpretation of ASL to English. Candidates will also be dealing with sociology, humanities, and basic sciences as part of the program. The main courses they will deal with include ASL, deaf culture, deaf literature, basics of interpreting, math in deaf culture, etc. Candidates will also have to complete a practical internship in the subject for course completion.
Master’s Degree in ASL
A master’s program in the subject will have a duration of 1 to 2 years. The program will include both theory and practical and candidates will either be able to choose a write a thesis on a topic of their choice in the subject or they will be able to take an internship with a practical focus for course completion. The courses they will have to deal with will include speech communication, deaf culture, deaf literature, interpreting, and translation, etc.
Specializations in ASL
Candidates will be able to choose from different specializations in their undergraduate and graduate years within ASL. These specializations include combining the subject with fields like-
- Performing Arts
- Social Work
Top Universities for ASL
A few of the top universities for ASL include-
- University of Rochester
- Northeastern University
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- University of Kansas
- Gallaudet University
- University of Cincinnati
- University of Houston
- University of Louisville
Top Programs for ASL
A few of the best programs one can take for ASL are-
|Program||University||Location||In-State Fee ||Out-of-State Fee|
|BA in ASL||University of Rochester||Rochester, NY||$59,500|
|BS in ASL||Northeastern University||Boston, MA||$57,500|
|BS in ASL-English Interpretation||Rochester Institute of Technology||Rochester, NY||$53,000||$53,000|
|BA in ASL and Deaf Studies||University of Kansas||Lawrence, KS||$11,000||$28,000|
|ASL Certificate Program||Gallaudet University||Washington, DC||$17,500||$|
|Certificate in Deaf Studies||University of Cincinnati||Cincinnati, OH||$12,000||$27,500|
|BA in ASL-Interpreting||University of Houston||Houston, TX||$12,000||$27,000|
|BS in ASL-Interpreting||University of Louisville||Louisville, KY||$12,500||$28,500|
BA in ASL-University of Rochester
This program has a duration of 4 years in all and has 4 core courses and 8 electives in all that one has to complete. The core courses revolve around American sign language, advanced ASLA, and the structure of signed languages. Candidates will have to take ASLA literature and culture, and cultures, language, and history, as their electives. They will also be able to take advanced electives like cultural anthropology, language development, the art of translation, fine art, French sign language & deaf culture in France.
BS in ASL- Northeastern University
This program has a duration of 4 years and deals with the linguistic, cognitive, and ethical aspects of ASL. Candidates will be dealing with subjects like ASL-English interpreting, diversity in the American Deaf Community, deaf culture, etc. Candidates will be approaching the subject through the disciplines of psychology, linguistics, theatre, arts, etc.
BS in ASL-English Interpretation: RIT
This degree has a duration of 4 years and has a total credit requirement of 123 hours. The general subjects that one will have to study for the course include American sign language, global perspective, mathematical perspective, processing skills development, etc. The electives they can choose from include linguistics of American sign language, deaf cultural studies, issues in interpreting, etc. Candidates will also have to complete a professional elective for 3 credits.
BA in ASL and Deaf Studies- University of Kansas
This program has a duration of 4 years and candidates will be dealing with subjects like critical thinking and quantitative literacy, social science, fingerspelling, ASL literature, ASL linguistics, social responsibility, ethics, etc. They will have to take 5 electives as part of the course or they will be able to choose any 5 certificate courses for course completion. The program has a credit requirement of 120 hours in all.
ASL Certificate Program- Gallaudet University
This program has a credit requirement of 24 hours in all. Candidates will have to take 6 core courses that focus on introductory courses, linguistics, grammatical features, etc. It will also deal with deaf culture, deaf studies, and oral traditions in the deaf community. Each course will provide 3 credits and the fee for each course is calculated separately. The fee for each course can vary between $888 to $950.
Certificate in Deaf Studies- University of Cincinnati
This program has a duration of 2.5 years and it deals with both language classes and cultural classes. The basic courses they include are orientation to deafness, deaf history, psychosocial aspects of deafness, legal issues in deafness, etc. Candidates will have to complete a minimum of 24 credits for course completion.
BA in ASLI- University of Houston
This program has a duration of 4 years and is focused on providing the necessary education for becoming a professional interpreter. Candidates will be learning about cognitive skills, basic language skills, cultural and linguistic aspects of ASL, professional attributes of the language, etc.
BS in ASL-Interpreting: University of Houston
This program has a duration of 4 years and it is offered by the College of Arts and Sciences. It has a total credit requirement of 123 hours. Candidates will be dealing with the basics of ASL linguistics, deaf history, and culture, interpreting process in ASL, etc. as part of the program.