Department of
ASL - English Interpretation

ASL-English Interp. Second BA

The ASL-English Interpretation second BA degree program is open to students who already have a Bachelor of Arts from an accredited college and are interested in obtaining a second BA degree. Students in this program are required to complete 56 credit hours of coursework in the major. They are not required to take the LAS Core Curriculum. 

Program Details

Interpreting between two languages is a richly fulfilling and creative profession. The ASL-English Interpretation second BA degree program is an ideal match for those creative individuals who are seeking a career change, and for those who wish to build on their interest in American Sign Language to work in the fulfilling field of sign language interpreting.

Sign language interpreting is a licensed profession in Illinois. As such, the curriculum in our ASL-English Interpretation second BA degree is holistic. Upon graduation, students will not only be well prepared for required state licensure examinations, but they also will have developed a mastery of standard American English, fluency in American Sign Language, and familiarity with public speaking techniques, as well as sensitivity to multicultural issues and challenges in interpersonal communication.

Learning ASL is like learning any other language: It is a sequential, complex process that takes time. This is why we have designed our ASL-English Interpretation second BA degree program as a four-year, part-time program. Enrolled students take two or three courses per semester, which allows them to continue working as they progress through the program.

New students with prior ASL experience have the opportunity to take a placement evaluation during Orientation, which may place them into higher-level courses and, therefore, shorten the time it takes to complete the program.

Finally, much like our other undergraduate program, the curriculum in the ASL-English Interpretation second BA degree program emphasizes work with the Deaf population as a linguistic and cultural minority. After leaving Columbia, graduates not only acquire fluency in ASL, but they become aware of and sensitive to issues concerning the Deaf community.

Students must complete 56 credit hours to earn a BA in ASL-English Interpretation. You can see a listing of all your required ASL-English Interpretation classes here. Questions? Contact Nina Campbell at or 312.369.7837 for more information.

Careers in ASL-English Interpretation

The job outlook for employment of interpreters is expected to grow 42 percent from 2010-2020, according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The amount of growth in this field is much higher than the average for all occupations.

Percentile wage estimates:
50 percentile: $21.84 per hour ($45,430 annually)
75 percentile: $30.94 per hour ($64,360 annually)
90 percentile: $44.13 per hour ($91,800 annually) 

Industries with the highest levels of employment (with hourly and mean wages):

Industry                                                                   Hourly Mean                      Annual Mean

Technical, Scientific, Other                             $29.41                                   $61,170

Elementary, Secondary Schools                   $19.98                                   $41,560

General Medical, Surgical Hospitals         $22.09                                   $45,960

Local Government (OES)                                 $23.71                                   $49,320

Colleges, Universities, Prof. Schools         $28.16                                   $58,560

Top paying industries:

Industry                                                                       Hourly Mean                               Annual Mean

Management, Scientific, Technical              $52.85                                               $109,930

Computer Systems Design, Related           $50.03                                               $104,070

Federal Executive Branch (OES)                   $35.72                                               $74,290

Source: United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2012