The World of Sign Language Certifications: A Comprehensive Guide

May 16, 2024 tommydoyle.me2 (0) Comments

In a world that thrives on communication, sign languages emerge as powerful tools that bridge gaps between the hearing and the deaf communities. Recognized not merely as languages but as cultural and social bridges, sign languages are as diverse and rich as spoken languages across the globe. With the growing awareness and acceptance of these languages, there’s an increasing interest in learning and getting certified in sign language. But how many recognized certificates are available for sign language, and what do they entail?

Understanding Sign Language Certifications

Sign language certifications vary widely depending on the country and the specific sign language. These certifications can be broadly categorized into two types: those for sign language proficiency and those for sign language interpretation. Consider doing the Nationally recognised BSL qualifications.

Sign Language Proficiency Certifications

These certifications are designed for individuals who wish to prove their competency in a particular sign language, be it American Sign Language (ASL), British Sign Language (BSL), or any other nationally recognized sign language. Proficiency certificates are often pursued by educators, social workers, healthcare professionals, and family members of deaf individuals, as well as by members of the deaf community themselves.

Sign Language Interpretation Certifications

Interpretation certifications are aimed at professionals who facilitate communication between deaf and hearing individuals. These certifications assess an individual’s ability to accurately interpret between spoken language and sign language and vice versa. They are essential for anyone pursuing a career in sign language interpretation, ensuring that interpreters are capable of providing accurate and effective communication support.

Major Sign Language Certification Bodies

American Sign Language (ASL) Certifications

  • Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID): RID offers certification for ASL interpreters, including the National Interpreter Certification (NIC). This certification assesses an interpreter’s general knowledge, ethical decision-making, and interpreting skills.  
  • American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA): ASLTA certification is aimed at ASL educators, ensuring they have the necessary teaching skills and linguistic knowledge to teach ASL effectively.

British Sign Language (BSL) Certifications

  • Signature: Located in the UK, Signature provides a range of qualifications for both BSL learners and interpreters. Their certifications are widely recognized and cater to various proficiency levels.
  • Institute of British Sign Language (iBSL): iBSL offers a variety of accredited qualifications in British Sign Language and Interpretation, recognized across the UK.

International Certifications

  • World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI): WASLI promotes the profession of sign language interpretation worldwide, and while it does not offer certifications itself, it endorses national certification processes and standards.

The Path to Certification

The path to obtaining a sign language certification typically involves formal education and training, followed by a comprehensive assessment. For proficiency certifications, candidates may need to complete courses and pass exams that test their linguistic knowledge and communicative abilities in sign language. For interpretation certifications, the process is more rigorous, often requiring candidates to demonstrate their interpretation skills in various settings and subjects.

Why Pursue a Sign Language Certification?

Obtaining a recognized certification in sign language opens doors to numerous opportunities. It not only enhances personal and professional development but also significantly contributes to serving and being part of the deaf community. Certified individuals are in high demand in educational, healthcare, legal, and many other sectors, where they play a crucial role in ensuring accessibility and inclusivity.


The world of sign language certifications is vast and varied, reflecting the diversity of sign languages and the needs of the deaf and hearing communities. Whether you’re drawn to learning sign language out of personal interest, a desire to communicate with deaf friends and family, or a professional ambition to become an interpreter or educator, there’s a certification out there for you. By pursuing a recognized certificate, you’re taking a significant step towards breaking communication barriers and fostering a more inclusive society.

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