State Board Of Education Considers Changing ASL Interpreter Credentialing Requirements

Sep 13, 2018

Credit Matthew Paulson, via Flickr

The State Board of Education is considering changing the credentialing requirements to be a sign language interpreter in New Hampshire schools.

The proposed rule change would require sign language interpreters to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree. As of now, they just need an associate's degree.

Nationally, there's a shortage of ASL interpreters. The Manchester School District has told the state Board of Education that the proposed change would make it harder to fill those positions.

Susan Wolf-Downes is the director of Northeast Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services. She supports the change, saying it would improve education for deaf or hard of hearing students.  But she says the board needs to do more work. 

"I think it would be helpful if they actually went to a preschool with deaf kids and saw what was happening," she said through an interpreter.  

ASL interpreters do have to go through a certification process at the state level. The Board says they'll need to look at more research before making a decision.