How do I find a job as a sign language interpreter

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Sign Language Interpreter Jobs. © Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis/VCG / Getty Images

Question: How do I find a job as a sign language interpreter?

Answer:

Many people who learn sign language decide they want to become sign language interpreters. After completing interpreter training, they need to find jobs as interpreters. Where can they find such opportunities?

These resources can help you in your search for an interpreting job.

Interpreting Agencies and Freelancing

A trained interpreter can choose between working for an interpreting agency as an employee or being a freelancer.

If you wish to work on staff at an interpreting agency, you can find agencies to contact about positions by checking with statewide services for deaf and hard of hearing people. They often maintain listings of local interpreting service agencies.

If you wish to be a freelance interpreter, these same statewide services can be of help. Licensed, qualified interpreters can have their names added to any databases of licensed interpreters used when making referrals to those in need.

Contacting video relay services may also be helpful. Video relay services hire many interpreters, as the demand for their services keeps increasing.

Deaf Job Sites

Deaf-related job sites often have some interpreting-related jobs listed. The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf may also be a useful resource for identifying job openings.

Discussion Lists

The large Yahoo group FindTerpjobs lists interpreting jobs.

Government Agencies

Federal government agencies will often list sign language interpreter jobs.

For example, at the time this was written, a check of USAJobs.gov turned up three sign language interpreter jobs. Individual agency job sites and state government agencies may also list interpreting jobs.

College Programs

Check the job listings of major college programs for the deaf and hard of hearing, such as:

To find interpreting jobs at other colleges, try higher education-related websites such as InsideHigherEd.com, Chronicle.com, and HigherEdJobs.com. Don't forget community colleges either -- they may have deaf services programs.

Interpreting Job sites and Mainstream Job sites

Yahoo: Terp-Jobs specializes in jobs just for interpreters. In addition, some large mainstream job sites may also list interpreting jobs. The best way to find them is to use the key phrase "sign language" in the sites' search boxes. I found interpreting jobs listed on Monster.com, Nationjob.com, and Hotjobs.com.

Public Schools

Last,but definitely not least, check your local public school systems' job listings. Schools tend to have a chronic shortage of educational interpreters.

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