Educational Interpreters: Buck the Low Wage, No Credential Status Quo

May 1, 2012


A major challenge of educational interpreting is quality assurance. Shelly Hansen outlines how those in and around the educational setting can actively drive change to support higher minimum requirements for educational interpreters on a state by state basis.

Most sign language interpreters at some juncture in their career will provide interpreting services in an educational setting.  As mainstreaming with an interpreter has become a commonplace approach to educating deaf and hard of hearing kids, there is a consistent demand for educational interpreters.

While more common, twenty-two years after the ADA and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (both signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990), there are still challenges faced by deaf children and their families in securing a Free and Appropriate Public Education.

One of these challenges is having access to a qualified, competent sign language interpreter.

Legislated Interpreter Standards

In the state of Washington, more than once in years past, bills have been put forward to establish standards for educational interpreters which would be phased in over time and require these sign language interpreters to demonstrate their proficiency thru national credentialing ie: NAD/RID/EIPA.   These bills historically have not been taken past committee.  This spring, during the recent 2012 WA legislative session, a group of three Deaf seniors from Snohomish High School successfully submitted HB 2765 for consideration.

WA HB 2765

Essentially this bill would have established a requirement for educational interpreters employed by school districts to successfully achieve minimum performance standards (as set by a professional educator standards board),  on one national written and performance assessment by the 2015-16 school year, and national interpreter certification (either RID or NAD certification) by the fall of 2018.  The full bill can be reviewed here.

The Challenge is Fiscal

Unfortunately, HB 2765 failed to reach the House floor.  Among the reasons cited for not taking it past committee was…budgetary.  WA state is currently experiencing a budgetary crisis, like many states in the aftermath of the Great Recession.   To put it bluntly, if you raise standards for educational interpreters, the cost for those professional services will most likely increase.

I saw a posting three weeks ago for an educational interpreter position in my area.  The qualification requirements include: HS diploma, proficiency in variety of sign systems and ASL with desired bilingual/bicultural Spanish skills.  The hourly rate is $13.78/hr.  In WA state the 2012 minimum wage is $9.04.  This is in dramatic contrast to the hourly rate of $85.08 which a freelance interpreter would need to be commensurate with the earnings of a public school teacher, as suggested by Theresa B. Smith, Ph.D in, Thinking About Money – Pulling Back the Curtain, 2009.

 Duty to Act

I would like to challenge educational interpreters in states that lack standard requirements for employment that include national credentialing to consider some kind of collective action.  Imagine a “Stay Home Tuesday.”  Promote utilizing available assessment tools (EIPA, RID).  Find your way to your legislators and state capitol.  Reject the status quo, work through your resistance and recognize the value of competency standards. Don’t ignore student efforts to secure a quality education.  Dialogue and join hands with colleagues on ways to expedite the establishment of professional standards in your state consistent with national credentialing trends.  Many sign language interpreters working in educational settings are already certified and their dedication and commitment to professionalism is to be commended. The students deserve to have qualified competent sign language interpreters commensurate with credentialed administrators, teaching staff, speech therapists, counseling staff etc…

Educational Interpreter Angst

Gina Oliva provides insight into the perspectives of educational interpreters in her recent Street Leverage article: Sign Language Interpreters in Mainstream Settings: Heartbroken and Gagged. In her post Gina suggests that  the collective voice of educational interpreters is the only hope deaf children have in remedying the many issues they confront in the classroom.  She suggests that sign language interpreters working in educational settings can do two very important things, one is to advocate for their students and the other is to bring a collective voice to the forefront in Deaf Education.  Advocating educational interpreter standards is a critical first step in support of positive student outcomes in mainstream settings.

State Requirements

Below is a listing of state requirements for educational interpreters.  It is difficult to find current information for each state and I would welcome updates from readers for missing or erroneous information on this listing compiled from various websites including the DOIT Center in Colorado.

Educational Interpreter Requirements

Alabama:  EIPA 3.5, RID Cert

Alaska: EIPA 4.0

Arizona: EIPA 3.5, RID Cert, NAD 3.0+

Arkansas: QAST 3/2 or 2/3, and written exam

California: EIPA 4.0, RID Cert, NAD 4+

Colorado: EIPA 3.5

Florida: RID Certification

Georgia: RID Certification, NAD 3+

Idaho: EIPA 3.5

Illinois: EIPA 3.0 (Note: 3.0 = Initial license, 3.5 = Standard License)

Indiana: EIPA 3.5, RID Certification, NAD 4+

Iowa: EIPA 3.5

Kansas: EIPA 4.0, QAST 4+,

Louisiana: EIPA 3.0

Maine: EIPA 3.5+

Michigan: EIPA 3.5 (may be upgraded to 4.0 pending review)

Minnesota: RID Certification, NAD 3+

Nebraska: EIPA 3.5, RID Certification, NAD 4+, QAST 4+

Nevada: EIPA 4.0, RID Certification, NAD 3+

New Jersey: EIPA 3.0, RID/NAD Certification

New Mexico: EIPA 4.0, RID Certification, NAD 3+

North Carolina: EIPA 3.5

North Dakota: EIPA 3.5, RID/NAD Certification

Ohio: RID Certification

Oklahoma: EIPA 3.5, RID Certification, NAD 4+

Pennsylvania: EIPA 3.5

South Dakota: RID Certification, NAD 3+

Texas: RID Certification/QAST

Utah: EIPA 3.5, RID/NAD Certification, QAST

Virginia: QAST 3+

Wisconsin: EIPA 3.5, RID Certification

Wyoming: EIPA 3.5+

At the End of the Day

I would like to encourage a collegial dialogue to assess whether sign language interpreters are complicit in keeping pay scales below professional wages by continuing to work without professional standards. Raising standards of interpreter competence has a direct impact on kids’ educational opportunities and access to academic and social content, which in turn affects their future opportunities as fulfilled, contributing citizens in a global market.

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75 Comments on "Educational Interpreters: Buck the Low Wage, No Credential Status Quo"

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Pamela Kiner

Ohio does not require educational interpreters to have RID certification. Currently, Ohio says all interpreters must have a license through the Ohio Dept. of Education. The district I work in, Beachwood City Schools, requires a 3.5 EIPA score to maintain employment. As far as I know, we are the only district in the state with this requirement. Hope this helps!


Hi Pam!
Thanks for the update. This list has been compiled over the past couple of years based on input from interpreters on (Resources tab) along with weblistings such as the DOIT program.
Appreciate your input! I’ll update my website. ;o)

As a working educational interpreter in Ohio I was surprised to see RID certification is required. As far as I knew that wasn’t the case. I thought only an ITP was required. I’m definitely going to look into that bill. I want to see a change! We still have working interpreters that only have a high school diploma and have been grandfathered in. Its quite frustrating to have a degree and RID certification and make the exact same pay. I agree 100% these students need qualified interpreters. Most if the time an interpreter is the only language role model, and… Read more »

Hi Ali! Thanks for comment! Looks like that is an error. Please do look into it and if you find a link to your state requirements for Ed terps, post in comments here. Have a great day!!!


Currently, Wisconsin’s EIPA requirement is 3.0. They do not require RID certification for educational interpreters because we have the EIPA and Department of Public Instruction licensure. They do require RID certification for freelancers.


Hi Kathy! Thanks for that info! I’ll ask Brandon if we can create and re-post an updated list of state educational interpreter requirments. Am adding that WI info to my list…!

Hi Shelly, Thanks so much for this post and for the data!! Nice to see data in one place. I have been scrounging around for a “total” nationwide number of working ed terps and number of DHH children receiving services. I was told by a person “in the know” at the federal level that the feds can’t really come up with national numbers because “the states count differently.” Let’s let out a collective big sigh. But anyway, so now I am trying to find state by state numbers. I know the numbers for Ohio from an article by Chris Monokowski… Read more »
Eloisa Williams

Gina ~ Washington School for the Deaf did a study in 2010 and the results are posted on their website . This is a report to the legislature on the status of education for deaf, deaf-bilnd hard of hearing children in the state of Washington. It may have the numbers you are looking for in our state.


Hi Eloisa!
Thanks for sharing that website. Sending you WA hug ;o)


Hi Gina!
Great! If you get info on other states, please share and post in comments here. I’m hoping we can create a new more comprehensive list from our dialogue here. I work as a sub educational terp and care about this issue. Have a great day!


Here in Texas, the Board of Education has required national certification or our state test, BEI, which has Basic, Advanced, and Master levels; however most ISDs get around the certification requirement by hiring interpreters as “signing aides” and the pay matches the title. This in turn causes the aversion by actual certified interpreters to working in the school system. This is one of the biggest frustrations, at least in the DFW area, for getting actual qualified/certified interpreters into the school system. I pray for a change to come soon! Thank you for posting this!

Hi Justin~ Thanks for comment! Hmmm…one thing that I wish there was easier access to is a program for Deaf/HH paraprofessionals/aides to become teachers as a mentorship program with a certified teacher. The challenges of becoming a certified teacher are significant and there are some fantastic Deaf/HH aides who are doing a large amount of actual teaching especially in situations where the Special Ed or Deaf Ed teacher has a limited signing background. Even if there could be a second level such as a Level 2 teacher vs a Level 1 teacher…something to increase the pay to reflect the actual… Read more »

Justin, you may want to explain what our BEI is, I believe it has been misinterpreted as our test not our testing agency.

Tina Fredrickson
Delaware has a new code as of May 2011. 764 Credentials for an Interpreter Tutor for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing 1.0 Purpose 1.1 This regulation shall apply to the requirements for a Permit, pursuant to the authority provided in Title 14 of the Delaware Code, for Interpreter/Tutor for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing in public schools. 1.2 No person shall be employed by a public school as an Interpreter/Tutor for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing without obtaining a Permit under this section. 14 DE Reg. 1222 (05/01/11) 2.0 Definitions The following words and terms, when used in this regulation, shall have the… Read more »

Hi Tina!
WOW that is awesome! Interesting about the 5 year grandfathering period. That is pretty long. Do you know anything about the process undertaken to get these standards encoded? Was this accomplished after repeated attempts or was there some impetus for this legislation? Curious… Thanks for posting GO DELAWARE!

Terp Christine
Currently, Michigan laws state that an interpreter must have a degree from an accredited institution or at least a QA II or above to work in the public schools. The interpreter law in Michigan states you must have a QA I or BEI I to work anywhere in the state. There is a proposed set of rules for who can interpret what, that has yet to be promulgated. The rules state for K-6, an interpreter must have a 4.0 and have passed the written EIPA. They will accept 3.5 during phase in. It sounds like those who have already passed… Read more »

Hi Christine~ Thanks for that info on Michigan..What does BEI stand for? B_____Educational Interpreter? If you are willing to share, I am curious what the pay rate is in Michigan for Ed terps. As far as getting the credentials and then advocating for better pay, I think that is a fairly successful approach, but only impacts specific school and districts. As far as statewide standards, that approach generally doesn’t reach the smaller rural districts. If you want to read a horror story see:

Thanks for your comment!

Terp Christine
BEI is a test developed as a state test in Texas and now being leased out to other states. They seem to be attempting to become a national test. Because the state is heavily invested financially in this lease, they seem to want to suddenly put it on par or above national certification as far as what you are allowed to interpret with which level. I consider the BEI a state test and a replacement for the state of Michigan QA, which was discontinued here in Michigan. BEI stands for Board for Evaluation of Interpreters. This test has no testing… Read more »

Hi Christine~
That is so great to hear a positive report on how setting/raising a standard is an incentive for increased skill levels=win-win for kids. Love it! Want to copy right over here. Thanks for the explanation on BEI…interesting! What is the reason the state would want to go to that effort when the RIDEIPA exams are available? curious….


Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI)

Susan Tapert

I am curious as to where Theresa Smith got the $85.00 hourly rate for teachers. As a certified teacher who taught in the public school system for years, I never earned anywhere near this rate.

Hi Susan! If you look at her paper using the link, it outlines a very detailed analysis to arrive at that figure. It is the hourly rate an interpreter would need based on the “hands up” hours a freelancer generally puts in (216 work days annually x 4 hrs per day average) which give you 864 billable hrs per year. To be the equivalent of a teacher’s annual package (benefits, sick leave, holidays, retirement etc…) the hrly rate would be $85.08. To earn the same as a nurse an interpreter would need to charge $109.69/hr. The teacher salary figure used… Read more »
karin butterworth
OREGON Minimum Standards for Sign Language Interpreters Serving Students in Public Schools Stat. Auth.: ORS 185.225, 343.041 Stats. Implemented: ORS 185.110, 185.225 Hist.: ODE 11-2008, f. & cert. ef. 4-21-08 A public school may employ or contract for the services of a sign language interpreter for a student only if the sign language interpreter meets the following minimum standards: (a) The sign language interpreter must achieve a passing score of 3.5 or above on the EIPA Performance Test or hold RID NIC, CI or CT Certification; and (b)(A) Hold a Bachelor’s or Associate’s Degree from an Interpreter Education Program or… Read more »

Hi Karin~
Thanks for all that great info! Will add Oregon to the list! Thanks for taking time to post.

Terp Christine

Karin, I have kept an eye on educational interpreter job postings in Oregon and Washington State because we would love to move out there someday but the pay rates I keep seeing are really, really low. Are some school districts better than others? Because, the credentials required do sound pretty high–wondering why the pay is not so great….

Don’t let CA EIPA 4.0/RID fool you. All you have to do is apply for a waiver. I’ve seen plenty of 3.0 to 3.5 “interpreters” working on waivers. A 3.0 interpreter has 60% accuracy!! And that is a qualified interpreter in many states??!! I have a 4.6 EIPA and there are still some concepts I struggle to get across. In CA, educational interpreters are paid more than an “aide” but still about half of the hourly rate as freelancers. Often, I see educational interpreters become certified and then leave the school setting so they can make more money. Sadly, in… Read more »
Hi Vanessa! Thanks for your comment and dual perspectives! It is an interesting juxtaposition between $13.78/hr and $85/hr in a classroom setting or even to compare with freelance interpreter rates of $30-65/hr. If an interpreter gets a MA in interpreting and has RID/EIPA certification, and 20 years of interpreting experience providing excellent language modeling for students and access to academic content, that should be rewarded with a salary closer to certificated staff. That is my opinion. Many interpreters would love the opportunity to meet specific standards in order to have a better salary and benefits package. Can you mainstream kids… Read more »
Vanessa, I agree most interpreters who prefer to work in education are not qualified. Educational interpreting is my passion and I am skilled and committed. I have a 24 year old son with a communications disorder and watched his fall through the cracks by teachers who supposedly did their job. Really, they looked the other way. This is why I choose to go back to college and acquire my 4 year degree… there is no excuse for this behavior. If having qualified, certified and licensed related services providers with BA/BS degrees being paid the same rates or more than teachers… Read more »

In GA you can also carry an EIPA 3.5 or higher to work. It has been proposed that interpreters will be required to carry licensure in order to be hired as an educational interpreter. To have licensure you will need RID Ceritification or EIPA 3.5(or higher) and an associates degree. No grandfathering will be allowed but districts may request a 3-year grace period to allow for interpreters to obtain their AA. This is being proposed and discussed this summer for implementation in October 2012.


Hi Jennifer~
That sounds great! Hopefully Georgia will do the right thing and set quality standards in support of deaf and hard of hearing students. Thanks for sharing your comment!!


And the $85/hr teacher pay is grossly exaggerated. I’m not sure where that stat came from, but often those are generated by taking your actual hourly rate (mine was around $35) and adding in retirement, health benefits, vacation, etc. They also add in those teachers with PHds and those that have been working for 30 years and are at the higher end of the scale. All of those things are great, of course, but your actual take home pay is probably more like $30-40/hr or less.


Hi Vanessa~
Click on the link in the article above to see the full paper by T. Smith.

She also analyses the cost for a plumber ($110-118 for 1st half hour, billed in subsequent 15 min increments) and the reason for the high cost: You are paying the plumber for their salary (take home wages), benefits and expenses. This rate does not include any parts. This is purely a time based service rate. Call you local plumber and see what rates you get…same with the heat pump repair guys…

Thanks for commenting!!!

Shonna Magee
I’d like to post a correction to the state of Florida. Currently there are no requirements for interpreters AT ALL, whether educational or community. It’s a sad state of affairs, honestly. Because of budget issues, the non-credentialed “interpreters” are typically given first pick of assignments, depending on the agency, as they yield the most profit for the agencies. Meanwhile, highly skilled interpreters who have degrees and certification(s) are during at home twiddling their thumbs contemplating a career change. We have no licensure laws. Anyone who had taken some ASL courses can literally go out and interpret here…and many agencies hire… Read more »

Hi Shonna~
Thanks for your comments and input on the status of standards for educational interpreters in Florida.

I’m thankful we have the EIPA as a tool to promote credentials and demonstrated qualifications to interpret in classroom settings.

I was one of those interpreters who got certified a few years into educational interpreting. I think I worked one year as a certified terp in a school setting and then switched to freelancing full-time. Increasing the pay and benefits along with levels of compensation that reflect credentials would help with retention of quality educational interpreters.

“Closer” being the operative word. After 7 years of teaching, I’m back to educational interpreting. My stress level, work load, and resposbility is at least half of when I was teaching. I don’t meet with parents, do IEPs, grades or manage behavior. And I don’t put in countless unpaid after school hours planning. As an interpreter I get to say, “ask the teacher”. My only responsibility is to provide quality interpretation. Sure, maybe I put in a few unpaid hours here and there. And of course there is no learning without the interpreter and we are important and should be… Read more »
Hi again! Thanks for posting…Interpreters bring a different skill set to the educational setting. Grading papers, setting ed. goals/IEP meetings, creating curriculum, interfacing with parents, testing etc…are one set of skills. Bringing content from one language and cultural perspective into another language with the intent of effecting understanding and educational benefit is another skill set. Interpreters provide insight into strategies that might work better with students, provide resources, facilitate direct rapport, support learning outcomes, prepare and research to interpret, maintain continuing education requirements etc… The jobs are different and are handled differenly by different individuals. You can have an outstanding,… Read more »

I am an interpreter in South East Tennessee where salaries start at less than $20,000 a year. The requirements are a high school diploma and knowledge of sign language, but our job description reads more like that of a classroom assistant. It is a struggle to keep qualified interpreters in our county because they can cross the state line into Georgia and make twice as much money. For years, we’ve heard rumors that things are going to get better, but we haven’t seen it yet.

Hi Darla! Thanks for your comment! Ouch..less than 20K for 6.5 hrs a day? Georgia is drawing terps due to standards and better pay. Seems strange since Tennessee is on the southern east coast…not like super rural uhhh South Dakota. Perhaps your RID chapter can encourage legislation for standards similar to other states. My question is if the interpreters are willing to accept those low pay rates and no standards, are they contributing to the problem? What can interpreters do to put appropriate pressure on an inadequate system so that it improves for the benefit of students?
Thanks for your response, Shelly. Actually, we work 7.5 hour days, 198 days a year. In my county, interpreters are not respected at all and are sometimes used in the classroom as a gopher for the teacher! The “powers that be” have no respect for us as professionals and they are clueless as to what we do or understanding the needs of the deaf students, etc. I suppose that the interpreters do contribute to the problem by accepting the low pay rates and no standards, but the current job market being what it is, we’re stuck. Gotta pay the bills… Read more »

I WAS an educational interpreter in FL. We have zero state requirements. I don’t know where it was posted that they require RID cert. It is based on a county-by-county standard. Many recognize the lowest state qualification credential (QA 1 or EIE 1), but some don’t even require that. The county I was in was trying to remove any qualifications for interpreters. They were even attempting to implement the use signing paras instead of actual interpreters for the purpose of paying even lower wages.


Hi Brian~
The info on Florida is from the DOIT website. It lists a tiered system of: Apprentice, Provisional, Provisional + 36 hrs and Proficient. To reach the Proficient level an interpreter must have an AA or AS degree and national certification in interpreting/transliterating.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us…perhaps some other Florida terps will also comment… ;o)



I believe that information was taken from an attempt to pass licensure here in FL. Even with all the effort put forth by various agencies, our state has unfortunately not seen the value and it has not passed. From what sources did the DOIT website collect their information?


Hi Brian~
It looks like a meticulously collected rubric based on individual sources such as key contact individuals, agencies, state websites etc…
Have a great MAY day!!



I looked into this further and it was taken from a past proposed licensure/regulation bill and nothing else I can find.

I wish that my state did uphold such standards, but as of yet, there are none.

Crystal Kramer
Montana Update: EIPA 3.5 Required, see ruling below: This ruling was only just recently passed, I attribute the success of it to all the buy-in our state had. We established a task-force including our Office of Public Education, public school administrators, Montana Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, our state School for the Deaf, and other entities. I highly recommend change-agents being approached in this manner. Although this ruling was passed, there is currently little $upport to fund pro. dev. for ed. interpreters- not in the state-budget level. I’ve found more $upport from my local employing school district. Thank… Read more »

Hi Crystal!
Thanks for that info! That is so exciting! WOW! Great ideas on getting a collaborative effort as impetus for change.
As far as funding professional development, is that a part of your new standards requiring x# of hrs or credits of prof. development, or is that optional? Curious… will look at the link you posted! Thanks ;o) (aside: My parents are from…Glendive and I went to kindergarten at the U of M ;o)



Here in New York there are no requirernments other that knows “sign language”. I live in a rural area and no one that hires the interpreter has any understanding or knowledge of interpreting so there is no, even local evaluation as to skill level. About ten years ago there was a push for training for educational interpreters and lots of workshops, etc. but that has fallen through the wayside. Salary for a RIC/NAD certified interpreter in this area is ~25,000. ~19,000 uncertified and nothing to distinguish those in between, getting cues or passing different evaluation levels :(.


Hi Michelle~
Hmm…does that mean the efforts in (2004, Marilyn Mitchell email to DOIT program) were unsuccessful? New York is a state with so many qualified interpreters…A tiered system that recognizes levels of qualifications and has compatible pay levels would address those concerns, however I think a minimum standard should be set to work as an educational interpreter. Many states seem to be setting an EIPA 3.5 as a baseline for employment.
Thanks for your comments! Maybe some action will come from this discussion! Crossing fingers.


I hope so. I believe that the push ended up getting tabled or the funds ran out or something. I am not 100% sure. I believe there is a bill going before Albany, but, as I understand it there are many concerns with regards to it and the limited number of Deaf and specialist in the actual area of interpreting on the committee. I plan on looking into this more deeply this summer when I have some time off.


Hi again Michelle~
Sounds good! You know the sign for “Deaf power”..the one with the hand over the ear and the fist out…we need one for “Terp power”…;o)

Tracey Frederick

Good evening, thank you for your posting!
You have listed Maine at 3.5 for standards. This is not the case.
one needs a 100 hours of both ASl and interpreting training. Scoring a 3.5 will waive the above.


Hi Tracey!
Thanks for the clarification! Hopefully we can post an updated list from all the input from commenters. Appreciate that!! ;o) SH


Wanted to add…also to post links people are sending in. Those are great to list with each state’s standards.

Connecticut does not require any specific certification for Educational Interpreting. However, any interpreter must be registered with the Commission on the Deaf (link to the statutes and summation below). K-12 Interpreters are also welcome to join a discussion group, K-12Terps. I started this group back in 1998 with 12 members and it has grown to over 600 K-12 Interpreters world wide. Dwight ———————| Sec. 46a-33a. Registration of persons providing interpreting services…. …(c) On and after July 1, 2001, no person shall provide interpreting services unless such person is registered with the commission according to the provisions of this… Read more »

Hi Dwight~
Thanks for posting info on Connecticut! That is great to read through! Looks like the minimum is an NAD 3 and passing RID written exam, or graduation from IPP and passing RID written exam. We will be creating an updated list and will include this info! Have a great weekend! SH

Minnesota passed it’s QA law for interpreters in 1994 and it was implemented in 2000 with the idea that if interpreters had six years to get certified, they would. Well, it didn’t happen that way so then the law was amended to provide for provisional licenses for those that were not certified. 12 years later, here is the current situation: Interpreters in pre-K-12 system must have: –RID or NAD 3+ –completed ITP from an accredited institution –recent ITP graduates may get a two year provisional license but they must have an education plan and mentor in place (and there’s specific… Read more »

Hi Jules~
Thanks for that great update on Minnesota! It is encouraging to see that many states do have standards and requirements that are working towards consistly quality interpreting services for kids and staff. Thanks for posting along with link!


Iowa requires 3.5 EIPA, or RID,NIC, CI or CT or CI/CT,older exams for RID as well. NAD III. This is for a permanent license. It doesn’t matter if you are community or educational all working interpreters, with the exception of religious interpreters, must have a license.
May I just say the biggest opponents have been educational interpreters.


Thanks for a great article.
Was wondering what your thoughts were on the RID Ed:K-12 certification.
RID requires passage of the EIPA written test and a performance assessment of 4.0 or higher in EITHER the elementary or secondary assessment (not both).
Does it seem misleading for an interpreter’s credential to read “Ed K-12” when they have not been assessed for K-12? Or is there a good explanation that I’m missing? Just curious.

Susie Stanfield
Kansas required only a 3.5 on the EIPA. An educational interpreter who has at least a 3.0 and an accepted Professional Development Plan on file at the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) will be considered by the state to be an “interpreter” and not a para. This entitles the local school district to receive a higher amount of categorical reimbursement for that staff member. Educational interpreters in my area, northeast Kansas, who have achieved “Interpreter” status, either by testing or filing their PDP, can often earn an average of $16-20 an hour. We do have an official Guidelines for… Read more »

Educational interpreters in Virginia are required to
*Possess a valid Virginia Quality Assurance Screening (VQAS) Level III; or
*Attain a passing score on the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) Written Test along with a minimum of a Level 3.5 on the EIPA Performance Test; or
*Possess any other state qualification or national certification (excluding Certificate of Deaf Interpretation) recognized by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of hearing (VDDHH) as equivalent to or exceeding the VQAS Level III.
(see Virginia Regulation 8 VAC 20-81-40 E. 1)


May I respectfully disagree with one statement of yours? Having only a high school diploma and being a sign language terp making the same pay as someone with all of the creditilals does not necessarily make the interpreter unskilled in the profession. Getting the information across to the client in the way it was intended can be achieved without a long list of credentials. That is not to say having said credentials are not wonderful just not the end all for communicating or interpreting for the clients.

KY. now requires full licensure to continue to interpret in any paid interpreting position, with the sole exception of religious settings. Temporary licensure can be granted for a limited time (2 years) and exceptions are limited to a one-time, one year extension. Full certification requires RID or NAD/RID certification. EIPA is allowable for temporary licensure but, as of yet, it is not considered sufficient for full licensure (not limited to K-12 settings). I find it interesting that many of the smaller school districts in the state offer competitive pay, while some of the larger districts (who pay teachers the highest… Read more »

Florida does not require an RID Certification to interpret in an educational setting. There is some variance from county-to-county but for the most part schools will take anyone with knowledge of ASL. In many schools, the person evaluating eligible interpreters often have very little or no extensive knowledge of ASL or the interpreting process. I know in some counties they require a QA but in others they don’t have any requirements. I would love to see the requirements in educational settings elevated to meet the needs of DHH students.


Day by day Technology in education system are developing. Without Technology we can to think a moment. You article is very helpful for us, which helps us to learn and inspire about Technology in education .

WV requires an EIPA of 3.5 for educational settings. However, WV doesn’t follow up on the requirement or reinforce. Interpreters within WV feel strongly on having interpreters reclassified as professionals. As service personnel, interpreters have little or no input on students’ IEP goals or language. It is sad to see the deficit in language and variation of ASL among students. The students in WV are so behind in education and lack of correct communication skills. According to KY, WV is 15 years behind in deaf education compared to our neighboring state. This is sad. Very few students even know ASL… Read more »

What about SEE interpreters?



Sadly, SC doesn’t have a requirement, unless someone can share the news that says otherwise. I would propose a House Bill to my local representative. It is any wonder that interpreters around here are becoming extinct! I only know of one free lance or two. The rest are interpreting in schools. It is really scarce around the SCSRA area.

Michele Marks
Florida has no standard for educational interpreters–or for any SLIs in any situations, that I have noted. I have been offered jobs across the board (I only have RID Ed. K-12 at this time). I have seen everything on the skills continuum in education here. One school district calls the interpreters “interpreter/helper” in the job title, and top pay is about $14/hr. I have refused to work directly for the school system in this state for those reasons. My EIPA means nothing in Florida. Parents have to be, first of all, invested in their children’s education, which includes recognizing the… Read more »

Forward-looking organizations committed to retelling the story of the interpreter.



(New York)