Interpreter, Sign Language

License required by 22 states

7th most burdensome licensing requirements.

55th most widely and onerously licensed occupation.

Sign language interpreters translate or transliterate sign language into another language or vice versa.1

Twenty-two states license sign language interpreters. On average, these laws require aspiring sign language interpreters to pay $661 in fees, demonstrate almost three years (1,088 days) of education and experience, and pass two exams—the seventh most burdensome requirements of the 102 occupations studied here. However, because sign language interpreters are licensed by less than half of states, the occupation ranks as the 55th most widely and onerously licensed.

License requirements are somewhat consistent across states. All licensed states require two exams, and nearly all (20) set a minimum age of 18. Sixteen also require a bachelor’s degree and 40 hours of interpreter education. Arkansas and Mississippi, however, require only payment of a fee ($170 and $225, respectively) in addition to the two exams.

States With Licenses

Burden Rank State States Licensed Fees Estimated Calendar Days Lost Education Experience Exams Minimum Grade Minimum Age
1 Maine 22 $1,016 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 12 18
2 Illinois 22 $900 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 12 18
3 Arizona 22 $820 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 12 18
4 Nevada 22 $675 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 12 18
5 North Carolina 22 $938 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
6 New Hampshire 22 $875 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
7 Kentucky 22 $850 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
8 Iowa 22 $795 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
9 Wisconsin 22 $750 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
10 New Mexico 22 $740 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
11 Indiana 22 $725 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
11 South Dakota 22 $725 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
13 West Virginia 22 $720 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
14 Rhode Island 22 $700 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
15 Connecticut 22 $675 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
15 North Dakota 22 $675 1469 4 years and 40 clock hours 2 0 18
17 Missouri 22 $438 420 60 credit hours 2 0 18
18 Alabama 22 $580 0 2 12 18
19 Nebraska 22 $345 0 2 12 18
20 Utah 22 $210 0 2 0 18
21 Mississippi 22 $225 0 2 0 0
22 Arkansas 22 $170 0 2 0 0

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