ASL Interpreter Pay:
Charles Blake Heisler
[This article takes a look at] what I now realize as what must be a barrier in the
education sector of the Deaf Culture. The ability of the men and women who
wish to dedicate their lives to a career of helping Deaf students and
Interpreting in a variety of settings to earn a decent wage. Since my paper
deals with a historical progression of Deaf Culture there seems to be one
area which has not fared well and that is the earning potential of
Interpreters. My readings indicate that there is no set standard and ones
credentials will bare more or less weight depending upon the State where he
seeks employment. There are member organizations at the federal level such
as the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the National
Association for the Deaf (NAD) which have accredited credentials they offer
upon completion of certain criteria. However in some States neither are
required. I do believe however that this will soon change. There is work
in progress to combine the resources of RID and NAD and consolidate their
certifications. For an example of one States attempt to determine pay for
Interpreters I'll share what has happened in Bibb County, Georgia. Bibb
County Public Schools salary schedule for ASL/English Interpreters. The
contract time is for 182 days and 8 hours per day. An Interpreter with a
state level credential in Interpreting and Transliterating but with no
Bachelor's Degree can expect to earn in the range of $24,722.88 - $31,973.76
annually. A Bachelor's Degree will earn an additional $1000.00 supplement.
An Interpreter with a Masters Degree will be granted an additional
$2000.00. A certificate of Interpretation by (RID) or a certificate of
Transliteration will earn a $750.00 supplement. If a Bachelors Degree is
associated with the Interpreters and Transliterators certificate the $750.00
supplement will be accompanied by an additional $1000.00. The beginning
salary is based upon a range of $25,669.28 - $33,196.80. The peak range is
the Certificate of Interpretation and Certificate of Transliteration with a
Masters Degree. The range here is $29,658.72 - $38,251.04 (Elton 2002).
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee prepared a "Salary Survey of Sign
Language Interpreters in Post-Secondary Settings"(2000). They list many
Schools covering many States so I will include a sampling beginning with the
University of Arizona. Their salary range is $23.5 - $27.5K with the
average salary being $26.5K based on a 10mo. contract. The University of
Minnesota's salary range is $23 - $35.2K and both 10 and 12 month contracts
are available. Virginia Tech Universities salary range is from $31.6 -
$36.9K and for a 12 month contract. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Labor
published the following estimate for Interpreters and Translators. The mean
hourly wage was $14.16 and the annual wage being $29,450. I included the
salary information in my paper and even though some of the salaries seem
rather adequate, I believe they are the exception and not the rule. A low
salary and the ever increasing liability which goes with being an
Interpreter I fear may discourage some people from this Profession. The low
pay however does not reflect the importance and reward that goes with this
(2003, April 29). Deaf Time-Line. ASLinfo.com. Retrieved 28, April 2003:
Govt. (1999) 1999 National Occupational Employment and Wage
Estimates-Interpreters and Translators. U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of
Labor Statistics. Retrieved 28, April 2003:
(2000, April). Salary Survey of Sign Language Interpreters in Post-Secondary
Settings. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Retrieved 27, April 2003:
Elton, Amy- BA, CI and CT. (2002, March). Georgia School System Establishes
Equitable Salary Scale. Lead Interpreter, Bibb County Public Schools.
Retrieved 27, April 2003.
Note: The article above is a portion of a
longer article. For the
see: A Timeline of Deaf
October 2008 Notes:
An interpreter who used to work for GIS (Gallaudet Interpreting
Service) for 15 years (including frequently interpreting for I.
King Jordan) before moving to Seattle, mentioned to someone who
mentioned it to me that back in October, 2008:
* Gallaudet University had three pay levels -- the top was 58 to 98
* In Seattle, Washington, most agencies paid 45 to 65 thousand
depending on certification.
* Experienced freelancers in Seattle earned 55 dollars an hour.
In a message dated 10/22/2008 3:22:16 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
a recruiter sent me the following announcement. I've removed
location related information since to position is no longer
Title: Sign Language Interpreter (Temporary) Job ID:
Disability Services Department, Main Campus Full-Time /
Salary Range: From $15.38 to $20.19
The Center for Disability Services (CDS) at The University of
welcomes applications for a temporary Staff Sign Language Interpreter.
Responsibilities would include:
-Providing Sign Language Interpretation/Transliteration for University
classes, lectures, meetings, and other campus events. Services provided
to undergraduate and graduate students including students in the Medical
School. (Approx. 20hrs/week)
-Provide mentoring and instruction for part-time Sign Language
Interpreters. Assist Coordinator of Deaf Services with pairing of
additional mentors and mentees.
-Help coordinate the daily tracking and assignments of interpreters.
-Assist the Coordinator of Deaf Services with performance evaluations of
part-time Sign Language Interpreters.
-Assist the Coordinator of Deaf Services in procuring, collecting, and
maintaining support materials for part-time Sign Language Interpreters
This position reports to the Coordinator of Deaf Services and is a
temporary, hourly, non-benefitted position. Hours per week is 30 to 40
(negotiable). Regular hours occur between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday-
Friday, however availability outside of these times may be needed.
Salary Range and Start Date: $15.38 - $20.19/hour (Annual Full-Time
Equivalent: $32,000 to $42,000) , depending on experience and
qualifications. Start date on or around November 1, 2008. Anticipated
ending date May 31, 2009.
For more information about CDS, visit http://www._____
An ability to communicate effectively with faculty, staff, and students
is necessary. The successful candidate will have strong collaboration
skills, effective problem-solving abilities, and demonstrated
flexibility. Minimum requirements are:
-_____State Intermediate (Level II) certification or equivalent. Lower
certification level may be considered for this temporary position.
-Associates Degree in Interpreting Sign Language (ASL), or related
degree. Bachelor's degree preferred.
-At least two years experience as an educational interpreter, preferably
in a post secondary setting.
-Knowledge and ability to apply the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct
This position may require successful completion of a drug test and
criminal background check.
How to Claim Vet Preference
Applicants claiming Veterans or Disabled Veterans preference must submit
a photo copy of their DD-214 and complete the _____ State Veteran's
Equal Employment Opportunity:
The University of Utah is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity
employer. Upon request, reasonable accommodations in the application
process will be provided to individuals with disabilities.
How To Apply:
Submit an online application at http://www._____ AND
submit a cover letter, resume, copy of current license/certificate and
names of three references to:
Director, Center for Disability Services
Center for Disability Services
FAX: (801) _____
Job Closing Date: This job closes on November 30, 2008, or when
Note: A couple years
later (October of 2010) that same recruiter contacted me back to
let me know that they had to put that particular position
offering on hold due to budget cuts. They offered it again later
and were finally able to hire a staff interpreter.
-- Dr. Bill