Medical Interpreting Certificate

credits 15 | tuition $5,100 | scholarship* $2,100 | completion 8 months (2 semesters) | next start Fall 2022
| *
all non-traditional online students receive a $2,100 life experience scholarship; see below for details

Earn your Certificate in Medical Interpretation online and prepare for interpretation opportunities in health care settings. The 100% online program is designed for fully bilingual (Spanish/English) students to attain the needed skills for passing the medical interpreting certification exam after only two semesters. 

Students must be fully bilingual in English and Spanish to start the program. 

Interpreters are in high demand

Medical interpreters play a crucial role in health care settings and certified interpreters are in high demand. Interpreters have a significant opportunity to serve both providers and patients in a professional and ethical manner. They can greatly impact patient comfort and outcomes by facilitating medical conversations between non-English speakers and nurses, doctors or other medical professionals. Passing the challenging certification exam in medical interpreting maximizes your opportunities for profitable, flexible and meaningful interpreting work.


100% online. 8-week courses. Structured support.

As one of the only online cohort-based programs, Northwestern offers both the convenience and structure to be successful in a medical interpreting certifying exam such as the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI) or  Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI ). Northwestern's online medical interpreting preparation program keeps you on track, and provides individualized support from your instructor and among your cohort. 

Take one online 8-week class at a time, completing two classes each semester, and you'll earn your certificate of completion in 8 months (2 semesters). 


Admission requirements

To be eligible for admission, meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Send official transcripts from your high school or college showing at least nine completed credits by mail or as an official e-transcript to the admissions@nwciowa.edu
  • Complete a bilingual language verification conversation with the program director. 

About the curriculum

Obtaining a medical interpreting credential nationally recognizes your abilities to health care employers including hospitals, clinics and public health organizations. Northwestern's Medical Interpreting Certificate is designed specifically for preparing students to successfully pass the national medical interpreting exam. The program courses will also succeed the required 40 hours of workshop/instruction required to apply for the certification exam. 


The four courses teach the needed interpreting skills including sight translation, consecutive interpreting, and simultaneous interpreting as well as the necessary terminology and understanding of ethics. Students will learn tools and knowledge needed by professional interpreters, such as the technology available to enable remote interpreting, and how to handle oneself as a professional interpreter. 
Students can plan for 15 to 20 hours of coursework each week including: 

  • Practice materials
  • Audible vocab terminology
  • Real feedback 
  • Live tutoring practice sessions
  • Interactive video instruction
  • Written and audible assignments
  • Practice tests

Meet your instructor, Piet

 

 

Medical Interpreting courses:

SPA 371 - Medical Interpreting I: Practice and Translation
An advanced level course introducing the students to the complex field of medical interpreting. The first of four courses, students will become familiar with the three interpreting modes - sight-translation, consecutive interpreting and simultaneous interpreting - and will then focus on sight-translation; in addition, students will also learn the methods, techniques and problems involved in written medical translation. Students will work from English into Spanish and Spanish into English. All source materials will be medical in nature. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the T&I program as demonstrated by a high level of fluency in both English and Spanish. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
SPA 372 - Medical Interpreting II: Practice and Ethics
An advanced level course building on the skills developed in the introductory course for the complex field of medical interpreting. The second of four courses, students will focus on consecutive interpreting, involving extensive note-taking and memory skills; in addition, students will also learn the intricacies of ethics for medical interpreters. Students will work from English into Spanish and Spanish into English. All source materials will be medical in nature. Prerequisite: SPA 371. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
SPA 373 - Medical Interpreting III: Practice and Technology
An advanced level course building on the skills developed in the first two courses for the complex field of medical interpreting. The third of four courses, students will focus on the highly complicated skill of simultaneous interpreting (involving input and output at the same time) and continue their practice of consecutive interpreting; in addition, students will also learn about the different technologies and remote interpreting platforms that professional medical interpreters use. Students will work from English into Spanish and Spanish into English. All source materials will be medical in nature. Prerequisite: SPA 372. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
SPA 374 - Medical Interpreting IV: Practice and the Profession
An advanced level course building on the skills developed in the previous courses for the complex field of medical interpreting. The fourth of four courses, students will consolidate their skills of sight-translation, consecutive interpreting and simultaneous interpreting as they prepare for certification exams; in addition, students will also learn about the intricacies and challenges of working as a professional, certified medical interpreter. Students will work from English into Spanish and Spanish into English. All source materials will be medical in nature. Prerequisite: SPA 373. (3 credits; alternate years, consult department)

Total Credits: 15 credit hours

 


*Life Experience Scholarship

In recognition of the valuable life experience you bring to this program, all non-traditional students in our first online cohort (2022–23) will receive a $2,100 scholarship. The resulting total tuition cost of $3,000 can be spread out via a payment plan.
*The Life Experience Scholarship is not available for full-time residential students.  

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