How to pick the right ASL program to fit your needs

Below are some considerations what to look for in a ASL and Deaf Studies program depending on what your goals and needs are.

Credit or non-credit ASL courses?

If your goal is to become an interpreter or earn a certificate in ASL/Deaf Studies, then take credit courses. As for your past-time continuing education or another purpose, you may consider a non-credit course.

Part time or full time?

Many colleges offer part-time studies in their ASL and Deaf Studies programs, in which they usually offer evening classes. This way you can maintain your daytime job. But, be sure to reserve some daily time outside classroom for signing practice and homework.

Foreign language requirement

If you are a university student with your major in any field other than ASL/Deaf Studies, a typical reason for taking an ASL course is to fulfill your foreign language credit requirement.

But, sometimes it can happen when a university student decides to pursue a career in ASL/English interpreting. Not all universities have a full-fledged program. Check if transferring your credits to another program can be accepted.

Quality of curriculum

Check if the ASL program meets the ACTFL-accredited curriculum standards. In this case, two ACTFL-standarded textbooks are "Signing Naturally" by Vista College in Berkeley, California, and the other "Master ASL" by Jason Jinza.

This curriculum follows the functional-notional approach to acquiring ASL. This practical approach means that classes are conducted completely in ASL.

No voice policy is firmly practiced, which helps the students attain a comfort level in receptive and expressive skills in an immersion environment.

Related posts

You may be also interested in where to take sign language / how long to learn sign language / qualifications to look for in an ASL instructor.

New to sign language? "Where do I start?" or "How do I start learning sign language?" This ASL Rookie guide lists some selected links to the tutorials for ASL beginners to get started and keep rolling. It may be a useful review for intermediate-level learners and ASL students as well.

Some tutorial pages are a mix of free and premium versions. Access to premium content and links below are available in the PatronPlus subscription. More links/posts will be added from time to time.

Expressing needs and wants

  1. Making commands or requests

Talking about activities

  1. Frequency of time: how often?

Are you able to carry everyday conversations in ASL? Are you a student in the intermediate levels and beyond, who wishes to boost up your signing skills? You've come to the selected tutorial series. (Some premium content are available to PatronPlus membership.)

Stories, poems, performance arts, etc. in sign language.

This documentation project follows a child's language acquisition, literacy development, and phonological acquisition in sign language, specifically ASL, from newborn to age five in a natural native-ASL environment and visual culture.