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.