Qualifications of ASL Instructors
American Sign Language (ASL) is often cited to be "the fourth most used language in the United States" after English and few other languages. A quickly growing number of people in North America is interested in learning ASL. There is a growing number of ASL courses offered in schools from preschools to universities.
Courses in ASL Linguistics and Sign Language/Deaf Studies have flourished since the 1970s in parallel to the growth of ASL classes and instructors.
First ASL instructors in the early times were typically qualified native Deaf Ameslan. Today, more ASL instructors are expected to meet standard qualifications in this field.
Institutions should consider these standard qualifications when hiring ASL instructors who should meet the following criteria (which may vary slightly from a region to another):
- Native or, if not available, near-native (highest fluency) ASL (usually Deaf) speaker. A document or certification of a high score on ASL Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) or assessment conducted by a qualified organizations, such as Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf (Canada), Gallaudet University, and ASL Teachers Association (U.S.).
- Masters degree or higher, or if not available, Bachelors degree.
- In-depth knowledge of Deaf Culture and community, comparative linguistics, and interpreting issues. Has a strong background, interaction, and experience in Deaf culture and community of Deaf people.
- Experience in teaching ASL and using a standard curriculum (e.g. Vista Signing Naturally).
- a ASLTA or ASL Instructor certification or a degree in this relevant field, or experience equivalence. An interpreter certificate is not an appropriate qualification for teaching ASL.