Full-time Sign Language Interpreting Career

As you may have read in Understanding Sign Language Interpreting Careers, we work when our clients need us. Because of this, sign language interpreters should carefully consider where they choose to work. Each interpreter should recognize their individual lifestyles, preferences, and ethics. (For more on ethics, see our blogs on Ethics Basics 1- Code of Ethics, Ethics Basics 2- Self-care, and Ethics Basics 3-Personal Life Changes.) There are several jobs to consider when pursuing a full-time sign language interpreting career.

full-time sign language interpreting careerJob Opportunities

Below is a list of some of the general sign language interpreting job opportunities most common to the St. Louis, MO Metro area. They offer traditional full-time employment.

NOTE: The information provided herein is assumed to be common practice, and may vary per location. As with any employment, be sure to consider your lifestyle/childcare, rate of pay, and use of benefits in your overall financial package.

  • Education: A full-time sign language interpreting career with benefits is typically found in larger school systems or districts. If you are interested in learning more see our additional resources below, and consider looking at Special School District (SSD) or Francis Howell School District. Full-time sign language interpreting careers in schools occur during typical school hours, but may have additional duties assigned. Interpreters may be placed with elementary, middle school, or high school students.

Post-secondary positions are not usually as structured as K-12. Therefore, it is not uncommon for services to be subcontracted out           to an agency. (Refer to our blog about community sign language interpreting careers.)

Most educational interpreting can be performed with a BEI Basic Certification.

  • VRS/VRI: In VRS you can either have a full-time sign language interpreting career or a part-time career. For full-time positions, interpreters often provide VRS office staff their individual preferred schedule. Then the office staff does their best to schedule within those preferences. When working in VRS, interpreters will likely be interpreting an entire shift verses two (2) hour blocks which is common in community interpreting. Thus, if an interpreter is scheduled 8 hours, they will interpret 8 hours. They will often take a 10 minute break each hour and a 30-minute lunch break.

A full-time sign language interpreting career in VRS is known for enhancing interpreting skills quickly, but it is also known to be taxing on the body and the mind. Interpreters may interpret a birth announcement on one call and a 911 emergency on the next. Self-care is crucial to accurate interpretations and reduction of burnout.

Many VRS call centers also handle VRI calls, so interpreters will likely handle these calls if they work in VRS. VRI may also be handled at the community interpreting level.

VRS positions usually require a certification of BEI Master, BEI Advanced, or National Certification.

There are options for a full-time sign language interpreting career. They include but are not limited to the options above. Sign Language Interpreting is an expansive, ever changing field.

Additional Resources:

Missouri Certification Levels

Special School District

Francis Howell School District

BEI Website

MCDHH: Skill Level Standards in Missouri

RID: National Certification

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