Missouri Skill Level Standards for Sign Language Interpreters
The skill level standards are regulations in a document format that determine which certification an interpreter must maintain in order to work in a specific environment. These standards are not black and white, thus they are intended to be interpreted by the profession. Since each sign language interpreting assignment is different, these standards are not one-size-fits-all rules.
MT&A feels it is critical for the Missouri Skill Level Standards be interpreted by a reputable sign language interpreting firm who has the knowledge and expertise to analyze specific skills to a specific topic. Some settings are clear cut such as medical appointments, but others are not as simple to determine such as educational events.
Sign language interpreters must take the correlating test(s) to receive the below certifications. Once received, they must refer to the Skill Level Standards document to guide the assignments for which they may interpret. All of the levels are included below but some are no longer accepted or distributed in the profession sphere as indicated by an asterisk.
Master Certification = Master (Level 5)
Advanced Certification = Adv (Level 4)
Basic Certification = Basic (Level 3)
*Apprentice Certification = App (Level 2)
*Novice Certification = Nov (Level 1)
Intern/Practicum Certificate = See Form Here
Restricted Certification = RCED in Education (K-6) (K-6)
Restricted Certification = RCED in Education (7-12) (7-12)
*Restricted Certification = RCED in Education (General)
Provisional Certificate in Education = PCED
Provisional Certification (aka Learner’s Permit) = LP (This is accepted if you have passed the TEP but failed the BEI Basic at least once.)
Certified Deaf Interpreters = CDI
Other than Missouri certification, interpreters may hold National Interpreter Certification (NIC) or the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) certification. Missouri accepts the NIC as an Advanced Certification. The EIPA is accepted for educational interpreting in K-12. Some other states administer their own testing, but none of these are accepted in Missouri or Illinois.
General Guidelines to Determine Appropriate Settings
In general, an interpreter with a Basic certification may work in business, educational, and social environments. An interpreter with an Advanced certification may also interpret in medical and mental health settings. Interpreters with a Master certification may work in any setting. Certified Deaf Interpreters are most currently used most commonly in courtroom settings or other legal proceedings.
How to Determine the Stuff in Gray
Whether you are a sign language interpreter, business, or simply curious, contact a reputable sign language interpreting firm such as MT&A to find out what certification type a specific setting requires. It is critical for us to follow ethical guidelines provided through the standards and experts when determining appropriate certification levels.
Revision of Standards
The Board of Certification of Interpreters (BCI) periodically revisits the Skill Level Standards to ensure that the appropriate level of certification is working in specific environments. For example, originally the Skill Level Standards required that all interpreters working in medical environments needed to be a Master/Level 5; however, a few years ago they modified the standards to include Advanced/Level 4 interpreters as well. Again, these are meant to be malleable so that they can be updated to meet current needs.