BEI Sign Language Interpreter Educational Requirements

Every professional has different training and educational requirements as well as certification tests that must be taken and continuing education to maintain that certification.  It can get even more confusing when each state has different standards.  Lawyers, nurses, doctors, plumbers, electricians, dentists, police officers, and any other professional must know what those standards are to be sure they are not working illegally.  Sign Language Interpreters similarly must adhere to state standards of education, certification, and annual CEU’s.  The newest certification test upheld by Missouri and Illinois is the Board of Evaluation for Interpreters.  The BEI Sign Language Interpreter educational requirements are different in Missouri and Illinois, however.

The BEI in MissouriBEI Sign Language Interpreter Educational Requirements

Missouri requires sixty (60) hours minimum of college course work to apply for the BEI test.

Refer to the precise requirements below:

  1. To be eligible for certification in the Missouri Interpreters Certification System (MICS), each applicant must:

(B) Have completed a minimum of thirty (30) credit hours from an accredited college or university before taking the written test of English proficiency and have earned an associate degree and/or a minimum of sixty (60) credit hours from an accredited college or university before taking the performance examination. An applicant who is currently certified at the Novice, Apprentice, RCED, Basic, Advanced, or Master levels by MICS and applies for a higher level of certification is not required to meet this educational requirement. (MCDHH: Board for Certification of Interpreters)

The BEI in Illinois

Illinois requires a high school diploma or equivalent to apply for the test.  There is no required college level work.  Often, however, sign language interpreters with Illinois BEI certification cross the border into Missouri for work.  In this case, it is safer for interpreters to complete the sixty (60) hours of course work required in Missouri so they are legal if they accept Missouri work.

Other Educational Recommendations

You do not have to attend an Interpreter Training Program (ITP) or an Interpreter Education Program (IEP) in order to apply for the BEI certification test in either Missouri or Illinois.  It is highly encouraged, however, that you have related coursework and higher education to be qualified for much of the work sign language interpreters perform.

Please feel free to contact Hannah Hayes at with any further questions about the BEI Sign Language Interpreter educational requirements.


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