Sign Language / Deaf Studies

What to expect from a career working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Working with the deaf is challenging but rewarding, particularly if you know someone with a hearing disability. Sign language and deaf studies programs at Ontario colleges offer a variety of focus areas in working with the deaf, but will all teach students practical skills that can be applied to a number of career paths.

If you’re interested in deaf studies and the Deaf community, and see yourself working in one of the many careers that follow from it, here’s what you need to know.

Sign Language and Deaf Studies Courses

Areas of study working with the deaf or hearing impaired include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Deaf Studies and ASL (American Sign Language). Examining social issues affecting Deaf culture and introducing the sign language skills necessary to communicate effectively with deaf people in business, education and community settings.
  • ASL – English Interpreter and Literacy Instructor. Refining sign language skills and training students to become sign language interpreters and instructors through lab work and Deaf culture and assessment studies.
  • Intervenor for Deaf-Blind Persons. Theory and practice prepare students to work with people who are both deaf and blind, helping them interact and access information.

Programs often include field placements where students will apply the patience and problem-solving skills they’ve developed to real-world situations. Be sure to read each program’s details carefully to find the area of study that’s right for you.

General Sign Language and Deaf Studies Program Requirements

An Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, which includes a grade 12 English credit, is required for all sign language and deaf studies programs at Ontario Colleges. Additional requirements might include senior science or math credits.

Some programs are designed for students who already have basic ASL skills, and will therefore require students to demonstrate their abilities in order to be considered for the program.

Sign Language and Deaf Studies Jobs and Salaries

Common careers in the sign language and deaf studies field include ASL interpreters, literacy instructors and deaf-blind intervenors for both children and adults. There are opportunities in a variety of settings, such as government agencies, social services, community agencies, educational institutions, residential settings (as a freelancer) and more.

Intervenors, instructors and interpreters have a specialized skill set that is always in demand. The average starting salary for this field is around $30,000 per year.

Ontario Colleges Offering Sign Language and Deaf Studies Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of sign language and deaf studies programs at Ontario colleges.

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