What are the requirements to be a medical interpreter?

Basic qualifications for a Medical Interpreter

To become a competent medical interpreter, the basic qualifications to enroll in most medical interpreter programs are:

+ Fluency in 2 or more languages

+ Must be at least 18 years old

+ Have a U.S. high school diploma (or GED), or its equivalent from another country

+ Complete 40-60 hours of medical interpreter training (hospital requirements may vary)

The basic requirements will vary depending on the institution, and thus it’s recommended that after initial medical interpreter training, the person should continue to acquire a national or state medical interpreting certification. Additionally, depending on the language combination, the requirements and the rate per hour are subject to change. In general, hospitals require certified medical interpreters who have also taken medical translation courses, since the job might require written translation to document community health encounters or other paperwork.

Medical Interpretation Programs

In general, medical interpretation programs for beginners provide a certificate upon completion.  This means the individual is not a certified medical interpreter.  However, having completed the minimum hours of medical interpreter training, they’re prepared to take the certification exam by any accredited entities. The main difference between these academic certificates, is that a certificate is for newcomers and a certification has an on-going requirement to maintain it.  Professional experience is required and typically results in credentials to be listed after one’s name. For any language professional specializing in medicine, medical interpreter training must be on-going in order to receive the best opportunities and likelihood of a salary increase. In this field, you need experience and continuous study to maintain medical interpreter certification credentials and stay updated on relevant procedures, as well as medical terminology in both languages.

Upon successful completion of the medical interpreter training program, candidates qualify for the national certification exam, which is recommended in order to become a distinguished, in-demand medical interpreter.

The average salary for a Medical Interpreter in the US

The average salary for a Medical Interpreter is $24.35 per hour in the United States. On average, a Certified Medical Interpreter makes $15.17 more an hour than a non-Certified Medical Interpreter. For this reason, although some employers do not require the certification, it certainly demonstrates professional competence to potential hospital employers.

Overall, the industry outlook is demonstrating a growth rate of 42% (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) for interpreters and translators.  This will mean great opportunities for those in the early stages of this profession and a prosperous career outlook for experienced translators over the next 5 years.

Get the necessary, in person training in order to become a competent professional interpreter. Register now for one of our interpreter training programs: Medical Interpreter TrainingLegal Interpreter Training or Community & Business Interpreter Training.

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