Committee Chair

Miller, Ted L.

Committee Member

Bernard, Hinsdale; Freeman, John; Winston, Betsey


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The general purpose of this study was to investigate effective practices of interpreting education programs in the United States as measured by the readiness to credential gap. The increasing demand for interpreters has created an environment with under-credentialed interpreters and this is compounded by the fact that the field of interpreter education is relatively new and little research has been done regarding interpreter education. There has been much dispute as to the content and experiences sign language interpreting programs need to include, but there have been no clearly identified characteristics of successful interpreter education program s shown to result in graduates who emerge as competent practitioners ready for credentialing. This research identified the readiness to credential gap of programs across the United States and studied characteristics of these programs that are contributors to facilitating graduation success in the credentialing process. When considering the current readiness to credential gap as determined by this study, it is important to note that the gap differs depending on if a graduate is exiting a two-year program or exiting a four-year program. Also there is a difference in the gap based on earning state or national credentials. Findings revealed that graduates earned state level credentials up to two years faster than national level credentials and graduates from four-year programs earned credentials at a faster rate than graduates of two-year programs. Curricular factors that have the largest impact on credentialing rates were the presence of Service Learning and extent of Practicum. Both curricular activities involved extensive real world application of the skills initially acquired in the class-based setting. The study outcomes support practice and application of basics skills in the context within which the skills will be used. “Other than curricular” characteristics that impact credentialing include type of programs, faculty characteristics and out-of-class learning experiences. Conclusions from the study were that first, two-year interpreting programs need to be restructured to better align their curriculum to facilitate student transfer into baccalaureate-level programs. Second, because it is clear that faculty roles are deemed critical, much more needs to be known about the necessary qualifications and skills of faculty. Educational opportunities that foster faculty development need to be expanded. Third, classroom instruction alone is insufficient to produce prepared practitioners and students in training profit substantially form long-term, field-based experiences such as practicum and service learning. Fourth, several literature-based speculations about conditions of education programs that might influence student outcomes (e.g., lack of facilities and characteristics of classroom instruction) were not borne out by the results of this study. Finally, interpreting education programs need to develop and maintain better tracking systems to allow continued investigation into the outcomes of training programs.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




American Sign Language; Interpreters for the deaf


Educational Leadership

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




xii, 143 leaves