Kim Johnson took her first American Sign Language classes at Western Nevada College 15 years ago. Today, she is a contractor for Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, specializing in sign language interpreting.
That launch into Deaf Studies at WNC set Johnson on the educational pathway to becoming a highly trained and national certified professional interpreter.
Whether they are interpreting from American Sign Language to English or vice versa, interpreters unlock a world of opportunities and services that wouldn’t otherwise be available to the deaf.
They provide a service that only a few can perform. Thus, they are coveted by a number of employers.
“Here in Northern Nevada, and across the country, the biggest need in interpreting services is qualified interpreters,” Johnson said. “Interpreters encounter all kinds of people in all kinds of places. The communication needs of all those different kinds of people and places vary widely and the interpreter must be able to meet those needs. This requires highly trained professionals who are exceedingly competent in American Sign Language and English, and whatever other language they are interpreting.”
Interpreters are becoming more necessary as federal laws are requiring that additional services be made available to the deaf. While many interpreters become employed in educational settings, they are also needed in social services, government, religion, medical, legal and business fields, just to name a few.
There has been a shortage of teachers in many school districts across Nevada in recent years. That shortage also includes interpreters, especially in rural areas, according to Will Jensen, an education programs director with the Nevada Department of Education’s Office of Special Education.
“The Nevada Department of Education, Office of Special Education, has worked cooperatively with the Aging and Disability Services Division for many years,” Jensen said. “The NDE remains committed to this relationship and will continue to facilitate collaborative opportunities between school district administrators and the Aging and Disability Services Division.”
The skills and knowledge to initiate a professional career in interpreting can be acquired at Western Nevada College. Individuals can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Deaf Studies by completing 60 credits.
Johnson has provided her skills to a variety of businesses: doctor’s offices, hospitals, government, workplaces, conferences, classrooms.
“Anywhere there are people, there may be the need for interpreters,” she said.
The two-year degree that WNC provides students, in many cases, will help grads become interpreters in schools, health care facilities and with public agencies. Grads can continue their education and earn a bachelor’s degree, and, more importantly, obtain certification by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf or National Council on Interpreting.
“While not all interpreting settings require national certification, an interpreter who is nationally certified will meet the requirements for most employment opportunities nationwide,” Johnson said. “For interpreters to take the national certification exam they must have a four-year degree from an accredited institution in any field of study.”
Registration for spring semester is happening now. Get started at www.wnc.edu/starthere/.
For more information, contact the Career and Technical Education office at 775-445-4272.
Community Invited to First Posada Celebration at WNC
This Christmas party is the first of its kind at Western Nevada College, and you won’t want to miss it.
Western Nevada College’s Latino Cohort is helping the community get into Christmas spirit by celebrating the first-ever Posada celebration on Dec. 16 at Carson Nugget Hall on the Carson City campus.
“It’s a Christmas party where family and friends come together and they have a big celebration,” said WNC Latino Outreach Coordinator Lupe Ramirez.
WNC’s Latino Cohort will be hosting the noon to 3 p.m. event with traditional activities for the entire family and authentic Latino flavor. Un evento autentico con sabor Latino!
There will be pinatas to break for children and adults, folkloric dancing, Christmas music in Spanish and traditional food such as tamales, posole and hot tea made of fresh fruits known as ponche that are served during La Posada in Mexico and Central America.
“Folkloric dancing is not traditional to La Posada, but I want to bring them to the campus so we can add more of the Latino touch to it and also to bring this group of folkloric dancers to our community because they are magnificent,” Ramirez said. “They look like they are coming from Mexico City. They have such a positive energy. Positive energy will help us all get into the Christmas spirit and be more joyous.”
In addition, there will be testimonials from students and parents who have been associated with the Latino Cohort and the Jump Start program. There also will be a tour of the Career and Technical Education programs.
“We’ll have alumni students who have been through those programs or who are currently successful in those programs to provide their testimonials and share with the community members how the programs have helped them be successful,” Ramirez said.
For more information, phone Latino Outreach at 775-445-3215.
Students Can Relax Over Break Knowing Spring Schedule Is Set
Students will want to register as early as possible to get the classes and schedule they want.
Here are some of the advantages of registering early:
Current students do not need to wait for fall grades to post before registering, and it’s easy to change classes if they change their minds before classes start.
Students stand the best chance to get the classes they need and want.
Payments aren’t due until Jan. 5, following the holidays.
Visit www.wnc.edu/class-schedule/ to get started.
If you are planning to attend WNC for the first time this spring, you should first apply for admission at www.wnc.edu/starthere/.
Spring semester begins Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.