Deaf Studies Certificate

Why Choose Deaf Studies Certificate at CLC?

• CLC is the only institution outside of the metro to offer this unique area of emphasis

• Practice your second language without going out of the country. ASL is used right here in the USA.

• Become immersed in Deaf Culture and American Sign Language (ASL) by interacting with the Deaf community and Deaf mentors.

• Make yourself extremely marketable by adding this area of emphasis to ANY degree or technical program.

• CLC offers travel immersion trips in ASL to help students become more fluent in their second language.

About the Program

The Deaf Studies Certificate enables students to add an area of emphasis to any degree they are pursuing to make themselves more desirable to employers. Employers are looking to hire employees who are knowledgeable about our multicultural society. This 23-credit certificate helps students to learn about Deaf culture, in order to navigate our global and diverse world.

Students taking the Deaf Studies Certificate will also learn American Sign Language grammar, structure, and syntax while conversing. They will have opportunities to interact with people who are deaf and build a strong basis for learning ASL and using it in their future employment.

Program Information

Department Description: American Sign Language is the third most commonly used language in the United States, behind only English and Spanish. Students taking American Sign Language courses will learn grammar, structure, and syntax of this beautiful language. They will have opportunities to interact with people who are deaf and build a strong basis for learning ASL and using it in their future employment.

Department Learning Outcomes:

Graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate appropriate class level oral or expressive World Language skills.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and appreciation of cultural values, norms and traditions per specific World Language.
  • Demonstrate basic understanding that these differences have an impact on group relationships and interactions.
  • Demonstrate appropriate class level receptive and/or written World Language skills.
  • Demonstrate appropriate cultural rules of interaction when conversing in the target language.

Special Department Information:

Students desiring to learn basic American Sign Language and understand the culture of people who are deaf may elect to complete the Deaf Studies Certificate. This program will not prepare students to become interpreters, but covers the basics about ASL and deaf culture. This certificate is appropriate for students who are planning to enter, or are currently employed in, all areas of customer relations, including but not limited to business, education, criminal justice, interpreting or the medical field. Knowledge of ASL and deaf culture will help them to be more competitive for jobs as employers strive for diversity in the workplace. Students who complete this certificate will be in a position to use basic communication with colleagues or customers who are ASL users. Courses may also be used to satisfy interpreter training program prerequisite requirements at many institutions.

Program Course Requirements
AMSL 1410  American Sign Language I (4 cr)
AMSL 1412  American Sign Language II (4 cr)
AMSL 2410  American Sign Language III (4 cr)
AMSL 2412  American Sign Language IV (4 cr)
AMSL 2414  Conversation ASL (1 cr)
AMSL 2420  Deaf Culture (3 cr)
COMM 2420  Intercultural Communication (3 cr)

Special Program Requirements: In addition to the program requirements, students must meet the following conditions in order to graduate: 1. The cumulative grade point average (GPA) of credits attempted and completed at CLC must be at least 2.0 ; 2. Students must complete one third (7) of their credits at Central Lakes College.

Transfer Opportunities: The second language skills acquired in ASL courses enhance a student’s chance for success in any profession. Students looking beyond a certificate, or considering a future specialization in the field of American Sign Language Interpreting, should know that many institutions offering degrees in Interpreter Training will accept these courses as prerequisites to their programs.

Career Opportunities: The nationwide shortage of qualified ASL Interpreters in the United States is at an all time high and continues to escalate. With the passage of the ADA act, the public is required to make accommodations for Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing patrons. Sign Language Interpreters are the most sought after accommodation for D/HH people. Public schools, higher education, health care providers, hospitals, courts, public safety and other government offices are seeing increased demand for qualified ASL Interpreters.


Tanya Hoting-Mrazek

Tanya Hoting-Mrazek

American Sign Language Instructor
Phone: 218-855-8239
Brainerd E438

Student Testimonials

Mel N.

Getting my Deaf Studies certificate was by far, hands down, the best decision I have ever made! I not only learned a ton about a fascinating culture and language, I also I found out so much about myself. I now use American Sign Language every day. I have an in-home family childcare business and the kids absolutely love when we have signing time. The Deaf Studies certificate group is a close knit program that enables one-on-one attention, so you form relationships with your peers, with your instructors and the Deaf community. I have never felt more involved in any area of learning than in this program. I was not just a body in a seat. My education mattered. This benefit came as a direct result of the compassion and professionalism of the instructor. We were pushed to reach our goals. We were applauded for our efforts. I would recommend this Deaf Studies Certificate to anyone, anytime. They will take so much from it, and want more!

Missy K.

Starting my American Sign Language courses, I had no plan to earn my Deaf Studies Certificate. However, the more I immersed myself in the language, the more I wanted to learn about the culture. It isn’t just about their beautiful language of American Sign Language, which I would tell everyone to try and learn. It is about the people I met while in this program, both hearing and Deaf, that have become my “ASL family”. We shared laughter, we shared tears, and we shared more without saying one spoken word to each other, than most people can say in days of speaking. This bond develops between students and the instructor as well. I’ve never had an instructor be more involved, more willing to be a part of everything you’re doing, or more helpful. I now use the skills and knowledge I learned in the program working in the local school district. It is so rewarding every day waking up knowing I love going to my job.

Joseph L.

The impact the Deaf Studies Certificate has not only made on my life, but also with my career plan has been amazing. The Deaf Studies Certificate program made it possible for me to learn both American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture. This program has made me comfortable using ASL everywhere! Through my time at CLC I have been able to meet many Deaf people from the community and have been provided with a new “ASL family/community.” The faculty has provided me with so many opportunities to help me with my career as well and they are always willing to help. There are many aspects of culture that one does not think about until they are immersed in it, and this program and instructor has allowed me to immerse myself in Deaf Culture with Deaf mentors and students.

This program is organized and set up so well that all of these courses transferred to a four year institution and allowed me to transfer into an Interpreter Training Program as a Junior. This program is so informative and allows one to gain the experience, knowledge, and the skills that are needed to prepare them for an ASL Interpreting Program or to add this certificate to their chosen degree. This program has helped me and many others and I am so glad that Central Lakes College offers it!

Kristen P.

The Deaf Studies Certificate will be greatly beneficial to my future not only in my academic career but also in my professional career as well. The Deaf Studies Certificate has taught me how to be a better student and how to interact with the Deaf Community in the proper way. I will be going into my career with a wonderful understanding of the Deaf Community and their culture solely because I received the Deaf Studies Certificate. Taking the classes to earn this Certificate does not just include sitting in lectures and reading from a textbook, it also includes real life experience and gives the students amazing opportunities to be involved in the Deaf Community. The instructor does a great job at preparing her students for the next academic step and for the professional career work that comes along after.

Employment Statistics

For more information regarding employment statistics, career salary information and estimated job growth, follow the resource links below:

Gainful Employment – Deaf Studies

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