Skip to content

Special Education: Educational Interpreting concentration Major Guide for 2016-2017

What is Special Education: Educational Interpreting concentration

An educational interpreter facilitates communication between deaf students and non-signing members of the school community, including teachers and hearing classmates. Mastering American Sign Language and manually coded forms of English, educational interpreters also possess knowledge of deafness which makes them a valuable resource to other school personnel. In addition, with course work in deafness, education and general special education, graduates of this concentration provide valuable services to deaf clients in a variety of settings.

Career Opportunities in Special Education: Educational Interpreting concentration

Sign language interpreting is a rapidly expanding field. Schools, government agencies, and private businesses employ interpreters. Interpreters work in a variety of settings including medical, legal, religious, mental health, rehabilitation, performing arts, and business. Part-time, full-time, freelance, and salaried positions are available in most metropolitan areas across the country as well as in most school systems.

Salary Trends in Education Interpreting

Salary can vary based on education, experience, geographic location and specific position. For the most up to date salary information in various related careers, please refer to the following links: – Occupational Outlook Handbook – Career Services Final Destination Survey  – 2014-15 Results

High School Preparation

Students must complete the basic college track programs to be admitted to the university. High school guidance counselors are familiar with UT’s admissions requirements. High school is a critical period for vocational exploration and preparation. Students considering educational interpreting as a career should seek out opportunities that would expose them to the deaf and hard of hearing community and to the professionals who serve this population.

How to Major in Special Education: Educational Interpreting concentration

Following acceptance to the university students should contact the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences Office of Student Services at (865) 974-8194. Students indicating an interest in Educational Interpreting will be assigned to and work directly with a faculty member in the educational interpreting program.

Requirements for Special Education: Educational Interpreting concentration

Progression to the Educational Interpreting Concentration requires a 2.7 cumulative GPA after a minimum of 30 semester hours of course work and completion of American Sign Language 111 and 112 with a grade of “B” or better in both courses. A Board of Admissions will meet once each fall and spring semester to review applications and conduct interviews with each applicant. Students admitted to the program must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 while in the program. Students with less than a 2.7 GPA for two consecutive semesters will be dropped from the program. Students who fail to meet the standards for professional conduct during the course of their field work will not be retained in the major.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

During the senior year, students complete a 285 clock hour field experience. Students work twenty hours a week with a mentoring professional interpreter in a K–12 setting or at Disability Services on campus. Students shadow a mentor interpreter, complete observations, and are involved in regular feedback sessions. During the semester, students move towards interpreting a full work day schedule.

Highlights of Special Education: Educational Interpreting concentration

The educational interpreting program has strong field-based components imbedded in the curriculum. These allow students the opportunity to explore a variety of experiences in the deaf community throughout the program. Students have access to events held at Tennessee School for the Deaf and the Knoxville Center of the Deaf, both located within five miles of the UT campus. Interpreting students are encouraged to take an active role in the Student Organization for Deaf Awareness (SODA) while in the program. Students have the opportunity to take part in annual events with the deaf community that includes:

  • Dollywood Deaf Awareness Days
  • The Dogwood Arts Festival – Very Special Arts Festival
  • InterAct Children’s Theatre for the Deaf
  • Tennessee Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (TRID) Conference

Involvement in these programs provides students with valuable practical experience in the field of interpreting.

Ready for the World

Students majoring in Educational Interpreting learn not only the language but the culture of the Deaf Community. The Deaf culture has been researched and found to be a collectivist culture like many world cultures. Students learn cultural etiquette and standards making them more flexible and aware of cultures other than their own.

Additionally, please note that The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors.

Consult an academic advisor early in your academic career about the best time for you to study abroad as well as what courses you may need to take. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.  Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.


Experience Learning

Experience Learning LogoExperience Learning is a bold new initiative with the goal of transforming the educational student experience at the University of Tennessee. Over a five-year period, UT will transform our culture to give students more opportunities to be involved in civic engagement, solve complex real-world problems, and contribute to the welfare of their communities as part of their regular course work.

The purpose of Experience Learning is to help students apply the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom to real-world challenges. Experience Learning also seeks to engage student learning through direct experience and intense reflection to increase knowledge, acquire lifelong learning and problem-solving skills, and elucidate values.

Learn more about Experience Learning.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Universal Tracking (uTrack) is an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. uTrack requirements only affect full-time, degree-seeking students who first entered Fall 2013 or later. uTrack does not apply to transfer students who enter prior to Fall 2015.  In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, click here.

For More Information

College of Education, Health and Human Sciences
Special Education: Educational Interpreting
A332 Claxton Complex
Knoxville, TN 37996-3442
(865) 974-8194


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.