Health Care Interpreter

What will I learn in this program?

This certificate program is for bilingual and bicultural individuals who are interested in facilitating linguistic and cultural communication between patients and healthcare providers. The program is designed to train students to develop the awareness, knowledge and the skills necessary for effective language interpretation in health care settings.  Through academic preparation, practical skills training and service (internship) in healthcare settings, certificate  candidates learn a) the roles and responsibilities of a healthcare interpreter; b) basic knowledge of common medical conditions, treatments and procedures; c) insight into language and cultural nuances for specific communities and d) application of interpreting skills and protocols in English and the language of service.  The program focuses on face-to-face interpreting, but also includes instruction in video-monitored-interpreting technology.  Students will interact directly with patients, healthcare providers, and others involved in delivering culturally and linguistically appropriate healthcare.  Students may be exposed to people who are injured, chronically or acutely ill, or experiencing other major life-events.

What kind of jobs can I get once I complete the program? How much will they pay? What “demand” is expected for these jobs?


Average Annual Salary

Expected Regional Demand

Staff Medical Interpreter

31,200 – 52,000

Increasing due to recent legislation and increased demand

Per Diem / Contractor Medical Interpreter

31,200 – 40,000

Hours are not guaranteed.

Interpreting Services Managers/Directors

52,000 – 62,400

Small demand, since this is a management position.

Coordinators of linguistic and cultural services

40,000 – 55,000

Small demand.  The coordinator is generally an interpreter with seniority.

Bilingual staff in a healthcare agency


HCI training improves employability in a variety of medical and non-medical staff positions.


Does this program have any special enrollment requirements?

All students must attend a 3-hour orientation session usually offered during the months of  April and November. At the orientation you will be briefly assessed for fluency in both English and your Language of Services. Additionally, program applications are distributed at the orientation only. Although we do not require any previous coursework, we strongly encourage students to take 51, Anat 14 and Phys 12 prior to enrollment in the HCI program.

Does this program have any special costs?

Students should expect to spend between $100 to $150 in books and materials.  Additionally, internships are generally offered only during “business” hours, so students may need to take unpaid leave from other employment during that time.

How long will it take to complete this program?


Time to Complete*

HCI Certificate

2 semesters

*Based on full-time attendance or 12 units per semester

How do I get more information on this program?
Health Education Department:  Ocean Campus, Cloud Hall 363. Tel. 415-349-3220
Nora Goodfriend-Koven MPH, Program coordinator, Email, Phone: 415-452-5158