Group of HCI Graduates posed together


The curriculum for this 16-unit Health Care Interpreter (HCI) Certificate is designed to train bilingual/bicultural students to become linguistically and culturally competent interpreters who can function effectively and efficiently in healthcare settings. Through academic preparation, practical skills training and service in community based health care settings, certificate candidates learn interpreting skills in English and a Language Of Service (LOS). Both California and National Standards of Practice are included in the instruction. Graduates find employment interpreting in hospitals, clinics, or freelancing for remote and onsite interpreting agencies.  This program complies with all training standards described by the National Council for Interpreting in Health Care.  Up to four different languages are offered each semester depending on number of applicants.  Maximum of fifteen students (who share the same language-pair) will be admitted during any semester.

The CCSF Health Care Interpreter Certificate (HCI) is widely accepted by hospitals and clinics in Northern California. Additionally the HCI program will program will provide students with the required skills and knowledge for success in the 2 National Certification Exams listed below. Previous HCI graduates who have taken these exams have done extremely well.Graduates of the HCI program may choose to take these 2 National Certification examinations which are relatively new and not currently required by hospitals. Both exams require training and experience before the examinations.

Currently there is not a California state certification for Health Care Interpreting, although there is one for Medical Interpreting Certificate used exclusively for legal/medical issues (like Workers Comp).

CAREERS: Most California Interpreters are HCI's and work as freelancers in a variety of settings; public, private and university hospitals, outpatient clinics, health plans, mental health services, telephone interpreting services, language services agencies, small enterprise opportunities. For more information about Careers for HCI graduates see the FAQ section.

CREDIT CURRICULUM: The Curriculum for the Health Care Interpreter Certificate is designed to train bilingual and bicultural students to develop the awareness, knowledge and skills necessary for effective language interpretation in health care settings.  Through academic preparation, practical skills training and service in community based health care settings and educational organizations, certificate candidates learn:

a) roles and responsibilities of a health care interpreter;
b) basic knowledge of common medical conditions, treatments and procedures;
c) insight in language and cultural nuances for specific communities;
d) application of interpreting skills in English and language of service.

Admission Requirements

  1. Proficiency in English and an additional language
  2. Passing grade required in introductory course-HLTH 84, Introduction to Healthcare Interpreting (.5 unit)
  3. Submission of written application distributed at HLTH 84
  4. Priority is given to those who have successfully completed at least three units of the following recommended courses: ANAT 14; HIT 51; HLTH 6; HLTH 10; HLTH 25; HLTH 27; HLTH 53; HLTH 66; HLTH 67; HLTH 91C; HLTH 95; HLTH 171; PHYS 12.
  5. Assignment by program coordinator to a specific LOS group with a proposed semester of admission.

Again, priority admission is given to those who have successfully completed at least three units of the following recommended courses:


HIT 51










HLTH 171


Required Courses
Following the sucessful completion of HLTH 84, students enroll in:
HLTH 80 Interpreting in Health Care Settings I                  6.5 Units
HLTH 81 Interpreting in Health Care Settings II                 6.0 Units
HLTH 82 Field Experience in Health Care Interpreting    3.5 Units


Requirements for Certificate of Accomplishment.

Each required course must be completed with a grade of C or higher. Where applicable, grades of Pass may be used.  Students who are multilingual must participate in their strongest LOS.

All courses must be completed within a two-year period. Any student who withdraws from the program after successfully completing HLTH 80 must submit a HCI program withdrawal form.  Any student wishing to take HLTH 81 and 82 twelve months or more after completing HLTH 80 must submit a written reinstatement request to the program.
Any student who receives a grade less than a “C” in HLTH 80, must re-apply for admission to the program in subsequent semesters.


Students must complete a 45-hour internship as part of the HLTH 82 course.  The HCI program will arrange and/or approve placements.

For more information see the FAQ section, call the program directly at (415) 452-5158 or the Health Education Department at (415) 239-3220.

Courses for Graduates of the Healthcare Interpreter Program:

Health 91N Coaching Healthcare Interpreters is an 1 unit course that focuses on how to coach emerging interpreters in integrating medical terminology in various languages to their vocabulary, how to create activities that assist the memorization of terminology and how to set up, facilitate and debrief role-plays in which the skills of interpreting are practiced. This course is only available to HCI graduates. 

Health Care Interpreter Students have internships at the following placement sites:

Kaiser Permanente -San Francisco

Kaiser Permanente-Oakland

Kaiser Permanente-Richmond

Kaiser Permanente-Santa Rosa

San Francisco General Hospital

Alameda County Medical Center, Highland Hospital

Newcomer Health Program, SFDPH

Saint Francis Memorial Hospital

Stanford Medical Center