American Sign Language
Types of Degrees American Sign Language Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many American Sign Language graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What American Sign Language Majors Need to Know
People with careers related to ASL were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.
Knowledge Areas for ASL Majors
This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:
- Foreign Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of a foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Skills for ASL Majors
ASL majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Abilities for ASL Majors
As a ASL major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:
- Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
What Can You Do With a American Sign Language Major?
People with a ASL degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Interpreters and Translators||17.7%||$49,930|
Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in American Sign Language?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of ASL majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||4|
|Hispanic or Latino||13|
Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in ASL. About 2.2% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- Hong Kong
How Much Do American Sign Language Majors Make?
Master’s Degree Starting Salary
The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree in ASL was $51,400 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $51,400 (25th percentile) and $51,400 (75th percentile).
Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a ASL degree.
Salaries According to BLS
ASL majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $55,230 to $76,990 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to American Sign Language
Some careers associated with ASL require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
Find out what the typical degree level is for ASL careers below.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||1.1%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||1.1%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||11.3%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||8.9%|
Online American Sign Language Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 204 schools offered some type of American Sign Language program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||81||2|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||71||1|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||2||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||2||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||0||0|
Is a Degree in American Sign Language Worth It?
The median salary for a ASL grad is $55,230 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 38% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $306,600 after 20 years!
Majors Related to American Sign Language
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to ASL.
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
- Image Credit: By PsiДҐedelisto under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.