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American Sign Language

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American Sign Language Major

1,655 yearly degrees
#195 in popularity
$55,000 median salary

American Sign Language is a major that typically falls into the Foreign Languages & Linguistics category.

There are 141 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in ASL, 60 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 9 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 2 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting an ASL Degree?

This is a less frequently chosen major. Only 500 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language in 2017. The major attracts more women than men. About 88.6% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of ASL majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 1%
  • Black or African American: 6.2%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 8.7%
  • White: 75.6%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 0.5%
  • Other Races: 8%
American Sign Language Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in ASL. About 0.5% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending ASL majors to the U.S. are Hong Kong, Mexico and Canada.

What Will You Learn as an American Sign Language Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to ASL to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for ASL Majors

A major in ASL should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

Important Knowledge Areas for American Sign Language Majors

Skills for ASL Majors

A major in ASL prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

Important Skills for American Sign Language Majors

Abilities for ASL Majors

As you progress with your ASL degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

Important Abilities for ASL Majors

What Can You Do With an ASL Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with ASL:

Careers Related to American Sign Language
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Interpreters and Translators

17.7%

$49,930

Professors

9.4%

$65,660

American Sign Language Major Salary

Average salaries range from $55,000 to $77,000 for careers related to ASL. 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, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for an ASL Major  ( 55000 to 77000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )
$0
$200k

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for American Sign Language Major Jobs

Some careers associated with ASL require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much education do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to ASL have obtained the following education levels.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With American Sign Language
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma

0%

High School Diploma or Equivalent

1.1%

Post-Secondary Certificate

1.1%

Some College Courses

0%

Associate's Degree or Equivalent

11.4%

Bachelor's Degree

52.1%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

0%

Master's Degree

25.5%

Post-Master's Certificate

8.9%

First Professional Degree

0%

Doctoral Degree

0%

Post-Doctoral Training

0%

Online American Sign Language Programs

There are 60 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language, with 6 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Getting your degree online is not easy and includes watching and listening to hours of lectures, participating in group charts, submitting papers by the appropriate deadline and taking tests. Some online programs will also feature internships or in-person clinical hours.

Is an American Sign Language Major Worth It?

The median salary for an ASL grad is $55,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 42% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $326,600 after 20 years!

American Sign Language salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: PsiДҐedelisto via License

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