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American Sign Language Major

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American Sign Language

595 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
78 Master's Degrees Annually
#189 in Popularity
$55,230 Median Salary

Types of Degrees American Sign Language Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many American Sign Language graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Associate’s Degree 972
Basic Certificate 603
Bachelor’s Degree 599
Undergraduate Certificate 397
Master’s Degree 78
Doctor’s Degree 6
Graduate Certificate 5

What American Sign Language Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to ASL and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for ASL Majors

ASL majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • 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:

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  • 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:

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  • 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
Professors 9.4% $65,660

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in American Sign Language?

599 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
89% Percent Women
19% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 595 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language in 2018, making it rank #189 in popularity. This major is dominated by women with about 89% of recent graduates being female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of ASL Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 6
Black or African American 37
Hispanic or Latino 52
White 453
International Students 3
Other Races/Ethnicities 48

Geographic Diversity

ASL appeals to people across the globe. About 0.5% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • Canada
  • Hong Kong
  • Mexico
  • Jamaica
  • Japan

How Much Do American Sign Language Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

According to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education, students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ASL have a median salary of $29,300 during the early years of their career. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $26,950 (25th percentile) and $30,300 (75th percentile).

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It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to ASL.

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.

Median Salary for an American Sign Language Major  ( 55230 to 76990 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
0K
250K

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

How much schooling 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.

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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%
Bachelor’s Degree 52.1%
Master’s Degree 25.5%
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 2017-2018, 208 schools offered a ASL program of some type. 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) 77 2
Certificate (1-2 years) 70 1
Certificate (2-4 Years) 2 0
Associate’s Degree 141 2
Bachelor’s Degree 2 0
Post-Baccalaureate 77 2
Master’s Degree 9 4
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 2 1
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!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to ASL.

Major Number of Grads
Romance Languages 16,242
Linguistics & Comparative Literature 8,641
East Asian Languages 2,323
Classical Languages & Literature 1,633
Germanic Languages 1,563
Slavic, Baltic & Albanian Languages 640
Middle Eastern Semitic Languages 568
Foreign Language, Literature & Linguistics (Other) 504
Native American Languages 45
Southeast Asian & Pacific Languages 26
African Languages 10
South Asian Languages 8
Greek Language & Literature 6
Celtic Language & Literature 6
Iranian & Persian Languages 6
Turkic & Central Asian Languages 2

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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