Skip Navigation
CSUSM logo
Extended Learning
Individual Courses
Admissions, Aid & Services
Osher 50+

Healthcare Interpreting

Offered Online


If you are bilingual and working in a position that may require you to be a liaison to someone who has limited or non-English-speaking proficiency, this program will give you the skills to become an invaluable resource to your patients, community and organization.

  • Enter a growing field

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of trained interpreters and translators is projected to grow 29 percent from 2014 to 2024

  • Learn from the best

    Learn from licensed industry professionals who teach the program and facilitate interactive exercises and lectures

  • Learn faster

    This program is designed to help you learn faster with comprehensive study materials and interactive class structures

  • Become a qualified interpreter

    Help facilitate communication for your non-English-speaking patients and family members with doctors, nurses and other medical staff

Program Details


    This program is designed for:

    • Those who speak English and at least one other language and who are looking to start or advance their career
    • Those working in healthcare or another industry that serves non-English-speaking customers or patients
    • Those responsible for ensuring your organization provides language-accessible services to all patients

    Course Dates Registration

    Healthcare Interpreting

    Sept. 1 - Dec. 10, 2020
    (no class Nov. 24 or Nov. 26)

    Healthcare Interpreting 

    Course Details

    • Classes held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
    • ZOOM will be used for class sessions
    • CSUSM Community Container will be used for online resources


    • Program fee is $1,299
    • Online language assessment and textbooks are NOT included in the program fee


    You should purchase the three required materials directly from Cross Cultural Communications. When you order, include the priority code: ACADEMIC20 to receive a 20% savings (tax and shipping charges apply). E-book options are available as well. 

    1. Medical Terminology for Interpreters (4th ed.): A Handbook
      Publisher: Culture & Language Press
      ISBN: 978-0-9966517-7-6
    2. Book: The Community Interpreter - An International Textbook
      Publisher: Culture & Language Press
      ISBN: 978-0-9823166-7-2
    3. Book: The Community Interpreter: An International Workbook of Activities and Role Plays
      Publisher: Culture & Language Press
      ISBN: 978-0-9966517-0-7

    Online Language Assessment

    Refer to FAQ section for information on the online language assessment requirement.


    • CSUSM alumni and students receive a 15% savings (email for your savings code)
    • MyCAA and WIOA funding approved; call the veteran services coordinator at 760-750-8705 for more information

    Please note: All rates are subject to change without notice.


    This 14-week program is designed to provide the basics of healthcare interpreting for bilingual participants who speak English and any additional language. The program covers ethics, skills and protocols required of interpreters. Class discussions and content cover the various modes of interpretation, codes of ethics and standards of practice required for aspiring healthcare interpreters.

    The program uses the comprehensive learning content and materials developed by Cross-Cultural Communications (CCC), a program recognized nationally and internationally for healthcare interpreters in the United States.

    Additional topics covered in the course include: positioning, terminology, steps for sight translation, intervention strategies and scripting, cultural mediation and other vital skills and protocols. Content is designed to include decision-making tools to help you make on-the-spot judgment calls in your daily work environment. The dynamic classroom experience of this course includes role-playing, individual and group activities rooted in real-world practice and immediate job application and relevance.


    Maribeth Bandas is vice president of BEAM Translation and Media Corporation in San Diego and director of translation services for the Hispanic Link Legacy Project. Maribeth is a certified translator and a licensed lead trainer of community and medical interpreters with 25 years of experience as a professional translator and Spanish instructor. She is licensed to teach The Community Interpreter (CI-000134-01 Cross Cultural Communications). Maribeth has trained students in the MA Program in Translation at the University of Puerto Rico through extended learning internships. She has taught English at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru, and Spanish at the University of Texas, Austin, at Cibeles Internacional, Madrid, Spain; and at Georgetown University, The World Bank and The George Washington University. In addition, she served as translator for the Washington, D.C., Mayor’s Office and as consultant for the Center for Applied Linguistics and evaluator for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

    “Professionally trained interpreters provide accurate, confidential and cost-saving support to the organizations and institutions that employ them. Effective communication reduces medical errors, increases patient satisfaction, saves costs on unnecessary testing and much more.”

  • FAQ

    Do I have to take an online language proficiency assessment?

    Yes, each student must take an online language proficiency assessment.

    CSUSM has contracted with Language Training International, a ACTFL Language Testing Center, to administer the online language proficiency assessment. Exam fee is $105. It is encouraged that all students take their language assessment prior to starting the program. The following languages are currently available: Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese, Portuguese-Brazilian, Russian, Spanish and Tagalog. If additional languages are requested or there are questions about the exam, please email Students must pass their exams with a score of Advanced Mid-Level score.

    What does a healthcare interpreter do?

    Interpreters are skilled at converting meaning from one spoken language to another. Healthcare (or medical) interpreters and translators have an important role in facilitating communication for non-English-speaking patients and family members because they allow doctors, nurses and other medical staff to communicate effectively and accurately with their patients. Healthcare interpreters must be sensitive to patients’ personal circumstances and maintain high levels of confidentiality and ethical standards.

    Healthcare Interpreters are often found in a variety of healthcare-related settings such as hospitals, clinics, private practice, specialty care clinics, pharmacies, occupational therapy sites and community resource departments, and they may be employed in roles such as front office, in-room assistants, technicians and other medical staff. Interpreters may work in departments such as diabetes education, urgent or acute care, doctor’s visits, health fairs, physical therapy, women’s or pediatric services.

    Are there any prerequisites?

    Each student must take an online language proficiency assessment.

    CSUSM has contracted with LTI The ACTFL Language Testing Office to administer the online language proficiency exam. Exam fee is $105. Please contact Cathy Scavone at 760-750-8706 or for exam registration. The following languages are currently available: Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese, Portuguese-Brazilian,Russian, Spanish and Tagalog. If additional languages are requested, please contact Cathy. Students must pass their exams with a score of Advanced Mid-Level score.

    Will I be certified if I pass the class?

    After you successfully attend all course sessions, pass the two-hour written assessment and provide documentation of passing the individual language proficiency exam, you will be qualified as a healthcare interpreter and you will receive a Professional Certificate in Healthcare Interpreting from California State University San Marcos. You may use proof of successfully passing the classroom training and language proficiency exam if you choose to apply for the national certification exam for medical interpreters through the National Board for Certified Medical Interpreters or Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters.

    National Certification Websites:

    What services do you offer to active military, veterans and dependents?

    Please visit our military and veteran services page to learn how we can help.



Request Information

Thank you for your interest. The form was submitted successfully.

By clicking the submit button, I agree that CSUSM may contact me regarding educational services by email, phone and/or text. I understand this consent is not required to attend CSUSM.


Extended Learning

EL Logo

Contact Us

(760) 750-4004

Follow Us