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Building Blocks of Interpreting
Frequently Asked Questions

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Does this course prepare me for the State or Federal Exam?

This medical interpreter course prepares you to be a great interpreter and qualifies you to take either of the two national certification tests available for medical interpretation. State and Federal exams are given only for the court/judicial interpreting fields, which are (although also interpreting) very different in standards, ethics, and procedures. You must take a separate course to prepare for the court/judicial tests. They are two different specialties within the profession.

Which Board conducts the Exams?

National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI)

Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters


What is the cost of the exam?

The Final Exam given at the end of the course is part of the course. The Certification exams are as stated on each entity’s website. 


Does the certificate apply throughout the USA?

The certificate of completion provided after successful completion of the course is valid for any of the two certification entities (See question #4). A few states (California, Oregon, and Washington) require you to take a state-provided test to ensure your quality of service according to their Workman’s Compensation law requirements.


After taking the course, by when should I take the exam?

That is a personal decision, but I recommend taking the exam as soon as possible so you can start working as a professional at an assured higher quality level. Some companies and contracting agencies base their pay rates, and even employment offers on certification status (or lack thereof).


What does the course consist of?

This 60-hour course meets the requirements stated by IMIA (International Medical Interpreters Association - and NCIHC (National Council on Interpreting in Health Care - for medical interpreter trainers. 

It will take you through the journey covering more than the essential foundation of a Professional Medical Interpreter’s required skills and knowledge. Participants will practice with realistic scenarios to apply the course content effectively. Subject Competence is evaluated each day of the course to ensure that each concept covered has been adequately understood. 


  • Laws & Regulations Applicable to Language Access

  • Ethics & Standards of the Interpreting Profession

  • Healthcare System Overview

  • Patient Rights

  • Medical Terminology

  • Cultural & Linguistic Competence

  • Industry Significant Terminology

  • Note Taking Skills 

  • Methodology

  • Advocacy

  • Professional Advancement


What book should I get for the course?

You are not required to purchase a book for the class. The materials will be provided during the course and via email. 


What does your test consist of? And, is this test given to the Board that conducts Exams?

The final exam at the end of the course is a comprehensive exam from all learned during each section covered, including a skills assessment that is part of your final score. Daily quizzes will ensure you have acquired comprehension of the material covered. The dense details of this topic are covered in the course syllabus and introductory discussion which you will receive on the first day of class. You will receive a certificate of completion for attending the course successfully. You are responsible for submitting the documentation requirements to either CCHI or NBCMI for application to take the certification tests.


Can I bring a tablet or computer to class?

Of course! However, there are no recordings of lessons permitted during class. Computers and tablets are encouraged for note-taking. 

What is the difference between the certificate of completion provided at the end of the course and the certification to be an interpreter?

Certificate of Completion - Document marks a project or course completion.

Certification - The action or process of providing someone or something with an official document attesting to a status or level of achievement.

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