American Sign Language

smiling woman with glasses signing

The American Sign Language (ASL) program at Bakersfield College provides students with a comprehensive education in the field of sign language and deaf culture. The program covers a wide range of topics, including ASL grammar and syntax, fingerspelling, and facial grammar. 

The curriculum is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in ASL and an understanding of the unique cultural perspectives and experiences of the deaf community. Students have access to experienced ASL instructors, as well as opportunities to practice their skills through hands-on learning experiences, such as ASL conversation groups and deaf community events. With its supportive learning environment and flexible scheduling options, the ASL program at Bakersfield College is an excellent choice for anyone interested in pursuing a career working with the deaf and hard-of-hearing community or simply improving their ASL skills for personal or professional use.

mom signing to her young daughterWhat is American Sign Language (ASL)?

American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language used by many deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in the United States and parts of Canada. ASL uses a combination of hand gestures, facial expressions, and body language to convey meaning. It is not a signed form of English, but a language with its own grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. ASL is the primary mode of communication for many deaf individuals and is also used by hearing individuals who work in fields such as education, social work, and healthcare. The use of ASL has a rich cultural history and is an important aspect of the deaf community's heritage and identity. Studying ASL can provide individuals with an understanding of the unique perspectives and experiences of the deaf community and increase their ability to effectively communicate with deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

Is Studying American Sign Language Right for Me?

Anyone can study American Sign Language (ASL), regardless of their background or hearing abilities. However, certain personality traits and skills may make individuals particularly well-suited for ASL studies, including:

  • Visual-spatial abilities
  • Patience and persistence
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Cultural awareness
  • Open-mindedness
  • Creativity

American Sign Language Degree and Certificate

female sitting at a table with a laptop signing with hands
The major in American Sign Language provides a linguistic exploration of the various components of ASL and an in-depth examination of the culture of deaf people.
woman standing signing with her hands, smiling
The BC ASL/English Interpreter Training Program is a two-year opportunity for students who wish to enter the field of sign language interpreting.

BC students walking and talking on campus
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Careers in American Sign Language

Graduates with an Associate of Arts (AA) degree in American Sign Language (ASL) can pursue careers in a variety of fields related to sign language interpretation, deaf education, and deaf culture. Some common career paths for graduates include:

  • Sign Language Interpreter: Interpreting for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in settings such as schools, medical facilities, and legal proceedings.
  • Deaf Education Teacher: Teaching ASL and deaf culture to deaf and hard-of-hearing students in K-12 schools or programs for the deaf.
  • Deaf Community Advocate: Advocating for the rights and needs of the deaf community in areas such as education, employment, and healthcare.
  • Sign Language Tutor: Providing individual or group ASL lessons to students of all ages and skill levels.
  • Social Worker: Providing support and resources to deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and their families.
  • Speech-Language Pathologist: Assisting individuals with communication disorders, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Interpreting Services Coordinator: Coordinating interpreting services for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in various settings.
  • ASL Freelance Interpreter: Providing freelance interpreting services for events, meetings, and other occasions.

Transfer Pathways

With an American Sign Language Associate in Arts Degree from Bakersfield College you may choose to continue your education at a university to earn a 4-year degree. See your Counselor and/or a Transfer Specialist for specific questions, options, and opportunities.

Academic Department: Foreign Language

Career & Learning Pathway: Arts, Communication & Humanities (ACH) Pathway

Courses: American Sign Language (ASL)

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