PC Interpreter Preparation Program Awarded Accreditation

Friday, February 16, 2024
Pheonix College Interpreter Preparation Program faculty and staff celebrate the program's accreditation
Phoenix College alumna Jillian Deaton, who graduated from the Interpreter Preparation Program, stands in front of a Phoenix College sign
PC IPP alumni Jillian Deaton with faculty member Kay Hilder in the American Sign Language lab

PHOENIX (February 14, 2024) ­– The Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE) voted to award accreditation to the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Interpreter Preparation at Phoenix College (PC).  This decision was based on a review of a Self Study Report and the report of the Site Visit Team documenting their visit to Phoenix College on November 28 - 29, 2023.  The accreditation is effective December 18, 2023, and will continue until December 17, 2033.

Phoenix College’s Interpreter Preparation Program (IPP) is designed to emphasize skills in American Sign Language (ASL), spoken English, Deaf culture, intercultural communication, and professional behavior for interpreters.  The IPP requires the Deaf Studies Preparation Certificate offered at the college as a prerequisite for admissions.  The theoretical and practical training in interpreting prepares students to meet Arizona licensure requirements and sit for the following exams: the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA), the Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI), and the written portion of the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). 

Kay Hidler, former IPP director and faculty member, held the vision for accreditation when the standards were established in 2006 and began aligning the program’s requirements to those standards. However, a moratorium on accrediting AA degrees was put in place for a number of years, encouraging students to pursue BA degrees. As soon as that moratorium was lifted, PC’s IPP program formally entered the accreditation process in fall of 2022. The bulk of the work involved changing class sizes, adding field experiences, and enhancing the program’s internship component. Staff also spent time gathering data on the success and employment rates of program graduates.  

“I’m thrilled to see our accreditation after so many years working toward it,” noted Hilder.  “However, accreditation is not an end goal. Our work of excellence is never done. Our team knows this is a wonderful confirmation of the program's quality, but it will continue to grow and evolve, staying current with best practices, and implementing more visions of excellence moving forward.” 

PC’s program is one of only 19 accredited IPPs and one of only four IPP Associate’s Degree programs in the country.  The Site Visit Team noted a number of strengths, including outstanding faculty, and the communication and collaboration maintained with key stakeholders. The program faculty has a close connection with the Deaf community, which provides PC students with access to guest speakers and other community connections.

Michelle Monahan, current IPP Director said, “Though the work started before me, accreditation has been my dream and career goal since I started full-time at PC over ten years ago. It is wonderful for our work to be validated that way.” The faculty are eager for the community and students across the district to know PC IPP offers a comprehensive education that meets national standards while being accessible and affordable. With a national shortage of interpreters, they encourage people to consider interpreting as a fulfilling career.

American Sign Language (ASL) Program Director Serena Stone is interested in pursuing accreditation for the ASL/Deaf Studies when it becomes available, to match the standards of IPP. “The goal is to ensure the readiness of students for the Interpreter Preparation Program after they go through the Deaf Studies Program,” she said.  


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Phoenix College is the flagship of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation. Established in 1920, PC offers academic courses leading to associate degrees, university transfer, certificates and short-term job training.

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District.  The Maricopa County Community College District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, http://www.maricopa.edu/non-discrimination.

Media Contact: Christy Flora, Manager of Public Relations and Marketing, christina.flora@phoenixcollege.edu / 602-920-8458 / phoenixcollege.edu