Health Care Interpreter Course

Health Care Interpreter Course


icon for program descriptionProgram Description

The Health Care Interpreter Course, the first program to be accredited by the International Medical Interpreter Association, is a specialized educational program offered several times during the year with course curriculum and materials developed by Kaiser Permanente in partnership with Hablamos Juntos. It's ideal for students who are proficient in two or more languages. The program offers both Level I and Level II courses, based on supply and demand. 

Icon for general informationGeneral Information

A 60-hour course that includes 40 hours taught in Zoom (synchronous) and 20 hours of asynchronous independent study, supervised by your instructor.

Icon for important datesImportant Dates to Remember

We anticipate that our next Level 1 Interpreter course will be offered in October 2024. Please email the instructor, Ms. Espi Ralston, for more information:


Flyer: Spring 2024 Session      Download: Registration Form     Payment


Level 1

  • A sixty-hour online hybrid course. The first forty hours are delivered synchronously in Zoom. The students actively interact with their classmates and instructor. The second segment of the course includes twenty hours of asynchronous learning. During those twenty hours, students continue studying individually the topics included in the Syllabus, and they may meet in Zoom with the instructor to check their individual/group progress. To receive the certificate of completion by the University of Memphis, students need to finish successfully the sixty required hours. 
  • In Level I and Level II courses, we follow the IMIA/CCHI Standards of Training. Our curriculum was first developed by Gayle Tang at Kaiser Permanente (2014) for Hablamos Juntos (RWJF national grant). It has been revised and updated regularly. 
  • A sample of topics presented in the course includes communication barriers, roles and modes of interpreting, protocols of the session, Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics of the IMIA, NCIHC and CHIA, legal and regulatory requirements in health care, memory development, note-taking, cultural competence, medical terminology, introduction to body systems, most common diseases, medical equipment, procedures, and other topics from our curriculum. Exercises and activities to develop oral message conversion skills bidirectionally are an integral part of the course. 

Level 2

  • A forty-hour intermediate-advanced online Zoom course offered to those individuals who want to expand their knowledge of medical interpreting and prepare to take the NBCMI and/or CCHI national exams. It may be taken after having successfully completed Level I or its equivalent. 
  • In Level II, knowledge and skills of interpreting in specialized areas such as Palliative Care, Pediatric Oncology, Mental Health, Genetics, Remote Interpreting, Infectious Diseases (COVID), study of body systems, the language of pain understood within a cultural framework and case-scenarios are presented, discussed and practiced in order to improve performance. 
  • Students who have taken Level I are not required to take Level II, but it is highly recommended. 

icon for admission requirementsAdmission Requirements

  • Oral Proficiency Requirements: Before you enroll in Level I, please consider the following oral proficiency pre-requisites:
    • If you have a high school diploma or college degree from the USA, you have already met your oral English requirement because that means that you should be able to speak/read/write in English at a high school or college level. Please email us a copy of your diploma. (eralston@memphis.edu and to mlevy@memphis.edu)
    • If you have a high school diploma or college degree from a Spanish-speaking country or another foreign country, you have already met the oral Spanish/foreign language requirement. In that case, you do NOT have to take the Language Proficiency Test (LPT) in Spanish/other foreign language. (Email eralston@memphis.edu and mlevy@memphis.edu)
    • If you went to college in the USA and have a major in Spanish, you still have to take the LPT in Spanish or other language. Majoring in Spanish/another language does NOT guarantee that your oral proficiency level will be at the Advanced-Mid (minimum requirement) if you take the OPIc from Language Testing International (LTI) or at L+2, L3 levels, from the Parrot Company.
      • The LPT will determine your oral proficiency level to be able to communicate at the advanced-mid or higher level.
    • If you are a native Spanish-speaker, who went to school and/or college ONLY in the USA and NOT in Mexico, for example, you still will have to take the LPT in Spanish. Speaking Spanish at home does not guarantee that your oral proficiency level in Spanish is at the required level. You will show your proficiency level by taking the LPT in Spanish/another language.
    • If you are an American (from the USA) who grew up and went to high school/college in Honduras, for example, and have proof of it, you do not have to take the LPT in Spanish. You have met your Spanish requirement.
    • If you are a Spanish-speaking person who has taken the TOEFL in English in the past 2 years and scored at the required level by our program, then, you do not have to take the LPT in English.
    • Companies where you can take the LPT in Spanish, other foreign languages, and/or English (check if that applies to you):
  • High school diploma or equivalent; bachelor's degree or higher recommended
  • Minimum 18 year of age; recommended 21 years or older
  • All persons who are interested in taking a course should contact Espi Ralston, Course Instructor, prior to registration and payment to ensure that they meet all the requirements.

icon for curriculumCurriculum

  • Level I
  • Level II
  • In Level I and Level II courses, we follow the IMIA/CCHI Standards of Training. Our curriculum was first developed by Gayle Tang at Kaiser Permanente (2014) for Hablamos Juntos (RWJF national grant). It has been revised and updated regularly.

icon for applicationHow to Apply

Icon for Contact usContact Us

Espi Ralston, MA, MAT, MA, CMI-Spanish, CHI
eralston@memphis.edu or eleygualda@gmail.com
(901) 218-4691

Briana McNeil 
Coordinator, Recruitment and Admissions 
(901) 678-3740