Healthcare Interpreter Course

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The School of Public Health is proud to administer an accredited Health Care Interpreter Training program, a specialized educational program for individuals who are proficient in two or more languages. Our program is the first in the U.S. to be accredited by the International Medical Interpreter Association (IMIA). We offer two levels of training. Level I is an intensive 40-hour IMIA accredited course offered on an annual basis. After having successfully completed the course, the student receives a certificate/diploma issued by the UofM. Our next Health Care Interpreter Level I class will be offered ONLINE (via Zoom) for 5 weeks in the Summer of 2020 (from June 30th-July 30th). The online sessions will be held Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for a total of 8 hours each week (course total = 40 hours). Please see the flyer and course description for details.

Please contact Ms. Espi Ralston (Program Director and Course Instructor) to register: espiralston@gmail.com or 901.218.4691.


"The Healthcare Interpreter Course is an excellent gateway to the vast and intricate arena of medical interpreting. This program has been instrumental in equipping me with the tools necessary to successfully pass the national board exams and become a certified medical interpreter of a language of lesser diffusion. Thanks to the beneficial program and seasoned instructor, I was able to attain the foundation for entering a deeply enriching profession, in pursuit of my dreams." - Uju Alexander

"Your Program has successfully trained me to professionally perform, when the time comes, in the medical Interpreting world. Your program has successfully given me the tools and the hunger to seek more knowledge and development in a fast growing profession, that I have come to confirm is definitely in accordance with my search of giving back, in a professional way, to the society that kindly has open its arms to me and to those in need within my sweet and dear Latin American culture." - Gilberto Jaimes

"The Health Care Interpreter Program really changed my life. The training that I received at The University of Memphis has given me the tools needed to break barriers of communication while improving the overall care of our non-English speaking patients." - Maria King, Medical Interpreter at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, President of Tennessee Association of Medical Interpreters & Translators (TAMIT)


  • Oral Proficiency Requirements
    • Applicants must provide documentation of oral proficiency in English for one of the following:
      • Five (5) years or more of professional experience in the US, or in another country where English is the official language
      • high school diploma (or equivalent), or an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited institution of higher education in the US, or in another country where English is the official language
      • Acceptable score for one of the following language exams:
        • TOEFL: 570+ paper, 230+ computer version, 90+ on iBT
        • ELPT: 950+
        • MELAB: 80+
        • ECPE: Pass
        • FCE Level 3: A
        • CAE Level 4: B
        • CPE Level 5
        • IELTS: 7.0+
        • OPI in English: Advanced Mid-Level
    • OPI in  foreign language: Advanced-Mid Level or higher
  • 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.


The curriculum and materials, developed by Kaiser Permanente in partnership with Hablamos Juntos, a nationally recognized project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, are based on active and cooperative learning, and are designed to increase the number of and improve the knowledge and skills of medical interpreters nationwide.

Students spend sixty hours in the classroom learning the fundamentals of medical interpreting such as the roles and modes of medical interpreting, protocols of the session, cultural competence, medical terminology, basic Anatomy and Physiology, diseases, Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and laws and legal standards and regulations relevant to healthcare interpreting, to cite a few. Oral message conversion exercises from source language to target language is an integral component of Level I.

Level I Course Description

The Level II course is a continuation of Level I. This advanced course is offered to students who successfully complete Level I, and covers topics including interpreting in the emergency department, ICU, oncology and palliative care, and additional anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology.
Both Level I and Level II are intensive courses, and a minimum of 10 students must enroll for the courses to be held as scheduled.


Our Program Director and course instructor is Espi Ralston, MA, MAT, CMI-Spanish, CHI, who holds masters degrees in curriculum and instruction, romance languages, and modern philology, and has 30 years experience in teaching. Ms. Ralston works as a certified medical interpreter at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Tuition and Fees

Tuition for the Health Care Interpreter Course is $760, and may be paid on-line, in person, or by mail.

  • To pay on-line, please visit our secure web store.
  • To pay in person, please visit University & Student Business Services at 115 Wilder Tower. Ask for two (2) receipts- one for your records, and one to submit as proof of payment with your registration form
  • To pay by mail, please make your check payable to University of Memphis, and indicate "Interpreter Course" in the notes section of your check. Mail your check to: University of Memphis, P.O. Box 1000, Department 313, Memphis, TN 38148.

Note: If your tuition will be paid by your employer, they must include your name when submitting payment to ensure that the funds are applied correctly to your account.

Contact Us

Espi Ralston, MA, MAT, MA, CMI-Spanish, CHI

Chaundra Walker
Administrative Associate

Admissions Info >